Don’t Bug Me: Plants That Repel Annoying Insects

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With summer finally here, I’d love to spend more time on my back patio, enjoying the beautiful weather. There’s one problem. Every time I’m out there, insects get the best of me and I usually retreat indoors pretty quickly. This inspired me to do some research on plants that naturally repel insects. Read on to learn more about keeping bugs at bay the natural way.

Of course the most irritating insect is the mosquito, which loves to bite me and leave behind itchy red welts. Plants that will naturally keep these blood-suckers away include citronella, a perennial clumping grass that is the most common natural ingredient in manufactured mosquito repellents. The living plant has a much stronger odor than citronella-scented candles and torches and is therefore much more effective. The citronella plant is low maintenance and does best in full sun and well-drained conditions.


Marigolds are another option for keeping mosquitos away. The bright yellow and orange hardy annuals contain Pyrethrum, an ingredient in many insect repellants. Marigolds can be grown from seeds, but seedlings are easily purchased from garden centers if you want a head start. Marigolds are also useful at repelling insects that often prey on tomato plants, so planting a few near your tomatoes would be a great idea, too.

And lavender is not only a gorgeous and fragrant addition to any yard, it too keeps away mosquitos, fleas, lice, moths, and has other healing properties.

Basil plants, particularly lemon basil and cinnamon basil, are not only great to have around for making refreshing basil mojitos, they also have mosquito repelling powers. Other pantry staples that you can grow to keep away insects include mint, which repels wasps, and perppermint, which repels mosquitos, flies, bees, and ants.

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