9 Insect-Repelling Plants to Put in Your Garden

Feel like an insect magnet the moment you step outside your home? While eliminating standing water in your yard will help keep mosquito breeding grounds at bay, studies have shown these plants and herbs can serve as natural insect repellents.

Lemon Grass

Horticulture Magazine says lemongrass is the #1 plant to repel mosquitoes, because it emits citronella oil (the oil commonly found in mosquito-repelling candles). Lemon grass is ornamental and can reach 2 to 4 feet tall. Grow in well-drained soil and full sun. It makes a great container plant to place around the perimeter of your deck or patio.


A 2010 study by entomologists at the University of Iowa found that catnip is 10 times more effective than DEET, the ingredient commonly found in most bug repellent sprays. Because cats like to roll around in this plant (hence the name), plant it in hanging containers or in an area by itself.


This sun-loving annual has a distinctive smell that can be offensive to both humans and mosquitoes. Because marigolds thrive most in full sunlight, use them as a border plant around your patio or along walkways to your home’s entrance.


Basil repels both house flies and mosquitoes, so add it to your herb garden this summer. A 2009 study even found that oils found in basil are toxic to mosquito larvae.


This fragrant herb is a known repellent of moths, fleas, flies and mosquitoes. Plant it in well-sunned areas of your home and near entryways to keep those pests outdoors.


This aggressively growing herb is a great mosquito repellent. Plant in containers around your garden or patio to keep it from overwhelming the ground around it and to keep insects away from you and other plants.


While studies have shown that eating garlic doesn’t repel mosquitoes, simply keeping it nearby does. Add some to your flower beds or vegetable or herb garden for extra protection.


Penny-royals has a fresh, minty smell but doesn’t belong to the mint family. This flowering plant serves several advantages to green thumbs as it provides a great ground-cover, attracts butterflies, and deters mosquitoes.


The oils of rosemary repel mosquitoes and other insects harmful to vegetable plants. Plant it in containers on your patio, in your herb gardens, or directly into your landscaped beds. You can even make your own insect repellent spray with this recipe here.

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