5 of the Best Plants to Keep Mosquitoes Away

Summer in northern Alberta is beautiful, but a negative side is mosquitoes by the thousands. The further north you go, the more mosquitoes you find. Mosquitoes are annoying, but they can also be carriers of disease, so bit prevention is key.

When we go even further north to Northwest Territories for pike fishing, they have even more mosquitoes then we do. These pesky insects can cause itchy bites and even transmit diseases.

However, there are natural ways to keep mosquitoes at bay. I have been wanting to grow plants near our deck area for awhile now.

There are certain plants to repel mosquitoes and will keep them away when we are sitting outside.

Choosing the right plants will not only enhance the beauty of your outdoor area but also ward off these unwelcome guests.

Swatting at mosquitoes the whole evening can keep me from sitting outside enjoying the summer. While mosquito spray repellents help, they aren’t a favorite choice. 

Some of the best plants known for their mosquito-repellent properties, include Lemongrass, Lavender, and marigolds.

Planting these will help you create a more comfortable and mosquito-free environment for your outdoor enjoyment.

5 of the Best Plants to Keep Mosquitoes Away

Having plants around your home or garden can help deter mosquitoes and reduce the number of bites. 

Citronella Geranium

Citronella Geranium, also known as Pelargonium citrosum, is a popular plant for repelling mosquitoes. It is no wonder commercial citronella oil is marketed to repel mosquitoes.

While it is not the source of commercial citronella oil, it does release a citronella-like scent that can help keep mosquitoes at bay.

For best results, plant these around your outdoor seating areas or along walkways to create a mosquito-resistant barrier.


Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) is one of the most effective mosquito-repellent plants. The high concentration of citral, a natural oil found in lemongrass, is what repels mosquitoes.

Plant lemongrass in large clusters to maximize its scent and effectiveness. 


Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is not only a popular herb used for cooking, but it also contains natural oils that can repel mosquitoes.

Plant basil in pots near doorways or around your patio to help reduce the presence of mosquitoes.

Basil doesn’t like to be crowded, as they prefer moist soil and not too much moisture competition. 


lavender in the basket near the field

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is a beautiful and fragrant plant that can help keep mosquitoes away. The scent of lavender oil is pleasant to humans but detested by mosquitoes.

Planting lavender in your garden or placing dried lavender near windows or entrances can help reduce the number of mosquitoes in the area. This is one of my top picks.

Growing lavender can be a challenge in zone 2 or 3, but I’m going to try anyways. 


Marigolds (Tagetes species) are brightly colored flowers that contain an ingredient called pyrethrum, which is found in many insecticides.

The flowers’ scent is known to repel various insects, including mosquitoes. Plant marigolds near doorways, windows, and around outdoor seating areas to create a bug-resistant zone.

Marigolds do have a strong smell that can be repulsive. However, they are very effective at repelling certain insects. 

How to Use These Plants Effectively

Now that you know some of the best plants for keeping mosquitoes away, it’s important to learn how to utilize these plants effectively around your home.

Placement Tips

Proper placement of these mosquito-repellent plants can significantly increase their effectiveness. Consider the following tips when positioning your plants:

  • Place them near outdoor seating areas, such as patios and decks, to create a mosquito-free zone. Planting basil, lavender, or lemongrass in containers allows you to move them around as needed.
  • Try to put plants near windows and doorways to deter mosquitoes from entering your home. Mosquitoes indoors can be a big problem during the wet season. 
  • Create a perimeter around your yard or garden by planting them along walkways and fences.

Growing and Maintenance

Each plant has specific growing conditions and maintenance requirements for optimum growth and mosquito-repellent properties. Keep the following general guidelines in mind:

PlantLight RequirementsWatering Needs
CitronellaFull sun to partial shadeRegular watering; maintain moist soil
LemongrassFull sunRegular watering; can tolerate mild drought
BasilFull sunRegular watering; soil should be damp but not drenched.Well draining soil.
MarigoldsFull sunOccasional watering; avoid overwatering
LavenderFull sunModerate watering; well-draining soil

It’s also essential to trim, deadhead, and generally maintain your plants to promote their continuous growth and maximize their mosquito-repellent properties.

In addition to using plants to deter mosquitoes, other methods can also help reduce mosquito problems around your property. 

Remove Standing Water

Standing water provides a perfect breeding environment for mosquitoes. To reduce their population, it’s important to regularly eliminate any sources of standing water:

  • Empty planters and flower pots
  • Dispose of old tires and buckets
  • Regularly clean gutters and downspouts
  • Cover and maintain swimming pools

By removing standing water, you can prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs and reproducing on your property.

Use Natural Repellents

Essential oils from specific plants can act as natural mosquito repellents. You can use these oils as an alternative to chemical-based products. Some popular natural repellents include:

  • Lemon eucalyptus oil
  • Lavender oil
  • Peppermint oil
  • Thyme oil
  • Cinnamon oil

These oils can be applied directly to the skin or used in diffusers to create a protective barrier against mosquitoes.

Encourage Natural Predators

Some animals and insects feed on mosquitoes, helping to control their population. By encouraging these natural predators, you can keep mosquito numbers in check. Consider the following options:

  • Install birdhouses and feeders to attract mosquito-eating bird species
  • Create a natural pond to invite dragonflies and frogs to live in
  • Hang bat houses in your garden to provide habitat for mosquito-consuming bats

By supporting a diverse ecosystem in your garden, you can create a natural balance and effectively control mosquitoes.

There are several plants that can play a crucial role in keeping mosquitoes at bay. By adding these plants to your garden, you can create a more comfortable and mosquito-free environment this summer.

Enjoy that patio set you purchased, and eat more meals outside.

Some effective plants that repel mosquitoes include:

  • Lavender
  • Citronella grass
  • Marigolds
  • Lemon balm
  • Basil
  • Garlic

It is important to remember that while these plants can help reduce the mosquito population, they should not be your sole method of protection.

Be sure to combine these plants with other preventive measures, such as using mosquito repellent and wearing appropriate clothing, to ensure maximum protection against these pests.

Mosquitoes can be a pain, but they are also food for other natural predators.

By growing plants that repel mosquitoes, using natural repellants such as essential oils, and with the sporadic use of mosquito sprays, you can enjoy a summer with minimal mosquito bites.

Some of the best plants to keep mosquitoes away include marigolds, citronella grass, lavender and lemon balm.

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