Mosquito Repellent Plants

Photo © Bulleen Art & Garden

Perfection is sitting outside with the warm sun on my face, the company of friends and family, and food on the table. To keep this image of perfection firmly in place, I need to exclude the uninvited guest – the mosquito.

I can slather on insecticide, have bottles ready for other people to use, or I can plan ahead, and create a mosquito free garden. They have lots of options, they don’t have to be in my garden, so I plan on making it as unattractive to them as I can, sort of a cultural desert for mozzies, no where to hang out, unattractive smells, nothing enticing.

First thing is to remove obvious breeding places, standing water being the clear culprit here. Blocked gutters and all those other water traps need to go. But mosquitoes can smell dinner from over 50m away, so unless the entire street is doing the same, that is not enough.

So next is including mosquito repelling plants that suit my garden. There are many to choose from, most of which will also serve ornamental or culinary purposes. I already have a few of these plants, but will add in the Leptospermum ‘Mozzie Blocker’ and several more herbs as they suit my garden and I want a lot of plants to give the repelling properties the best chance to really work.

Take a look at the list below and see if any of these plants will fit in your garden and lifestyle and help win the war against the mozzie.

The plants which act as natural repellents are those which contain volatile plant oils, the best known being citronella oil, but there are plenty more:


  • Basil. The pungent smell is reputed to be what keeps mosquitoes away. Fantastic in cooking, enough said.
  • Lemon Balm. High in citronellal compounds. Fast growing, and needs room to spread.
  • Lemon Grass. Great in cooking and easy to grow, forms a lovely strong clump.
  • Lemon Verbena. Wonderful for lemon tea, fast growing.
  • Monarda: Also called Beebalm, Horsemint and Bergamot. Strong fragrance reputed to confuse mosquitoes and mask the smell of mosquito hosts (us!).
  • Peppermint. Great in hot and iced teas. Fresh fragrance.
  • Rosemary. A favourite for cooking, but also a great ornamental.

Photo © Bulleen Art & Garden


  • Leptospermum liversidgei ‘Mozzie Blocker’: Attractive shrub with fine dense foliage and masses of soft pink flowers. Foliage has very high volatile oil content.
  • Marigolds: Contain pyrethrum and are known for also repelling insects which prey on tomatoes.
  • Ageratum: Flossflowers secrete coumarin (used in commercial mosquito repellants). Gorgeous fluffy blue flowers, easy to grow.
  • Catnip: Very easy to grow and loved by cats, equally loathed by mosquitoes.
  • Lavender: Rarely attacked by insects or even rabbits and possums. Argued that the lavender oil repels many insects and predators.
  • Scented geraniums: Too many to individually list. Most popular is the lemon/citrus scented variety.