Shade plants that repel mosquitoes are an extremely beneficial addition to any garden or indoor space. Plants like the allium and citronella are very effective in scaring off these annoying pests.

Shade Plants That Repel Mosquitoes

These plants naturally deter mosquitoes and therefore are everyone’s favorite. What are these plants? How to grow them? What conditions do they require, and how do their repellent mechanisms work?

Look out for answers to all your questions in this article.

Mosquitoes Repelling Shade Plant Options

A garden can provide good habitat for native pollinators and other local wildlife; therefore, using pesticides/insecticides to control these annoying insects is counterproductive. It is advisable to follow a more natural and organic method rather than spraying anything that could harm wildlife, children, or pets close to the house.

Most insect-repelling plants do so through their natural aromas, which keep pesky mosquitoes at bay while also adding delightful scents to your landscape. If you don’t want to use chemical bug sprays in your garden, you can cultivate some of these plants in shade to help keep mosquitoes and other insects away organically.

Sunburn and mosquitos are two things that can ruin your summertime. However, there are some plants that you may enjoy in the shade while still repelling those bloodthirsty mosquitoes. Here are 11 of our favorite shrubs that repel mosquitoes:

1. Allium

It is a perennial herb with orb-shaped flowers that contain up to one hundred tiny florets. Other species of the Allium genus include chives, onions, and garlic. It is resistant to insects and small animals due to its pungent odor and insecticidal component.

Close View of Allium

Allium species, in particular, contain the insecticidal and antifungal compounds allicin, Allyl disulfide, Diallyl disulfide, and Triallyl disulfide. Studies show that allium oils are a potent and readily biodegradable (meaning less harmful to the environment) insect repellent against mosquitoes.

– Growing Season

Plant them in the fall for spring bloom, and they should return every year as a new bulb grows. As a general rule, the bulbs should be planted roughly three times deeper than the bulb’s width.

– Specific Needs

While they prefer full sun, Alliums can take some shade, so put them along the perimeter of your shaded garden. Planting them in a position that serves them morning sun and afternoon shade may provide the plants with essential sunshine. This can allow you to enjoy them later in the day. 

Some species, such as garlic chives, are more shade tolerant than others (Allium tuberosum). Alliums can grow in hardiness zones 3-9, depending on the species. The most crucial after-planting maintenance tip is to ensure that the soil drains adequately because moist soil causes bulbs to rot.

2. Floss Flower

This flower, also known as ageratum houstonianum, is an annual of the daisy family. They are bright and vibrant when in bloom, and the abundance of hair-like petals makes them look like pom-poms. It contains coumarin, a naturally occurring substance that is frequently used in pesticides.

Blooming Floss Flower

Its aroma encourages pollinators while repelling mosquitoes. It contains coumarin, which is a molecule found in several insecticides. Research has shown that coumarin kills 100 percent of mosquito larvae and repels adult mosquitos.

However, it is crucial to know that this plant is hazardous if consumed by humans, pets, or grazing animals, so use caution when planting it.

– Growing Season

The ideal season to grow this plant outside is late spring to early summer, once all risk of frost has passed. If you plan to plant indoors, sow seeds 8 to 10 weeks before your area’s last average frost date.

Floss flowers will not blossom until late summer or fall if seeds are put immediately outside after your expected last frost date.

– Specific Needs

The plant benefits from afternoon shade in hotter climates. Ageratum houstonianum thrives in full sun, rich soils with good drainage, and constant precipitation throughout the growing season. Don’t let it become too dry. To keep powdery mildew at bay, avoid overhead watering and promote sufficient air circulation.

3. Citronella

Citronella (Pelargonium citrosum) is a geranium family member. It should not be mistaken for real citronella grass, which belongs to the same genus as lemongrass and is not shade-tolerant.

Its basic structure, which includes a traditional geranium leaf and a pinkish/purple flower, appears quite similar.

Green Bright Leaves of Citronella

It is known for its mosquito-repellent abilities and is placed among the top mosquito repellent plants. It interferes with the mosquito’s olfactory receptor, obscuring the carbon dioxide and lactic acid odors that mosquitos seek. It is also among the climbing plants that repel mosquitoes.

– Growing Season

Plant citronella in the spring, when all dangers of frost have gone, and the soil has warmed up. Planting at the same time as tomatoes is a solid rule of thumb. As a perennial, the plant will live outside all year in hardiness zones 9b through 11. They can be brought inside for the winter in other zones or left outside as an annual.

– Specific Needs

Citronellas require six to eight hours of sunlight daily, preferably in the morning and afternoon shade. Give them a bright window if you grow them as houseplants. Citronella plants that become spread out are most likely seeking more light. Place container-grown plants in a brighter location.

4. Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus is a member of the myrtle family. This fast-growing plant is native to Australia and has blue-green leaves, making it an appealing interior or outdoor element. It is utilized as a component in many products to alleviate the symptoms of coughs, colds, and congestion.

It is also found in lotions and ointments to treat muscle and joint pain. It is also on the list of shade plants that repel spiders.

Leaves of Eucalyptus

Besides the medicinal benefits, eucalyptus is also one of the excellent mosquito-repelling plants. The natural oils in eucalyptus tree leaves keep mosquitos away and repel insects, sand flies, ticks, and other pests. Plant essential oils contain PMD (menthoglycol, an active insect-repellent chemical) and other terpenoid compounds with excellent mosquito-repellent qualities.

– Growing Season

Plant eucalyptus in the spring or early summer to allow the plant to establish before the colder months arrive. Note that they are evergreen and do not go into dormancy in the winter months.

– Specific Needs

Most eucalyptus trees prefer the sun and will not tolerate shade. However, a handful thrives in partial shade (although it would be best to avoid deep shade). It thrives well in dry climates as it is not cold-tolerant. To thrive best, the plant requires well-drained soil, regular watering, and pruning.

It can tolerate various soil types, including poor soils. Plant on relatively fertile, well-drained soil that lacks organic matter and fertilizer. Check that the top of the root ball is aligned with the surrounding soil, firm it in, and water thoroughly.

5. Monarda

Monarda (also known as bee balm, horsemint, and wild bergamot) is among the beautiful perennial plants that attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. It also repels mosquitoes for some reason. The visual appeal of this plant makes it a great choice for outdoor garden space.

Monarda Blossoms in Garden

It blooms lovely red, purple, pink, or white blossoms. 

This plant can grow 2 to 4 feet tall, putting it in the bigger category. Some people create tea with the oil found in mint, oregano, and occasionally citrus-scented leaves. The powerful incense-like odor of this fast-growing plant mosquito makes it impossible for them to find you.

– Growing Season

Monarda flowers are best in mid-to-late summer. Before the plants’ blossom, collect stems to dry early in the summer. After being chopped, the plants will regenerate and blossom.

– Specific Needs

Monarda plants prefer moist, rich soil in full sun. Shade is not an issue for this plant, especially in hot summer climates. Plant it in any protected area that might use a splash of color.

The majority of bee balm plant varieties grow up to 2.5 feet to 4 feet tall, while dwarf variants are less than 10 inches tall.

6. American Beautyberry

It is included in the list of the best plants that have fantastic mosquito controlling abilities. This plant is a deciduous shrub that can easily grow up to 6 feet in height and is equally broad.

Wild American Beautyberry

It has little purple berries that span the stalk. They appear throughout the fall and winter months, giving color to your garden after the late spring and early fall blooms have faded. These plants are popular among whitetail deer, so plant them if you want to attract them to your yard.

– Growing Season

Direct sowing can be done before the first frost in the fall, or in the spring; after all, the danger of frost has gone. This plant also self-seeds profusely.

– Specific Needs

The plant enjoys full sun to partial shade and is sensitive to harsh shadows. It will grow in any soil as long as there is adequate drainage. Planting requires 3 to 6 feet of space unless regular pruning is done. Pruning is most effective in the late winter.

To minimize height and fruit set, prune low and avoid fertilizing. Because the flowers and fruits appear on fresh branches, it is recommended that old canes be removed to rejuvenate the shrub. Seeds or stem cuttings can be used to propagate it.

7. Lantana Camara

These plants are abundantly found in subtropical Florida. These plants repel mosquitoes in an effective way by giving off a repelling scent.

Colorful Flowers of Lantana Camara

The stalks get woody as it develops in size. The Lantana camara blooms have a unique umbrage. In addition, each bundle frequently includes two different yet related hues. When you sniff these blossoms, you will notice an overpowering citrus aroma. Some people dislike it; however, these blossoms are beautiful even if they don’t smell great!

– Growing Season

The bright flower clusters, which come in a rainbow of single and multi-colored hues, bloom nonstop from late spring till frost and practically all year in warmer locations. Lantana has grown annually in northern latitudes and as a broadleaf evergreen shrub or ground cover in frost-free zones.

– Specific Needs

Lantana plants can tolerate light frost, but if the temperature falls below 28 degrees Fahrenheit or remains cold for an extended period, the plant will die. Lantana grows in temperatures of 55 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. It prefers humid conditions and can even withstand salt spray.

8. Lemon Geranium

Lemon geranium, also known as a sweet scented geranium, has a characteristic geranium leaf and light purple to pink flowers. Each has a pistil that splits and coils like a fireworks display. These plants can also be grown in any container, from simple pots to window boxes.

Flowers of Lemon Geranium

Not all scented geraniums are equally effective at repelling mosquitoes. It is best to exercise caution when selecting a variety. The ones with a zesty lemon fragrance are usually the most effective. It is also included in the list of full-sun plants that repel mosquitoes.

– Growing Season

The ideal time to grow the plant indoors is the expected final frost date in late April. For outdoors, growing in early summer or after all frost danger has passed is beneficial.

– Specific Needs

Choose a suitable location for your geranium flower beds. Morning sun, midday shade, and well-draining soil make a great position to grow your geranium. Any diseases will be reduced if plants are spaced properly apart. Geraniums are not cold or hardy, so don’t rush into planting.

9. Lemongrass

Lemongrass, commonly known as citronella grass, is one of the plants that repel mosquitoes in the southern United States. It is also utilized in many kitchens, especially in Asian-inspired cuisine. Mosquitoes and other pests tend to avoid areas with a clean aroma and a fresh taste.

Growing Lemongrass Outside

Lemongrass forms dense grass bunches. It can be grown as a perennial, although most people grow it annually. This is another plant that is happy to live in a pot. But be careful where you put the lemongrass. It likes to grow indefinitely so that you may wind up with a huge plot soon!

– Growing Season

Plant lemongrass in the spring after all danger of frost is over. It’s ideal for growing in the ground, as with ornamental grasses, or in containers.

– Specific Needs

Lemongrass likes hot weather, so plant it where it receives full sun. It prefers well-drained soil with a pH of 6.5 – 7.0. Lemongrass is a tropical plant that grows best in the tropics and subtropics regions where it is warm, sunny, and humid. Temperatures ranging from 50 – 91.4 degrees Fahrenheit are suitable for growing the plants, although temperatures between 77 – 86 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal.

10. Nepeta Cataria

This plant, also known as catnip, is known for its ability to repel mosquitoes. Catnip is a robust and invasive herbaceous perennial of the mint family native to Eurasia. It has a rangy appearance with green to gray-green foliage on erect, branching stems.

It features the distinctive square stems of mint plants and opposing leaves with 1-inch petioles, as do other members of the mint family.

Nepeta Cataria Blossoms

Catnip contains an active ingredient that repels insects. It does this by activating a chemical receptor, which can cause sensations such as discomfort or itch.

– Growing Season

Plant your catnip in the spring, which is the ideal season. The harvesting season is late spring to early fall. Wait until your plant blooms before harvesting since flowering catnip plants have stronger and more scented leaves.

– Specific Needs

Catnip prefers full daylight, which means at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. More light might result in better growth with scant leaves. Catnip, on the other hand, suffers in high temperatures. So, protect it from the scorching afternoon sun if you live in a hot region.

11. Melissa Officinalis

This herb is in the same family as mint. It will not add much to the aesthetics of your environment because it is a plain plant. Instead, plant it in your herb garden or a container (indoors or out). Lemon balm is a hardy perennial when grown under the right conditions.

Leaves of Melissa Officinalis

This plant irritates mosquitoes and is used practically everywhere as a mosquito repellent, from the kitchen to home treatments. The subtle lemon flavor has a relaxing scent as well.

– Growing Season

The ideal season to grow lemon balm is late spring. This is when the weather starts to get a bit warm and once all chances of frost are over.

– Specific Needs

It’s a highly aggressive grower, so keep it in a container or raised bed where it can’t spread too far. Melissa officinalis prefers moist, well-drained soil and full sun or light shade for the best results. It is recommended to cut back after the plant has bloomed to encourage fresh growth and prevent seed formation.


There are some easy-to-grow plants that deter mosquitoes. These plants hail from different regions and require different conditions to grow, but they serve the same purpose.

Here is what you must know about these plants:

  • Most plants keep mosquitoes away by their natural fragrance, making your garden scented.
  • Mosquitoes are generally turned off by various plant scents like that of citronella, catnip, and eucalyptus.
  • Some of the climbing plants that repel mosquitoes include citronella, marigold, and catnip.
  • Allium and lemon balm are great shade plants that repel flies and mosquitoes.

With proper care, these plants serve as mosquito repellents and add beauty and scent to your garden.

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