This post will go over 10 plants that people around the world use as a form of insect control. Several of them will also double as edible plants for your home, giving you extra bang for your buck.
Look for one of these plants if you have a mosquito problem near your home:
Peppermint (Mentha hybrid) is a very easy plant to grow both indoors and out on a deck. It is wise to keep it in a pot as it spreads quickly and fiercely and could take over other plants. The leaves of the plant are gentle enough that you can also massage them into your skin for a little extra protection. You can also soak peppermint in water during the summer and spray it onto your skin. Not only will this act as an insect repellent, but peppermint has cooling properties that will help keep you cool.
Peppermint is a very easy herb to grow. With proper care, the plant can grow to about 3 feet high, producing serrated edged leaves that are often harvested for culinary purposes. Whether used as a tea, a part of a salad, or added to baked goods, peppermint is one of the most popular flavors that come from an herb. When harvesting, it is est to remove the leaves in the morning before the sun reduces the oil content.
Peppermint acts as a natural insecticide to mosquitoes, ants, spiders, and many other pests you may find in your home. You can also use its leaves as part of your baking or to make peppermint tea. While the scent is pleasing to most humans, it drives away many insects and even mice.
2. Citronella Grass
You may recognize the scent of the citronella geranium (Pelargonium citrosum) from popular insect repellent sprays and candles. Not only will placing these plants around your home help repel the pesky biters, but you can also rub them into your skin or create sprays from its leaves.
Citronella Grass Overview
Citronella grass, also known as Cymbopogon, is a tropical grass that is known for its unique smell. The perennial plant is a clump-forming grass that thrives in warm environments but can also be grown as an annual in places where it gets cooler. It will die when exposed to frost. The plant can grow to be quite tall, topping out between 60 and 72 inches. It can also grow to be about 36 to 48 inches wide. This popular plant is said to be able to repel mosquitoes and the scent is often used in commercial pest repellents.
You should have a sunny window to keep your plants in most of the time. They do best when they have light shade and are well-drained. If you keep them well, they will bloom with pretty flowers. The plants can grow quite large, so you may have to prune them back frequently (and create more spray).
As a bonus to this post, we will add citrosum which puts out a scent that is delightful for humans but that mosquitoes hate (according to some). Like citronella, you can rub these leaves into your skin or soak them in water to create a spray. While they do best when grown in shady areas outdoors, you can also bring them indoors if you have the room. They do best in large pots with good drainage.
Also known as the “Citronella Mosquito Plant,” citrosum is a perennial shrub that smells very similar to citronella grass. It used to be thought that the plant was a bonding between citronella grass and the African geranium, but this has been proven incorrect. The leaves of the plant are flat and spread out into jagged sections. Though many people still claim the plant is effective against mosquitoes, no scientific evidence of this has been proven.
Delicious in pizza and other popular dishes, basil is a herb that you can commonly find in many homes. They also repel mosquitoes. The plant gives off a strong enough smell that you don’t have to crush the leaves or do anything extra to keep the bugs away.
Known as one of the key ingredients in many Italian dishes, basil is one of the most popular herbs to grow at home. While it can be difficult to grow it indoors as it requires plenty of light, you can grow and harvest it throughout the spring and summer, harvesting it frequently. The green leaves of the plant are oval-shaped and tend to cup downward on the edges. Part of the mint family, basil can grow to between 12 to 24 inches high, but are often pinched down in order to spread out and produce more of the aromatic leaves.
You will need to keep your basil in a place where it will get enough sun and water it frequently to keep it happy. When the weather is warm enough, take them outside onto your deck or porch to keep the mosquitoes even further away from your home.
Not only is rosemary the perfect addition to home-baked bread, it is also a powerful mosquito repellent. Its aroma distracts them from nearby humans. You can add them to your barbeque or campfire to really drive them away when you are hosting outdoor parties.
A perennial herb, rosemary grows into a shrub that can either be continually pruned back or grow into a full, bushy shrub. Each branch produces evergreen, needle-like leaves that give the plant the pine-like scent for which it is known. While the plant is dark green at the top side, underneath, there is a dense fur-like covering of white hairs. The plant will grow light purple flowers that have an earthy smell. The plant has many medicinal benefits (such as being a source of antioxidants) and is often used in culinary dishes.
Rosemary is typically very easy to keep and can grow quite large. It prefers well-drained soil and can be grown both indoors and outdoors. You can prune it however you wish to keep it the size you want.
Catnip can grow very quickly. It prefers sunny places and frequent watering. If you are using it to repel mosquitoes, make sure to pluck off the flowers to encourage more foliage to grow. Catnip uses its nepetalactone to repel mosquitos. You can use the leaves on your skin to keep them away from your body.
Catnip, also known as Nepeta cataria, is a member of the mint family. This perennial is known for its minty smell that cats simply adore. The plant stands erect and has square stems and light-green foliage that resembles feathers. The leaves of the tea are often used for medicinal purposes, especially in tea form. Many people claim that it treats their anxiety, insomnia, and other symptoms. The flowers are lavender in color and are often used as a home remedy to treat coughs.
Catnip is also known for being very popular with cats. They will typically bat at them or tear them apart. If you have a cat, you may want to try one of the other plants on this list to keep the mosquitoes away.
6. Lemon Balm
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) is known for its lemon-minty smell. It works best as a mosquito repellent if you crush it in your hands and rub it into your skin. It grows very quickly and is a relatively easy plant to grow as it doesn’t need too much hands-on maintenance.
Lemon Balm Overview
As a part of the mint family, lemon balm is an upright perennial. While it grows best in cool temperatures, it will die in freezing temperatures. The good news is that will it regrow in the spring. It gets its common name from the lemon-scented leaves that appear to look like a light green mint. The flowers on the plant grow in small clusters of white or cream-colored blooms. The leaves are often used as part of a tea blend or in mixing fresh lemonade. Others will use it to zest up a salad or add flavor to their meat.
There are two main varieties of this perennial herb, an American and a European version. While both are good for keeping mosquitoes away, if you have a really bad pest problem, opt for the European variety. Both have fragrant aromas that humans love but mosquitoes hate. The pennyroyal also has purplish blooms and can either be grown in a bush or into a trailing plant.
The pennyroyal plant is a perennial mint with small aromatic leaves. When in bloom, the plant will display flowers that are blue or violet that contains an oil that is often cultivated for home remedies. The spearmint-like scent is also said to chase away pests. When planted in early spring, the pennyroyal can grow very quickly and may need to be pruned back to not overtake your yard or garden. The plant may also be able to attract bees and butterflies to your garden. The stalks of the plant are long and vibrant green.
They work perfectly as a hanging plant in a window where you want to keep pests away. If you do plant it outdoors, keep it in pots as it can become invasive otherwise.
While many people recognize the scent of citronella from commercial mosquito repellents, fewer people recognize the Marigold. This plant, however, contains pyrethrum which is another commonly used element of repellents.
Known as a cheery flowering plant, the marigold is an annual that blooms for a long season. They are very easy to grow and maintain, making them the perfect plant for a new gardener. The full flowers, made from many layers of overlapping petals, come in many colors, most often gold, yellow, or orange, but they can also be found in maroon or red. You can also find hybrids that have two-toned flowers if you want to showcase something more unique. The flowers are also used as a home remedy for ulcers, period cramps, upset stomachs, and more.
Marigolds love sunny weather and are perfect for window boxes. They produce pretty flowers that will both make you smile and keep the mosquitoes away from your home. They do require regular watering but will continue to grow as long as you properly care for them.
Alliums are a series of bulbs that include both onions and garlic. They are hardy and many will produce beautiful ball-like flowers that come in a variety of colors. They also emit a smell that mosquitoes do not like. While any plant isn’t completely sufficient to ward off the pest, these will not only help a bit, but you can eat many of them.
Alliums are a genus of plants that are known for their linear leaves and clusters of flowers, each with six petals. Several alliums are popular edibles like garlic and onion. The flowers bloom at the top of long stems and are a spherical (or oval or cascading) cluster of flowers that vary in colors that include blue, pink, yellow, white, and purple. Alliums will vary in size from very small (between 4 to 5 inches high) and tall (up to 48 inches in height).
Alliums bloom in the spring if they are planted as bulbs in the fall. The bulbs of the plant will repel many different types of pests such as mosquitoes, flies, slugs, and aphids.
Lavender is one of the most popular scents on the market. It is known as a calming plant and many people spray lavender around their homes or diffuse it to help them sleep. While humans enjoy the scent, it repels mosquitoes as contact with the scent makes it more difficult to locate their prey through smell.
Lavender is a well-known and loved perennial herb that produces long stems with delicate buds and blooms. While the foliage can range in color from bright green to grey, the flowers are typically light purple but can come in other colors. They emit a floral scent that many people find calming. In fact, lavender is often used as a home remedy for sleep or stress relief. Lavender is fairly easy to grow and can be harvested up to several times per year (depending on the variety).
These beautiful plants with purple flowers do really well in sunny environments. They are fairly hearty and do well in pots that are well-drained. If they begin to lose their color, you can add a bit of fertilizer to rejuvenate them. Some of the plant’s benefits include pest control, stress relief, and aiding in sleep.