Plants and Other Natural Insect Repellents

Hi, someone told me that there are plants that keep mosquitoes away. Do you know the names of any? I hate using all those bugs sprays!! Thanks so much!! Suzy

Hi Suzy,

There are several plants that seem to be very effective in repelling mosquitoes and other insects. Plant repelling mosquitos seem to work in two ways, first by interfering with a mosquito’s sense of smell and secondly by producing a scent that attracts the mosquitoes to a different part of the outdoor area than where you are sitting. One of the best things about insect repelling plants is that unlike lotions and sprays, they don’t have to be constantly replaced to stay effective. Here are the names of some common insect repelling plants:

Citronella Grass

Citronella, is used in candles to repel insects. Citronella grass can be planted to keep flying insects away. Citronella Grass also seems to have a calming effect on barking dogs.


Picture by Mokie via Wikimedia Common


Chrysanthemums are good at keeping away AphidsSee a picture, learn to identify, and read about Aphid houseplant pests in the Glossary of, ticks, leafhoppers, and spider mitesSpider Mites, members of the Acari family, are small insects about 1mm in size. The most common indoor plant mite is the red spider mite (also called the two-spotted spider mite.). These pests lay their eggs on the under surface of leaves and produce fine webbing especially where the leaves are attached to the stem. Spider mites are hard to see with the naked eye, and may appear only as small red dots. They are more often recognized by the gritty feel of the leaf when you run your finger down it’s length, or by the appearance of discolored leaves due to the sucking action of the mites. The best way to prevent spider mites is to keep your plants clean and dust free. Treat spider mites by spraying every ten days for a month with a product such as Safer Insecticidal Soap.. Plant Mums around your vegetable garden to protect the plants.



The strong scent of crushed peppermint leaves rubbed on your skin keeps biting and other insects away.


Coconut Oil

You can buy coconut oil as a lotion or as a spray. Either way, coconut oil is a great insect repellent.


Lavender, when planted in the garden, in containers, or even dried and placed near doors and windows repels gnats and mosquitoes.


Scented Geraniums
Lemon scented geraniums, which have an aroma similar to citronella, are excellent at repelling mosquitoes.

Light Purple Scented Geranium Plant

Scented Geranium Plant




The woody scent of Rosemary keeps mosquitoes away and you can also cook with the leaves of this herb.

Catmint (Catnip)

Catmint is a member of the mint family and very easy to plant and grow. Various studies have shown that catmint is 10 times more effective at getting rid of mosquitoes than deet, the main ingredient in most commercial insect repellents.



Marigolds, which contain a chemical called thiopenes, are used like chrysanthemums to keep harmful insects off of other plants in the garden (especially tomatoes). Marigolds can also repel mosquitoes.