Five Plants You Can Use to Naturally Repel Mosquitoes

Imagine a perfect Indiana summer night: The sun is setting, the coals on the grill are sizzling, you’re sipping an ice-cold drink, and life is good. But then there’s a little buzz by your ear, and in an instant, a pesky mosquito is chomping on your arm. Before you can even set your drink down, you see he’s brought a few friends—and they’re all looking to bite you.

Unfortunately, this situation is all too common here in Indiana—especially during July when temperatures are at their peak. And since mosquitoes in Indiana have been shown to carry West Nile virus and other diseases, it’s important to keep them under control.

The good news is there are plenty of ways to deter mosquitoes; the key is to find a solution that’s both effective and safe for the environment. Luckily, nature has the perfect answer: plants that naturally repel them. Here are five that’ll do great during Indiana’s hot, humid summers.

Marigold. Marigolds are both beautiful and practical for keeping away mosquitoes, making them one of our favorite choices for any homeowner wanting the best of both worlds. They’re a natural source of pyrethrum—a common ingredient in bug repellant—and have the added benefit of attracting butterflies to your landscape. Try planting them in long rows or surround parts of your garden for best results.

Catnip. If you have a cat, you might already be familiar with catnip, a perennial mint plant that makes cats go nuts. Fresh catnip has a strong scent that’ll keep mosquitoes away, and its light purple flowers can add plenty of vibrant color and texture to your landscape. It’s also simple to grow and maintain, and has been shown to be more effective than DEET at staving off insects.   

Garlic. While you don’t see it in a lot of gardens, garlic is incredibly healthy to eat, and doubles as an excellent mosquito (and vampire) deterrent. It doesn’t have the curb appeal of some of the other plants on this list, but it’s one of your best options for keeping mosquitoes away from your vegetable garden. Just remember that due to Indiana’s climate, garlic is best planted in fall—but come spring, you’ll have a head start on keeping the bugs at bay.

Lavender. Many people love the look and smell of lavender, making it one of the more popular decorative plants in Hoosier gardens. Fortunately, mosquitoes hate it—and so do many other bugs and animals. Mosquitoes are so sensitive to lavender that you can use it as a natural repellent by taking a few fresh flowers and rubbing them on your skin. You can also use lavender flowers in herbal tea, or put fresh cuttings in a vase to make an interior decoration.

Basil. You might be used to having basil with your pasta, but growing it in your garden can help get the mosquitoes out of your yard. Known for its distinct scent and flavor, basil can be an especially good choice for an Indiana garden because it does well in hot, damp areas. These are the same types of areas where mosquitoes breed—but since basil is deadly to mosquito larvae, chances are good they won’t lay eggs if it’s around.

Keep in mind these aren’t the only plants that are great for naturally repelling mosquitoes. Many fragrant flowers like geraniums and bee balm will also do the trick, so there are tons of options to choose from that can complement the natural beauty of your landscape. And if you need assistance finding plants that’ll look great while keeping the mosquitoes away, we can definitely help.

Our team at Engledow also specializes in landscape design, lawn care, landscape maintenance, and much more. If you’re looking to make your property gorgeous with lush, beautiful plant life, we’d love to talk. Contact us today!

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