Plants That Repel Mosquitoes Naturally

Published by Dr Gigi on

Have you ever visited or you live in an area that has lots of mosquitoes? Do you find them annoying? You are not alone, there is a universal hatred for mosquitos in general.

Mosquitoes are mainly found in warm climates, especially areas with swamps, ponds and other forms of stagnant water. It is quite common in West Africa, South America, some parts of the United States, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Thailand, Australia, and Philippines. However, the diseases they carry differ based on the geographical location. For example, mosquitoes in West Africa, South America, India are vectors of malaria, also in South America some are vectors of Zika viru, Dengue fever and so on.

Mosquitoes are vectors of many disease such as malaria fever, dengue fever, filariasis, zika virus fever and so on. In view of this, it is important to protect oneself from mosquitoes, especially in areas where they are known to carry disease causing parasites and pathogens. Traditionally, several plants have been used in folk medicine to prevent mosquito bites.


Plants are natural ways to keep bugs and diseases off, without the risks of exposure to chemicals in commercially available repellents. Plants can be used in different forms to prevent mosquito bites: planting or hanging plants around the house, applying oils or fresh extracts from plants on the body, or burning plants to ‘smoke’ out the mosquitoes.

Be careful with the smoking method because, it may release harmful chemical that may be unsafe, especially for infants and children.

Below are some plants that acts as safe and natural mosquito repellents.


Basil also known as Ocimum basilicum. Whole plant and leaves  when burned release smoke that has the potential to repel mosquitoes. It may be used alone or in combination with lemon or cinnamon.1 The leaf extract is considered to be toxic against mosquito larvae of different species making it highly effective in controlling the breeding of mosquitoes.2



The scent and taste of peppermint can be off putting to many insects. Planting it around the house will keep mosquitoes and other bugs away.

The leaves can be crushed and the extracted and rubbed directly on the skin to  prevent mosquito bite. It may be rubbed on insect bite sites.


This plant is in the onion family. It is high in sulfur containing products-allicin, ajoene, polysulfides which gives it the sharp smell characteristic of garlic.4

Allyl methyl sulfide (AMS) contained in garlic can not be digested in the body, as a result it is excreted via skin, lungs (garlic breath). AMS in the blood is thought to act as a mosquito repellant.4

Note that the smell can be quite off putting to many people, so be aware that after eating garlic, your presence may make others uncomfortable.

Lemon Grass

Citronella oil is made from lemon grass and is often used in making commercial and DIY insect sprays and candles. You may rub the leaf extract on the skin to protect yourself from mosquitoes.5,6,7

Plant them with tomatoes, to deter bugs destroying the tomatoes in your garden.


Rosemary is an aromatic herb that is commonly found in Asia and Mediterranean. The plant can be decorative and also an insect repellant. Rosemary essential oils can be rubbed on the skin to repel mosquitoes.8


Lavender can be grown in your garden, it is both decorative and the smell is strong enough to turn insects away. Lavender oil has many uses including relieving anxiety, insomnia and in aromatherapy.

You may crush the flowers and apply the extract/oil directly on your skin to get its anti-mosquito benefits.


The leaves are brightly coloured and may be planted for their ornamental benefits. It contains pyrethrum which is a compound found in many insect repellants.

Marigold oil has larvicidal activity against mosquitoes, therefore, it will stop them from breeding.10 Planting marigold in your garden will prevent mosquitoes from settling around you.

Lemon Thyme

The strong aromatic smell of this plant acts as deterrent to mosquitoes.


Also known as catmint. It is in the mint family and is widely available in the environment. It is a potent mosquito repellant with research showing it to be more effective than the commercially available DEET, which is a chemical in mosquito repellents sold in the market.11

If you have cats at home, note that they react when exposed to the plant. Inhaling catnip makes them highly active and they become sleepy after eating it.


Dr Gigi

Dr Gigi is a medical doctor, an avid researcher and founder of HeLP. She is a healthy life enthusiast. She is passionate about finding better and healthier alternatives and helping to improve people's quality of life. She started Healthy Life Pantry (HeLP) with aims to provide simplified research based and proven health information, delivered by seasoned health care professionals.

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