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How to Plant a Mosquito Repellent Garden

(This post was written in collaboration with Workpro but all thoughts and opinions are my own.) Do you love summer nights outdoors but don’t love the bug bites that come with it? There’s a way to keep the bugs at bay by keeping certain plants nearby. Learn how to plant a mosquito repellent garden in 7 easy steps.

I love being outside all summer long, don’t you?

We’ve got lots of cozy new outdoor living spaces to hang out in so we are outside SO MUCH MORE than we were in our former home.

And I thought we were outside a lot there!

Do you remember my outdoor living spaces there?

The upper deck had an outdoor dining area. The lower deck had a conversation area with a gas fire pit.

And then there was the fire pit garden. Not to mention the spots around my yard where you can sit and enjoy the gardens.

What I don’t love about being outside in summer, is all the bugs! Because the mosquitos can be brutal! So we wind up calling it a day earlier than we’d like just to avoid getting eaten alive.

There are a few steps we can take to minimize mosquitos in our yards. Like burning citronella candles and tiki torches.

But we can also plant things to help keep them away. And it works really well.

So today, I’m going to show you how to plant a mosquito repellent garden that works.

And the best part?

You can harvest the herbs for the kitchen.

Wait until you see how simple it is to keep the bugs away!

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Enjoy Mosquito-Free Outdoor Living with Natural Plant Repellents

As the warmer months approach, many of us look forward to spending time in our outdoor living spaces, whether it’s our backyard, patio, or balcony.

However, pesky mosquitos can quickly turn a pleasant evening into an itchy nightmare. While there are numerous chemical-based mosquito repellents available in the market, they often contain harmful ingredients that can have adverse effects on the environment and our health.

Fortunately, there’s a natural and eco-friendly alternative: planting certain plants and flowers that repel mosquitos.

Nature has provided us with an abundance of plant species that naturally repel mosquitos due to their unique fragrance and properties. Incorporating these plants into your outdoor living spaces not only helps to keep mosquitos at bay but also adds beauty and freshness to your surroundings.

Here are some popular plant options that you can consider planting in containers or garden beds.


Citronella is perhaps the most well-known natural mosquito repellent plant. It emits a strong lemony scent that masks the odor of humans, making it difficult for mosquitos to locate their prey. Citronella can be planted in the ground or in pots and is often used in candles, torches, and essential oils for added protection.


Lavender is known for its calming scent and beautiful flowers, but it’s also a natural mosquito repellent. The strong fragrance of lavender confuses and repels mosquitos, making it an excellent choice for outdoor living spaces. Lavender can be planted in pots or in the ground and requires well-drained soil and sunlight.

close up of lavender flowers


Rosemary is a popular herb in many kitchens, and it also serves as a natural mosquito repellent. Its strong fragrance masks the human scent and keeps mosquitos at bay. Rosemary can be planted in pots or in the ground and requires well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight.


Marigolds are not only vibrant and colorful, but they also repel mosquitos with their strong smell. The scent of marigolds is particularly effective in keeping away a variety of pests, including mosquitos, whiteflies, and aphids. Marigolds can be easily grown in pots or in the ground, and they thrive in sunny areas.

planting a mosquito repellent garden in the backyard garden in front of garden shedHow to Plant a Mosquito Repellent Garden

Lemon Balm

Lemon balm, also known as Melissa, has a citrusy scent that mosquitos dislike. It’s a hardy plant that can be grown in pots or in the ground, and it’s known for attracting bees and butterflies while repelling mosquitos.


Catnip is a member of the mint family and is known to be highly effective in repelling mosquitos. Studies have shown that catnip can be even more effective than DEET, a common chemical found in mosquito repellents. Catnip can be grown in pots or in the ground, and it requires well-drained soil and sunlight.

close up of nepeta 'walkers low' - catmint are great flowers for deadheading when the blooms fade
Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’

Tips to Keep the Bugs Away

When planting these mosquito-repellent plants, consider placing them in and around the areas where you spend the most time outdoors, such as seating areas, patios, and entryways.

You can also crush the leaves of these plants to release more of their natural oils and enhance their mosquito-repelling properties.

In addition to planting these mosquito-repellent plants, it’s important to keep your outdoor living spaces tidy and remove any standing water, as mosquitos breed in stagnant water.

Consider using natural methods to control mosquitos, such as installing mosquito nets, using fans to create air movement, and using outdoor lighting that doesn’t attract mosquitos.

Try incorporating some of these natural mosquito-repellent plants into your outdoor living spaces, so you can enjoy mosquito-free evenings without relying on harmful chemicals.

digging in the garden with a hand trowel to plant marigolds -How to Plant a Mosquito Repellent Garden

Plants that Repel Mosquitos

Before planting a new garden, it’s important to understand the types of plants that help repel mosquitos before heading off to the garden nursery.

Here’s my top 15 list of Plants That Repel Mosquitos:

  • lavender
  • rosemary
  • basil
  • mint
  • marigold
  • lemongrass
  • citronella geranium
  • citronella
  • lemon balm
  • nepeta (catmint)
  • sage
  • marigolds
  • lantana
  • peppermint
  • bee balm
Supplies needed to plant a mosquito repellent garden - potting soil, planter, maritolds, and garden tools on a potting bench -How to Plant a Mosquito Repellent Garden

Supplies Needed to Plant a Garden that Repels Mosquitos

Close up of workpro gardening tools for the beginner with hand trowel and gloves

About Workpro Garden Tools

I’m really excited to be working with Workpro’s garden tools for this project.

Since I tend to get a bit scattered while working in the gardens, I love having all of my garden tools in one place.

The tools are made with comfortable, non-slip contoured grip handles that are made from durable cast aluminum material. The set comes with a trowel, transplanter, weeder, hand fork, and hand rake.

The garden bag is keeping me organized while working around the beds, the tools are comfortable to grip and work with, and I can tackle any gardening project without running around looking for my tools.

Oh and did I mention their gloves?

They are really comfortable and protect my hands, yet are lightweight and breathable. And I love that they keep my hands cool and dry.

Garden blogger stacy ling planting a mosquito repellent garden in a planter -How to plant a mosquito repellent garden

How to Plant a Garden that Repels Mosquitos

Now that we have a list of plants that help repel mosquitos, let’s design a garden. When I am planting a garden in containers, I consider the colors I want to decorate the space with.

Am I feeling pink and purple hues? Or may bright sunny yellows?

But maybe I’m hosting a patriotic dinner party, so I’ll gravitate to plants with reds, whites, and blue shades.

Determine the Location

The first step is to determine where the window boxes will be maintained.

Does the area receive full sun, part sun, or shade? Understanding the location will help you choose the right plants.

I’m planting a container garden that will be light enough to move around so I can use it in my various outdoor living spaces when we are hanging out at night.

And I have a cool gardening hack that will save you money at the garden nursery AND keep your planters light enough to move around.

Planting mosquito repellent plants in planter on a potting bench -How to Plant a Mosquito Repellent Garden

Choose the Right Plants

Once the location is determined, it’s time to shop for plants. If choosing to create a container design with a few plants, it’s important to make sure that they each have the same or similar light conditions as well as water conditions.

Don’t make the mistake of buying plants just because you love the look. That’s a surefire way to a garden failure.

So read the plant tags.

Understanding light and water conditions will help you take better care of your plants after the container garden is finished.

Almost done planting a sage, marigolds, thai basil and other mosquito repellent plants in containers -How to Plant a Mosquito Repellent Garden

How to Design a Garden

While shopping around the nursery, I was looking for plants that would accentuate the planters and could handle lower light conditions.

One of the things I like to do is group my plants together in the nursery to see how they look together.

Are they aesthetically pleasing? I look at foliage, blooms, plant size, and the overall plant habit.

Design Tips: If you are designing a container garden, consider using the thriller, filler, and spiller method of planter design.

If planting directly in the ground, work in layers and groups of odd numbers.

Mosquito repellent plants include marigolds, thai basil, sage -How to plant a mosquito repellent garden

Bug Repelling Plants for This Container Garden Idea

  • Marigolds
  • Thai Basil
  • Red Rubin Basil
  • Trailing Oregano
  • Oregano
  • Sage
  • Tri-Color Sage
mosquito repellent planter that is all finished after potting -how to plant a mosquito repellent garden

7 Easy Steps to Plant a Garden that Repels Mosquitos

It’s pretty simple to plant a container garden with mosquito-repelling plants. Here’s what you need to do.

  • Gather supplies.
  • Add some potting soil to the container with a hand trowel so the plants have some soil to sit in.
  • If planting directly in the garden, dig a hole using a hand trowel and add some fresh garden soil to the hole.
  • Check the planting depth by adding your plants while still in their plastic nursery pots. You want the soil line to match up with about an inch down from the top of the container. If more soil is needed to get the right depth, add more.
  • Remove plants from plastic pots and fan out the roots before setting them in the container. This encourages the roots to grow out into the potting soil.
  • Backfill with potting soil, tamping it down as you go to remove the air pockets.
  • Add a slow-release fertilizer to the container, water, and enjoy!
Mosquito repellent planter in fire pit garden with adirondack chairs in front of split rail fencehow to plant a mosquito repellent garden

And that’s it! Didn’t it turn out beautiful?

While I was at the nursery, I bought a few extra mosquito repellent plants to add to my fire pit garden border to make it prettier and keep the bugs away.

So after planting my mosquito-repellent container garden, I just kept going.

Ah, the life of a gardener.

This planter worked pretty well at my former home to keep the bugs away. So I made more mosquito repellent gardens here at the new house last summer and they worked really too!

The fire pit garden at night with solar lanterns, string lights, walkway, and pretty garden flowers that include mosquito repellent plants.How to plant a mosquito repellent garden

But this year at our new home?

I designed containers with lemongrass and it is AMAZING how well they have kept the mosquitos away.

And the design is simple. I set the lemongrass in the center of each container.

Planted some pink geraniums and coleus around it. Then tucked in some bacopa, calibroca, and licorice plant.

And voila!

close up of planter in the zen garden with licorice plant, calibrocha, bacopa, pink geraniums, lemongrass, euphorbia and coleus.
view of the zen garden with round stepping stones, container gardens filled with superwave petunias bubblegum pink, garden statues, lots of hardscaping and a green garden fence with a stone wall and white railings that lead to the backyard.

It looks beautiful and has been extremely effective at keeping the mosquitos away in the zen garden.

In my zone 6a garden, lemongrass is an annual, not a perennial. So next year, I will recreate a similar look for both the zen, pool, and potager gardens.

Thanks so much for following along with me today!

Happy Gardening!

More About Planting a Mosquito Repellent Garden

Did you know that there are plants that help repel mosquitos and keep the bugs away? Will you be planting some this year? I would love to know more in the comments below.

And don’t miss joining my Gardening DIY and Decorating Community on Facebook for more chatter. And follow along there and on Instagram as well. There are behind-the-scenes daily things that I share on Instagram that don’t make it to the blog. Would love to see you there too!

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Garden Supplies I Use

I’m often asked about the garden supplies and tools that I use most. From pruners to deer repellents, here are some of my favorites in no particular order.

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  1. love the pumpkin story with the pup eating it …rolling down the hill to be able to it …smart pup …enjoy your real life stories to all of your stories and of course all of the help with gardening …wonderful and funny …have a wonderful day …love and much happiness

    1. Thank you so much! They are too funny with the pumpkins! I really appreciate your sweet comment. Enjoy your day Madeline! xo

  2. Stacy, I had no idea that there were mosquito repellent plants. Thank you so much for such information. Hugs to you.

    1. Hey Renae! Yes there are plants that will help keep them away! Isn’t that so cool? Thanks so much – have a wonderful holiday weekend! xo

  3. Pingback: Dirt Road Adventures - Patriotic Greenhouse Tour - The Ponds Farmhouse
  4. Loved reading about this Stacy. My husband never wants to stay out on the deck in the evenings because of the mosquitos.

  5. Stacy, near our front porch I have a bed of lavender, citronella scented geranium and rosemary. But I never thought to put mosquito repellent plants in containers to move them where we entertain. Great idea! Thanks for sharing.

  6. My middle son just bought some
    Citronella to plant. I was surprised at how pretty it looked in the pot! So many great tips here, Stacy! Thanks for sharing!

  7. This is such a great idea, I love it! Thank you so much for sharing these cool gardening tip with us!

  8. Citronella plants smell so good too! I used a couple of those out back on my patio last Summer.

  9. This is such great information. We have terrible mosquitos in CA., I will give this a try.

  10. I had no idea mint repelled mosquitoes! What a great post! So happy to be joining you today!

    Happy day!