Do you love summer nights outdoors but don’t love the bug bites that come with it? Ditch the DEET! Discover 15 easy-to-find mosquito repellent plants and learn how to design your own bite-free haven in this ultimate guide.

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 enjoying the scenery all the time! 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 they work really well.

So today, I’m sharing 15 easy-to find mosquito repellent plants so you can enjoy a bite-free backyard. Wait until you see how plants and flowers can be a natural bug repellent without the use of harsh chemicals or those ugly bug zappers!

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Repel Mosquitos Naturally with a Beautiful Garden

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. Summer evenings spent outdoors can be pure bliss, but pesky mosquitos can quickly turn them into itchy nightmares.

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. Luckily, there are a variety of beautiful plants that not only enhance your landscape but also help keep mosquitos at bay.

Nature has provided us with an abundance of plant species that naturally repel mosquitos and other annoying bugs due to their unique fragrance and properties. By incorporating these plants we not only helps to keep mosquitos at bay but also add lots of beauty to our outdoor living spaces.

15 Easy-to-Find Mosquito Repellent Plants That Help Keep the Bugs Away

Here are 15 easy-to-find and popular plant options that you can consider planting in containers or flower beds.

1. Citronella

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.

2. Lavender

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

3. Rosemary

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 the ground but requires well-drained soil and full sun.

rosemary in the garden

4. Marigolds

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.

I am a huge fan of growing marigolds for this very reason. It’s a great companion plant is both beautiful and functional for your vegetable garden, flower garden, and outdoor living spaces. But what I love most? It looks amazing from spring through fall where you don’t need to change them out for a seasonal aesthetic.

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

5. 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.

6. Nepeta

Nepeta 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 full sunlight.

Keep in mind that neighborhood cats also love nepeta! I’ve noticed depressions in my garden plants from where they slept overnight.

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

7. Basil

While most gardeners know and love basil for its culinary uses, it also offers a surprising benefit – mosquito repellency! Basil deters mosquitos from laying eggs near standing water, making it a strategic choice around water features or birdbaths.

I plant mine around my tomatoes to help repel pests and improve flavor but also use them in pots around my outdoor living spaces too.

aromatto basil and fountain in cut flower garden
aromatto basil and fountain in cut flower garden

8. Lemongrass

Citronella oil, a well-known mosquito repellent, is the secret weapon of lemongrass. This architectural plant with its long, grassy leaves not only adds a unique touch to your garden but also provides a refreshing citrusy scent that mosquitos find unpleasant.

It looks beautiful and has been extremely effective at keeping the mosquitos away in the zen garden. So much so, it’s been a staple in my zone 6b garden ever since. Here, lemongrass is an annual, not a perennial, so I need to replant it yearly.=

close up of planter in the zen garden with licorice plant, calibrocha, bacopa, pink geraniums, lemongrass, euphorbia and coleus.
Outdoor planter filled with lemongrass, geraniums, coleus, calibrachoa, and licorice plant in the zen garden

9. Sage

Sage is another herb with a strong scent that deters mosquitos. This silvery-green foliage adds a touch of texture to your garden and can also be used in cooking.

two sage plants in the herb garden that are a great companion plant idea for flowers
two different sage plants in the herb garden

10. Scented Geraniums

Scented geraniums come in a variety of delightful options, each with its own mosquito-repelling fragrance. They boast vibrant flowers and a long bloom time, making them a colorful and effective addition to your garden. I enjoy them as potted flowers in my zen garden. They look pretty with the different types of stone and help keep the bugs away from our back porch.

pink scented geraniums
Pink scented geranium flowers

11. Mint

Most varieties of mint emit a strong, minty scent that mosquitos dislike. Mint is a fast-growing herb with a variety of culinary uses, making it a practical and functional choice for your mosquito repellent garden.

A note of caution though. Mint is highly invasive so don’t ever plant it in the ground. Only grow it in containers. My sister-in-law bought a home where the prior homeowner planted it in the ground and their property is a hot mess! Smells great when they mow it, but the plant completely took over the yard.

12. Ageratum (Floss Flower)

Ageratum, also known as floss flower, is a low-maintenance bloomer with beautiful blue flowers. It contains coumarin, a natural mosquito repellent, making it a lovely and effective addition to your garden. I’ve not invested much time growing ageratum in my gardens, but this year, I started it from seed indoors!

13. Bee Balm (Monarda)

Bee balm attracts pollinators like butterflies and bees while repelling mosquitos with its fragrant oils. This colorful bloomer comes in a variety of shades and adds a touch of whimsy to your garden.

close up of bee balm (monarda) flowers in the garden - perennial flowers list that bloom in midsummer
Monarda (Bee Balm)

14. Thyme

Thyme is a low-growing herb with a strong, herbaceous scent that deters mosquitos. A culinary favorite, thyme adds not only flavor to your dishes but also helps keep mosquitos at bay.


15. Allium (Ornamental Onion)

While garlic is well-known for its strong odor and repells mosquitos, it’s not the prettiest plant for an outdoor living space. So instead, I opt for alliums because they add unique flower forms and architectural interest to your garden while helping to keep the bugs away.

small purple flowers - serendipity alliums
Serendipity Alliums

Tips to Keep the Bugs Away From Your Outdoor Living Spaces

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 other 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

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 yellow flowers?

Determine the Location

The first step is to determine where your planters will be maintained. Does the area receive full sun, part sun, or shade? Understanding the location will help you choose the right plants.

Today, 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.

What You’ll Need to Plant a Garden that Repels Mosquitos

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

Bug Repelling Plants for the Container Garden I’m Potting Up Today

  • Marigolds
  • Thai Basil
  • Red Rubin Basil
  • Trailing Oregano
  • Oregano
  • Sage
  • Tri-Color Sage

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 watering requirements.

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.

How to Design a Mosquito Repellent Garden

One of the things I like to do at the nursery is group my bug repelling plants together to see how they look. Are they aesthetically pleasing? I look at foliage, blooms, plant size, and the overall plant habit.

Mosquito repellent plants include marigolds, thai basil, sage -How to plant a mosquito repellent garden
mosquito repellent planter that is all finished after potting -how to plant a mosquito repellent garden

Directions for Planting a Garden that Repels Mosquitos

It’s pretty simple to plant a garden with mosquito-repelling plants. Here’s how how to do it!

  • 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
Lilac flowers by the Fire Pit Garden at night lit with solar lanters and surrounded by hostas and twinkle lights
My former backyard garden fire pit
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.

More About Planting 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. Happy Gardening!

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.

For more information about mosquito repelling plants, check out these university extension articles and helpful articles:

For more information about growing a bug free garden, please read this article from

Bricksnblooms Stacy Ling logo
lavender in pots on outdoor dining table
Lavender in pots on outdoor dining table

Looking for More Container Garden Ideas?

Wait until you see these year-round outdoor planter ideas for your porch, deck or patio.

close up of container garden plants with supewave bubble gum pink petunias

Thanks for stopping by the blog today!

Enjoy your day! xoxo

Stacy Ling planting a mosquito repellent garden
close up of garden blogger stacy ling planting marigolds to create a mosquito repellent garden
Stacy Ling planting a mosquito repellent garden

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
Close up of workpro gardening tools for the beginner with hand trowel and gloves
Garden blogger stacy ling planting a mosquito repellent garden in a planter -How to plant a mosquito repellent garden
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
Planting mosquito repellent plants in planter on a potting bench -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.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.

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

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!

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!

The bricks \'n Blooms guide to a beautiful and easy-care flower garden book by stacy ling
The Bricks ‘n Blooms Guide to a Beautiful and Easy Care Flower Garden
  • Have you never met a plant you couldn’t kill?
  • Have you dug around in the dirt with nothing to show for it except a sunburn and a sore back?
  • Do you currently enjoy growing flowers, but are looking for more tips and ideas to level up your gardening game?

Then the Bricks ‘n Blooms Guide is for YOU

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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!