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5 Plants That Repel Mosquitoes From Your Yard, According to Garden Pros

Do you love spending time outdoors once the weather warms up, but hate feeling like a mosquito magnet? It can take just a few seconds for them to zero in like you’re their catered lunch — which leaves you covered with angry, itchy red bites. Before you resign yourself to staying cooped up inside when the sunny season arrives, you can actually start cultivating plants that repel mosquitoes inside your house right now. Then once the last threat of frost has passed, you can take the plants outside and plant them in the ground or in pots for your very own anti-mosquito garden!

That’s right, certain plants with strong aromas ward off the pests, says Jane Dobbs, team lead for gardening at Allan’s Gardeners. Plus, the blooms of some of the plants also happen to be beautiful and will add refreshing, colorful flair inside and outside your home! Read on for the best plants that repel mosquitoes and why they are effective at keeping the flying critters away.

Why can certain plants repel mosquitoes?

According to Dobbs, mosquitoes don’t like plants with strong fragrances because they cannot detect their prey due to the aromas. By growing certain plants with strong fragrances, you can deter mosquitoes and reduce the risk of mosquito bites, she says.

Below are five delightful mosquito-repelling plant options you can start growing inside ASAP:

Plants that repel mosquitoes #1: Lemongrass

Plants that repel mosquitoes: Two lemongrass plants planted in a raised bed on a balcony

“The citronella oil found in lemongrass repels mosquitoes due to its strong scent,” says Dobbs. What’s more: Mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide we breathe out, but lemongrass can actually block mosquitoes’ ability to detect it, notes Dobbs.

To grow lemongrass, pick up a lemongrass seedling from the plant nursery, remove it from its plastic nursery pot, then nestle its roots into a pot filled with well-draining soil. Set the pot in full sun and water it frequently.

Plants that repel mosquitoes #2: Lavender

Plants that repel mosquitoes: Lavender plants planted in the ground

Lavender’s strong floral smell, which comes from the essential oils in its flowers, makes it effective at repelling mosquitoes, notes Dobbs. “Although lavender smells good to humans, mosquitoes hate it, so it is a natural deterrent.” Thanks goes to the herb’s linalool and linalyl acetate, which interfere with the critters’ ability to detect and locate prey, she says.

To do: Pick up a lavender plant from your local nursery or garden center, then drop the plastic pot into a larger pot equipped with a drainage hole. Place the plant in direct sunlight and water when the soil feels dry.

Plants that repel mosquitoes #3: Lemon thyme

Plants that repel mosquitoes: Leaves of lemon thyme plant taken from above

Crushed lemon thyme leaves have 62 percent of the repellency of DEET, according to an Iowa State University article that references research from the University of Guelph in Ontario. This makes the easy-grow, citrus-scented herb very effective at preventing mosquitoes from crashing your yard.

To grow your own, pick up a lemon thyme seedling (available at plant nurseries), remove it from its plastic nursery pot, then nestle its roots into a pot filled with well-draining soil. Keep in a sunny spot (like a windowsill) and keep soil moist.

Plants that repel mosquitoes #4: Rosemary

Plants that repel mosquitoes: Potted rosemary seedlings lined up in a row

Aromatic compounds in rosemary’s oil, like cineole, camphor and limonene, are responsible for staving off mosquitoes and keeping them away. To boost its pest-repelling power when you’re having a cookout, toss one or two sprigs of rosemary on the grill. The smoke from the grill will disperse the herb’s mosquito-repelling oil, helping protect (and perfume) a wider area.

To grow the herb, pick up a rosemary seedling from the plant nursery, remove it from its plastic nursery pot, then nestle its roots into a pot filled with well-draining soil. Give the plant six to eight hours of sun a day, watering it when the soil is dry and fertilizing it once a month.

Plants that repel mosquitoes #5: Marigolds

Plants that repel mosquitoes: Marigold plants lined up in their plastic nursery pots

In addition to prettying up a backyard with a pop of color, musky-scented marigolds can keep a seating area mosquito-free, thanks to the plant’s limonene, a chemical that’s also found in some insect repellents, says Daniel Scott, former associate director at the American Horticultural Society.

To do: Pick up a potted marigold plant at the garden center and place in a sunny spot that gets some afternoon shade. Allow soil to dry between waterings.

For more gardening ideas, click through these stories:

Gardening Expert Shares 5 Tips for Growing Your Own Produce at Home

Garden Pro: Growing Your Own Rosemary From Cuttings Is Easier Than You’d Think

Plant Pros Share Their Top Tips for Reversing Root Rot — Plus, the #1 Way to Prevent It!

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