Mosquito Repellent Plants
Natural Mosquito Repellent Plants for Indoors & Outdoors
DEET-based repellents are traditionally thought of as mosquito deterrents. However, in the last decade, consumers have started seeking products with potentially fewer environmental and health risks. A much-debated topic with varying test results, certain types of plants may offer potential as natural mosquito repellents. Some of the more consistently mentioned plant options include:
- Citronella grass
- Scented geraniums
While less commonly touted, rosemary and basil boast mosquito-repelling potential, as well.
How Do They Repel Mosquitoes?
The mosquito-repelling nature in plants typically comes from their scent, which is produced by essential oils or chemical compounds within the plant. Citronella grass and geraniums exude a lemon or citrusy scent known to deter mosquitoes. The minty smell of catnip and the oily makeup of lavender also serve as possible olfactory repellents. Some homeowners achieve favorable results by bordering flower gardens with the plants mentioned above or by potting them to place around the house, typically within a 10-foot radius of where protection is desired.
Planting herbaceous and short-rooted plants in pots or planters remains the favored option for New England residents due to the cold winters. Another theory states that simply growing the plants is not enough to keep mosquitoes away; some propose that the plants must be bruised or crushed to emit enough scent to repel mosquitoes. Additional mosquito repellent theories involve crushing lemon balm, thyme, or geraniums and rubbing the oils or herbaceous essences on vulnerable areas of skin and even clothing.
Such modes of mosquito deterrence have produced mixed results, with reported repelling time lasting anywhere from 0-20 minutes to several hours. Certain types of skin may react differently to essential oils and chemical compounds from plants. Companies which manufacture natural pesticides have started extracting assorted chemicals and oils from plants and including the resulting ingredients in repellents.
Speak with an Expert Before Using Plant-based Mosquito Repellents
Because of the discrepancies and even risks involved with plant-based mosquito repellents, consult an expert before attempting to change the landscaping around your house or applying plant oils to your skin. While adding some of the suggested plants to your flower garden could aid in repelling mosquitoes, other factors determine the likeliness of infestation around your residence.
Experts can assist with the strategic placement of the plants and give helpful tips on how to decrease common mosquito attractions/breeding sites around your house. The many different species of mosquitoes in throughout New England adds to the challenge of preventing the pests. Before taking matters into your own hands, contact a knowledgeable expert for more information on the different types of mosquitoes and the most effective repellents.