No one wants to be pestered by mosquitos while sitting in their garden. At the same time, almost everyone loves to be surrounded by lush plants. Fortunately, there are low-maintenance plants you can put in your garden that will both spruce up your garden and keep mosquitos at bay. Here you’ll find five great plants that repel mosquitos.
A wonderful addition to your backyard and your cooking (homemade pesto, anyone?), basil has long been used as an insect repellent. It requires full sun and regular moisture, according to Marc Hachadourian, director of glasshouse horticulture at the New York Botanical Garden. Just be sure to clip back and prune the plant from time to time to encourage the continued growth of its yummy basil leaves.
This annual has gorgeous flowers, attracts hummingbirds and butterflies, and also repels mosquitoes. Perfect for a pop of color, it needs full sun, regular water, and fertilizer.
Mint is another great option for the garden and the kitchen, and Hachadourian notes its fragrant oils can be used to repel mosquitoes. Be sure to plant it either in a large container or sectioned off in the garden, as it can spread quite quickly. Then, all it needs is full sun and regular watering.
Lavender’s fragrance is smooth and relaxing to humans, but off-putting to mosquitoes! Lavender plants make for a great addition to any backyard, but they require some maintenance. They need full sun and well-drained, sandy soils since they can get finicky with too much water. “Prune back after flowering to encourage new growth,” Hachadourian adds.
Last but not least, citronella has long been a standby for its mosquito-repelling properties—and it’s easy to grow! Even watering and good sunlight are best, according to Hachadourian, and it can handle a little drying out between waterings. He recommends adding it as a foliage accent in mixed flower containers for some added texture.
These plants may be able to lend a helping hand for keeping mosquitoes at bay, but wearing bug spray is still important. ” Any of the plants that possess the natural oils will only really be effective in small areas, and one plant will not drive hungry mosquitoes away from you and your yard completely,” Hachadourian notes. So to maximize your mosquito-repelling potential, your best bet would be to wear a bug spray and position your new plants near where you like to sit outside.