Struggling to keep mosquitos away from your home? Luckily, what you hear about some plants repelling mosquitoes is true.
But which plants should you choose for this mission? This is what I’ll explain in this post. I’ll introduce you to 9 incredible indoor plants that repel mosquitoes.
Although several indoor plants are potent mosquito repellents, some are easier to grow and maintain than others.
So, I’ve picked some plants you can easily grow even if you’re a beginner gardener:
1 – Citronella
Citronella deserves the top spot on my list as it’s by far the most well-known mosquito repellent. It has a pleasant lemon smell that works perfectly on driving away mosquitoes. Besides, the compounds extracted from this plant’s leaves are a common ingredient in commercial repellent products.
Citronella is a tropical plant that thrives in warm weather and full sunshine. It may benefit from regular fertilizing and even a little artificial light during winter when the days are getting shorter. (see my guide for growing plants using artificial light).
When you’re in the market for citronella, be careful when choosing the plant. A few varieties of scented geraniums go by the name mosquito plant, or even citronella plant, and they aren’t what you’re looking for.
So, how do you spot real citronellas? It’s simple: True citronella looks a lot like thick grass. It doesn’t have wide rippled leaves.
2 – Lavender
It’s easy to see why lavender is many people’s favorite; aside from being a sight for sore eyes, it’s an effective deterrent for unwanted wildlife. If you want, you can keep a few small pots of it indoors to help with mosquitoes.
It requires full and good airflow. So, I recommend you place it near a window with a frequent breeze.
Because lavender can grow quite large, be prepared to re-pot in a larger container as time goes by. Alternatively, you may split this perennial up into smaller plants as it grows.
Now, we come to a vital question: Which lavender variety should I pick? Well, French lavender is the easiest to keep indoors, but the English type has a stronger aroma and, therefore, can be better at bug repelling.
You can learn more about growing lavender in my lavender care guide.
3 – Catnip
Catnip is another solid mosquito repellent you may consider. This member of the mint family grows quickly and has just the right scent to drive away mosquitoes.
Now, how do you care for it? Here’s what I recommend: Place catnip in a sunny window and regularly water it. Then, try to pinch out the flowers as they develop so the plant will put out more leaves instead.
Similar to lavender, a catnip plant can get quite large over a few seasons. So, you should be prepared to re-pot or divide up the plant when it gets too large.
Here’s another thing to think about: If you have cats in the house, you’ll want to keep your catnip plant away from them.
Cats will munch on this plant if they have access to it. I recommend keeping catnips in a hanging basket to avoid this scenario. If you can’t do so, it’s better to choose another alternative plant from the list.
4 – Basil
Do you use fresh basil in your recipes often? If so, you can grow it as a multipurpose indoor plant: delectable food ingredient and mosquito repellent.
To provide this plant with optimal growing conditions, keep it in a very sunny window as it needs a lot of light. You should water it diligently as well.
Keep in mind that basil doesn’t handle dry conditions very well, but it also doesn’t respond well to waterlogged roots. Damp, well-draining soil is the key.
It’s worth noting that basil may not be the best indoor houseplant if you have a considerably cold house during the winter. This is because it grows in warm environments.
5 – Lemon Balm
Mosquitos, bugs, and most animals don’t like the citrus smell, which is why lemon balm is another citrus-scented plant that will deter mosquitoes. Good news, beginner gardeners! It’s a pretty easy plant to grow.
You’ll need to keep lemon balm next to a sunny window. However, it doesn’t require the high levels of light that basil or citronella needs. It’s an easier plant to manage.
To keep the plant in top leafy form, I recommend pinching out any flower buds that start to form. You should be careful and not let lemon balm flower and go to seed. If this happens, its leaves will lose their pungent aroma, so they’ll be useless in terms of repelling mosquitos.
You can always harvest a few leaves and let them dry before using them. Doing so will help keep the bushiness of the plant down.
One more thing to know: lemon balm can get quite large if it’s growing in proper conditions. So, you need to be ready to re-pot it in larger containers when required.
6 – Pennyroyal
My sixth suggestion is the exquisite purple-flowered plant, pennyroyal. It comes in an American and a European variety. Both work for pest control, but the European one is a little better for repelling mosquitos.
To grow pennyroyal, keep it in a spot with plenty of sunlight, though it will be OK with indirect light as well.
Pennyroyal tends to be a low-growing and trailing plant, so if you want to enjoy its aesthetic appeal, plant it in a hanging basket.
Some herbalists use pennyroyal for tea, but it isn’t safe for consumption by pregnant women. Otherwise, there are no issues with toxicity.
7 – Marigold
The bright and beautiful marigold is another easy-to-grow mosquito repellent plant on the list.
It emits a pungent aroma that works wonders in repelling multiple insect types, including mosquitoes. This robust aroma also makes it an effective addition to gardens to deter rabbits and rodents.
To grow this annual plant, place it in an area with a lot of sunlight, and water it once or twice a week, depending on the weather. That’s all you need to do!
8 – Ageratum
If you check the labels of many commercial mosquito repellents, you’ll find an ingredient called coumarin. This substance is an extraction of the ageratum plant.
Ageratum, also known as floss flowers, is a gorgeous indoor plant that emits a powerful mosquito-repellent smell.
To grow it in your house, you need to keep ageratum in a sunny area as it thrives in a lot of sunlight. It requires frequent watering during summer—daily or every other day.
That said, this plant doesn’t tolerate cold weather. So, you need to store it in a warm place in your house during cold months.
9 – Rosemary
Here’s another seasoning herb that has mosquito-repelling qualities: rosemary. Unlike all the other options on the list, it may not be the best choice for a novice gardener, but it’s worth a shot.
If you’re growing rosemary, you need to keep it in a place with as much sunlight as possible (even a grow light occasionally).
You should also know it may be finicky about watering: It can be sensitive to either too much or too little water. So, you need to grow rosemary in a well-draining potting soil mix. Water it when the surface is dry to the touch.
Unfortunately, rosemary is prone to powdery mildew. To avoid it, you have to maintain solid air circulation around the plant.
To achieve this, try to find a breezy location for the plant or even set up a small fan around it to keep the air moving.
Where to Place Your Mosquito-Repelling Plants?
Obviously, your choice of where to put your plants depends on plenty of factors. Most importantly, where there’s enough light and a suitable temperature for the plant to grow.
Other than that, you’ll want to keep these plants in areas where mosquitoes are most likely to be making an entrance into your home. Choose busy entrances, where people come and go constantly.
Alternatively, you can put the plants in common living areas or bedrooms.
How Do You Stop Attracting Mosquitoes to Your Home?
If you want to get rid of mosquitoes for good, you’ll have to stop attracting them in the first place.
Unlike with other houseflies, mosquitoes aren’t attracted to food or garbage that might be in your home. So, keeping things clean won’t have much impact here.
Instead, mosquitoes are drawn to dark colors, body heat, and a range of fragrances (including perfumes, lotions, and even strong body odor).
If you are outdoors wearing dark clothes and smelling of cologne, you’ll draw mosquitoes inside with you whenever you come back in the house.
Many mosquito species are at their busiest at dusk and into the night. So, this is definitely the time to be careful you’re not drawing them into the house by opening the doors too often.
Other Tips to Keep Mosquitoes Away from Your House
Besides being a frustrating pest, mosquitoes represent a health risk. They’re notorious for spreading insect-spread diseases like West Nile, Zika, and even malaria.
So, putting extra effort into keeping your home and yard mosquito-free helps protect your family. In addition to the repelling plants, here are a few tips to help you keep these insects away:
- Install tight window screens on every window and exposed vent in your house.
- Get rid of any stagnant or standing water in your yard as much as possible. That’s where mosquitoes lay their eggs, which can lead to substantial population explosions around the house.
- Drain water barrels, decorative ponds, and unused kiddy pools when not needed, as they’re all potential breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
- Consider adding lids or screening to water-containing places you can’t drain.
- Add a little solar-powered “bubbler” to any nearby pond to keep the water moving. This will prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs without sacrificing the water feature.
Depending on where you live, mosquitoes are a seasonal pest, and their numbers are at their highest during the summer.
Sometimes, they’re prevalent in the late spring if the weather is warm enough. They also need the water of spring rains for over-wintered eggs to hatch.
So, these are the best times to ensure you have a few indoor plants that repel mosquitoes and keep them away from your house.
With a few of these aromatic plants and some changes around the house, you’ll have a mosquito-free summer without resorting to chemical sprays.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.