Mosquito Repelling Plants

Summer and I are anti-chemical when it comes to treating our house and yard for insects. We do our best to not allow standing water where mosquitoes will breed and I have started adding a cap full of bleach to the baby pool we leave in the back yard for the dogs. Despite all this, we are still going to have mosquitoes on the property (proven by the assault on my exposed skin at 4am last night) because of the cabrada (stream) and the puddles from all the rain. So, I did some research and found a few plants that will actually repel mosquitoes!

Plants that Repel Mosquitoes:

  • Catnip
  • Lemon Grass (aka. Citronella Grass)
  • Marigolds
  • Mosquito Plants
  • Rosemary

Catnip: I know what you are thinking. Catnip is catnip plantlegal marijuana for cats and cheech is too young to experiment with such a controversial gateway drug. Don’t worry, catnip has another very useful purpose, it repels mosquitoes! The natural oils found in Catnip is actually a more effective mosquito repellent than the highly toxic DEET. You can plant it all around your outdoor living areas and you can also crush it up, retain the oil and use it as all natural mosquito repellent (I can’t guarantee cheech won’t kill you if you do this).

Lemon Grass: Lemon grass is a delicious herb used in many Thai recipes lemon grass repells mosquitoes like Thai Grilled Chicken Salad with Lemon Grass Coriander Dressing and it is also a mosquito repellent. Lemon grass (aka: Citronella Grass) is a plant that grows in clumps, and can grow up to 6ft tall. I really like the idea of having lemon grass clumps planted around the yard because this stuff smells so good and grows as fast as grass. Uh, hence, lemon grass. The long and the short of it is this. If you plant a small clump of lemon grass by all of the windows downstairs, they will be 6 ft tall clumps of mosquito repelling love in 6 or 8 weeks .

Marigolds: Marigolds repel all kinds of bugs, not just mosquitoes. marigolds in a garden repel insectsWe planted Marigolds around our vegetables to try to help keep the little veggy eating bugs away from our booty. Marigolds do a good job repelling mosquitoes around the house, but they are annuals (life cycle of one year), so they are not going to live year around like some the other mosquito repelling plant options.

Mosquito Plants: This plant was created for the consumer. mosquito plant made to repel mosquitoesIt is the hallmark holiday of plants. This plant (in my opinion) is banking on the ‘sucker’ in all of us. What scientist would name a plant the Mosquito Plant! It is marketed heavily and as its name implies, it is a mosquito repelling plant. I did some research on the Mosquito Plant and can’t find any solid evidence that these things actually repel pesky mosquitoes, so I am just going to dismiss the Mosquito Plant as an option for us.

Rosemary: YES! Rosemary actually repels mosquitoes. rosemary is a delicious herb and it repels mosquitoes with its natural oilsI love this. Rosemary is one of my favorite herbs to cook with as it has a really strong unique flavor (great for marinating lamb/chicken, infusing with virgin olive oil). Rosemary also grows year around and can grow into quite a large plant. It can become a total ground cover (if properly groomed) or a beautiful hedge once it matures. Rosemary does better in more temperate climates and tropical climates, but it grows quick enough that if you are in an area that actually has seasons, you can grow it on the porch and then bring it inside come winter. The oils in rosemary also work as an all natural mosquito repellent.

9 thoughts on “Mosquito Repelling Plants”

  1. We use both the lemon grass and the rosemary in our backyard, and we have no problems with Mosquitoes in the backyard or entering the house through the backyard.

  2. I love that you research everything! When we build in Maunabo, I will be sure to use lots of catnip, lemongrass, and rosemary, of which the latter 2 may actually improve my recipes! Maybe I’ll be able to wean Steve off his DEET!

  3. Neem – a beautiful, fast growing tree (here, shrub elsewhere) that is used to repel insects from gardens and topically for skin problems, as concentrated oil for insect problems on plants etc etc. Very nice tree (but big. Check out for some Neem uses, or just google Neem tree. We picked up a couple small trees at Enaidas nursery in Cabo Rojo (excellent nursery for grafted fruit trees (some aren’t grafted though so just look for the graft). They were $4. This tree grows from a foot to about 15 feet in a few years but can be pruned to stay bushier and smaller. Neem oil can be bought at most garden shops but the tree is better! I believe it is a nitrogen fixer as well which might be great for your (lack of) soil. Watch our blog for info on vetiver grass (probably tomorrow)- another great thing for erosion control, nitrogen fixing and insect repelling! katrina

  4. Katrina:

    Great input. The Neem tree looks super cool. We are planning a trip back out to the Enaidas Nursery in the next week or two now that it is raining regularly again, and we are definitely going to pick a few up.

    Isn’t it funny, some regions bushes are Puerto Ricos trees. If it can grow in Puerto Rico (we had trouble with our melons and cucumbers) it will grow up strong and twice as big as anywhere else!

  5. No longer cut those lemon grasses in the backyard for they are useful not only for the recipes but to drive away mosquitoes.

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