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3 min read

8 Plants That Repel Mosquitoes

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Now that the May long weekend is over, we can expect our early mornings and evenings especially, to suffer insect invasions. Mosquitoes are pesky and annoying, and with the rise of West Nile virus and lately the Zika virus, controlling mosquitoes is no longer a perk but a health and safety concern.

Experts say to eliminate all sources of standing water including rain barrels and rain gutters, but once you’ve done that, what’s the next step? The experts at Nutri-Lawn Ottawa compiled this list of plants suitable for our Canadian climate that will naturally repel mosquitoes. Scatter these plants around your patio, garden or yard or plant them in containers that are easy to move.

Mosquitoes and other insects are sensitive to strong smells, some they’re attracted to and some deter them. There are a number of plants that give off scents humans find attractive but mosquitoes can’t stand. It should be possible to find a smell you find attractive that will allow you to enjoy your yard without that pesky buzzing in your ear.

Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm or horsemint smells similar to citronella but doesn’t irritate bees or butterflies. Lemon Balm will spread aggressively, so maybe plant this one in a container. This way you can move it around and have it just where you want it all season long.


Marigolds are a staple of annual flower gardens across Canada. The well-known orange flowers are a powerful mosquito repellent and deter other insects as well. These flowers are often planted as companions in gardens to protect other plants from insects.


Catnip is best known for its ability to attract cats, but it is also an effective mosquito repellant. Depending on whether you find the mosquitoes or neighbourhood cats more annoying, this might be an option for you. The oil in the leaves of catnip is said to be ten times more effective than DEET at repelling mosquitoes.


Basil is a common herb plant related to peppermint and is highly fragrant. Lemon basil and cinnamon basil have the best mosquito repelling properties. Rubbing the leaves on your skin is also said to repel mosquitoes.


Lavender is lovely to look at and offers a very pleasant aroma that gardeners have enjoyed for centuries. Turns out mosquitoes don’t love the scent of lavender, so whether it’s the actual plant, or a repellent made from the leaves and oil of the plant, mosquitoes will skedaddle. Lavender will spread rapidly if left untended, but does very well in an isolated garden or raised flower bed.

Citronella Grass

Citronella Grass, as expected, is said to repel mosquitoes. Some experts say that the actual plant is less effective than others, but many citronella products are sold for their ability to repel mosquitoes. These plants often sell out quickly at nurseries in the spring, so if this is the one you want don’t wait. Plant this around your yard as an ornamental grass, but be careful working with it as it can cause skin irritations.


Rosemary is a kitchen favourite, but is said to repel mosquitoes. This plant is not winter hardy so will either need to be replaced each spring or brought inside for the winter. If you’re having a campfire, burning some rosemary and sage in the fire is said to repel mosquitoes. They smell delicious and the smoke is intolerable to mosquitoes.


Mint is a native plant. This plant can be effective at repelling mosquitoes and provides a refreshing splash in drinks and other dishes.

Nutri-Lawn Ottawa would love to help you enjoy your lawn this summer mosquito-free. Let us help reduce, prevent, and control mosquito populations in your yard with all natural repellants or synthetic mosquito control applications. Start anytime. Contact Nutri-Lawn Ottawa for a complimentary quote.