Most insect-repelling plants do so with their natural fragrances, which keep annoying mosquitoes away and introduce wonderful scents throughout your garden. If you don't want to douse yourself or your garden in chemical bug sprays you can grow some of these plants to help keep mosquitoes away naturally. Plant these plants in areas where guests will be often such as by a seating area or a doorway.

Grow these 12 plants to naturally repel mosquitos:

Sweet Romance® lavender. Photo by: Proven Winners

1. Lavender

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Have you ever noticed that insects or even rabbits and other animals have never decimated your lavender plant? It is because of their lovely fragrance, which comes from its essential oils that are found on the leaves of the plant. It is even argued that lavender oil hinders a mosquito’s ability to smell! This plant is very tough and drought-resistant once established, and only needs full sun and good drainage. And while it can endure many climates, it thrives in warmer areas. Read more about growing lavender.

Plant type: Perennial
Zones: 5-11, depending on type
Bloom time: Summer to fall

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Marigold flowers.

2. Marigold

Marigolds, an easy-to-grow annual flower, emit a smell that deters mosquitoes. Grow them in pots and place them near your patio or entrance to your home to keep bugs out. Marigolds are also a popular addition to borders and vegetable gardens. According to NYBG, not only can they keep away mosquitoes, but they also dissuade aphids, thrips, whiteflies, Mexican bean beetles, squash bugs, and tomato hornworms. Read more about growing marigold flowers.

Plant type: Annual
Bloom time: Late spring until frost

Citronella grass.

3. Citronella Grass (Lemon Grass)

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Known for its distinct smell, citronella grass (or lemon grass) is the most commonly used natural ingredient in mosquito repellants. In fact, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden recommends lemon-scented plants such as citronella grass to keep mosquitoes at bay. And the good news is that the living plant is the most effective at repelling pests. This low-maintenance plant does best in large planters because it cannot withstand frost, but in warmer climates, can be planted directly a sunny area in the ground.

Plant type: Usually grown as an annual
Zones: 9-11

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'Cat's Meow' catmint. Photo by: Proven Winners.

4. Catmint

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Catnip (catmint) can be found thriving almost anywhere. It is from the mint family and grows abundantly both as a commercial plant and as a weed. It is very easy to take care of and may even start to invade other areas of your garden. However, if you are willing to forgo this plant’s insidious nature, they are amazing mosquito repellants and another recommendation from the BBG. In a study at Iowa State University, catmint was found to be ten times more effective than DEET, the chemical used in most insect repellants. Read more about growing catmint plants.

Plant type: Perennial
Zones: 3-8
Bloom time: Early summer to fall

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5. Rosemary

Another great mosquito repellant is rosemary. Both the New York Botanical Garden and PlantShed recommended this plant. Rosemary is an herb that many of us are very familiar with and their woody scent is exactly what keeps mosquitoes as well as cabbage moths and carrot flies away. They do best in hot and dry climates and thrive in containers, which may be ideal for areas with winters. They can also be pruned into all sorts of shapes and sizes and make great borders or decorations. While the pests stay away you can enjoy the herb’s scent and also use it to season your cooking. Read more about growing rosemary plants.

Plant type: Perennial herb
Zones: 7-10

Amazel Basil® sweet Italian basil. Photo by: Proven Winners.

5. Basil

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Basil is another herb that can also double as a pest repellent. The pungent smell the basil leaves give off are what keep pests at bay. And since all kinds of basil work to keep flies and mosquitoes at bay, feel free to explore and find the right types of basil to mix into your garden. This herb likes to be kept damp, needs good drainage, and enjoys lots of sun. You can plant basil in containers or in the garden, alone or with other flowers, as long as both plants meet the same requirements. Read more about growing basil.

Plant type: Usually grown as an annual
Zones: 10-11
Bloom time: Summer to frost

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Scented geranium. Photo by: Proven Winners.

7. Citronella / Scented Geranium

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Scented geraniums are also a popular mosquito-repelling plant. Recommended by PlantShed, BBG, and NYBG, the favored scent seems to be lemon scented, which is reminiscent of citronella grass. The strong fragrance keeps several types of pests away. These fast-growing plants like warm, sunny, and dry climates, but if you are in a cold-climate area, they can be grown in planters with constant pruning. Read more about growing geraniums.

Plant type: Usually grown as an annual
Zones: 10-11
Bloom time: Spring to fall

Buy citronella (mosquito plant) from Proven Winners.

'Pardon My Cerise' bee balm. Photo by: Proven Winners.

8. Bee Balm

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Want to attract good bugs like bees and butterflies, while deterring the bad ones? Then bee balm, also known as Monarda or horsemint, is the plant for you. Simply crush its leaves to release the fragrant oils. Plus, you’ll get to enjoy colorful flowers, in shades of red, pink, lavender, white, or purple, all summer long. Read more about growing bee balm.

Plant type: Perennial
Zones: 4-8
Bloom time: Mid to late summer

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9. Mint

Mint is an excellent nontoxic option for keeping mosquitoes, flies and even ants away. The more pungent the aroma, the less bugs you’ll have. Grow it in pots on your patio where it can be easily reached if you want to drop a leaf or two in your afternoon tea. You can even dry the leaves and use them inside your home as a natural pest control method.

Plant type: Perennial herb
Zones: 3-8

Artist® Blue floss flower. Photo by: Proven Winners.

10. Floss Flower (Ageratum)

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This attractive annual flower makes great bedding or container plants. Floss flower contains coumarin, a chemical that helps repel mosquitoes—but also makes it toxic if ingested by pets or humans. Read more about growing floss flower.

Plant type: Usually grown as an annual
Zones: 9-10
Bloom time: Planting to hard frost

Buy floss flower from Proven Winners.

Sage. Photo by: Proven Winners.

11. Sage

If you love gathering around a fire pit in your backyard, then plant some sage nearby. Toss some of the plant into the flames and its earthy smell will ward off bugs. Sage can also be dried and used to make homemade bug spray.

Plant type: Perennial
Zones: 5-8

Allium 'Millenium'. Photo by: Proven Winners.

12. Allium

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These bulbs, which include garlic and onions, release a strong fragrance that mosquitoes don’t like. You’ll enjoy the whimsical globe-shaped flowers of allium that seem to float atop long slender, stems. Read more about growing allium bulbs.

Plant type: Bulb
Zones: 3-8, depending on variety
Bloom time: Planting to hard frost

Buy allium plants from Proven Winners.

We consulted with the New York Botanical Garden, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and Plantshed for the best plant options.

More Natural Ways to Keep Mosquitoes Away

In addition to growing the plants listed above, you should also practice good mosquito control in your garden so that the pests don’t get out of hand. The best thing you can do is prevent water from collecting and becoming stagnant; mosquitoes can lay hundreds of eggs even in a tiny spoonful of standing water. Mosquito rings can be used virtually anywhere you have standing water — rain barrels, birdbaths, water gardens, ponds — even animal watering troughs. They contain a naturally occurring bacterium (Bt israelensis) that kills mosquito larvae.

There are also other natural products available that can help ward off mosquitoes in your garden. These include, citronella torches and candles, as well as essential oils derived from the plants listed here.

The Importance of Mosquito Control

Throughout the years, mosquitoes have transmitted many diseases including malaria, dengue, yellow fever, encephalitis, and more recently the West Nile and Zika viruses. Mosquitoes are even to blame for heartworm in dogs. So it isn’t just about the annoyance or the itchy bite, it is a health concern for your family and pets.

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