These plants will help you keep the mosquitoes away

The snow birds are gone, the temperatures are rising and the rains are here — sure signs that summer is here.


This means the year round residents of south Florida begin to retake paradise.

But this year I think the mosquitoes have re-taken paradise. Getting ready to work outside in the garden is like getting ready for battle. So here are a few mosquito repelling plants to help us enjoy the outdoors just a little more at this time of year. 

Right now, looking out the window in my office, I see about 100 tiny blue Cassius butterflies, each about the size of a fingernail, flying around my wild tamarind tree — which is their host plant. So much going on in nature if we pay attention, don’t let those pesky mosquitoes keep you away.

Most insect-repelling plants do so with their natural fragrances that come from the oils in the leaves and flowers. You can use them in containers on your patio or deck or by the front or back door or plant directly in your garden.

The plants I have listed for you will not only repel mosquitoes, but they will emit wonderful scents throughout your garden and patio areas.



Lemon grass: This is the No. 1 plant to use in your landscape or in pots to keep mosquitoes at bay. Most mosquito repelling plants also serve a second purpose; most can be used in cooking, like herbs. Before having an outdoor event, brush or trim lemon grass to release more of its fragrance, thus making it more effective.

Marigolds: Of course we have used them to keep insects away from our vegetable gardens and, yes, they do work for mosquitoes as well.

Rosemary: This is a great mosquito repelling plant with extra benefits. Its wonderful scent will please us all year. While keeping pests away, we can enjoy its scent and use it to make great rosemary chicken on the grill.

Basil: This is another herb that doubles as a pest repellent. All these herbs do equally as well in pots as planted in the ground.

Peppermint: Not only mosquito repellent, it is used in cold and hot teas. It is also a butterfly nectar plant.

Lavender: Lavender's scent comes from the essential oils that are on its leaves. It not only repels mosquitoes, but some say it stops the mosquitoes' ability to smell. Loves full sun.

Geraniums: Most scented geraniums work as a mosquito repellent but lemonand pineapple scents seem to work best. These fast growers do well in gardens and containers as well.

Tagettes: Also called Mexican marigolds. In addition to their mosquito repelling properties, butterflies will nectar on them.


Horsemint: Also called Bee Balm. A great butterfly and hummingbird nectar plant as well.

Other tips to keep the mosquitoes away are keeping your bird baths clean; making sure pots are turned upside down so water does not collect; and never using saucers under your planted pots in the rainy season because they hold too much water and can cause death by overwatering.

In the garden, I don’t use pesticides, so these plants that repel mosquitoes are right up my alley. They all can be used in cooking and provide a great number of different scents in your garden as well. So when you are out and about getting hot dogs and beer for your next outdoor party, you might want to think about picking up some of these mosquito repelling plants. Enjoy the outdoors!

Help save the monarch butterfly, plant milkweed and keep butterflying!

Mike Malloy known as the Naples “butterfly guy”, sells host and nectar plants for butterflies as well as tropical plants at the Third St. South farmers market on Saturday mornings.