I would like to put some mosquito-repelling plants in the terrace of my apartment. We live in the Latin America, where there's sun and heat all year (this week's been 32°C, or 90°F). I can water and maintain the plants, but the only shade is from neighboring buildings.

What's the best mosquito-repelling plant for this kind of environment? They would be placed in regular plant pots.

4 Answers 4


On the assumption you mean plants suitable for pots outdoors, lemon scented plants such as Citronella and Lemon Balm are good. Plants offered for sale under the name citronella vary - the one to look for is Cymbopogon nardus, or Citronella winterianus. Cymbopogon does not like cold temperatures, and should be fine with your climate, but regular (possibly daily, or twice daily, depending on size of container) watering will be necessary for any plants in pots in full sun in those temperatures.

Lemon scented geraniums are also worth considering, along with lavender, rosemary, basil and catmint (Nepeta). Note that Basil will likely need replacing annually. All will be fine in containers, though rosemary can get too large and leggy over time, and likely will not cope with such high temperatures year round. More info and suggestions here, and lemon scented Geraniums are available on Amazon.


I found this today - looks as if you'll need to crush or bruise the leaves on the citronella grass for it to have any effect on mosquitoes


  • So glad you posted this. I was thinking of getting some sort of mosquito repelling device for my patio. I have my herb container garden on my patio as well and among other things i have lavender, rosemary, lemon balm and 2 types of basil. :) First time doing this many different herbs. Hopefully it'll keep the blood suckers away. Thanks! Commented Jun 11, 2016 at 1:09
  • Add some tagetes (french marigold) and you've nearly got the lot. Hope it all helps, I'd be interested to know...
    – Bamboo
    Commented Jun 11, 2016 at 10:41

If you can manage to get a few marigolds, plant those. They thrive on a lot of sunshine, can be grown in pots, and are good at repelling mosquitoes and most other insect pests. The beautiful flowers are a bonus.


I read that in Malta it is frequent to use basil to repel mosquitoes. It likes sun, but it should be watered often to maintain the green leaves and smell (though it is also resilient to dry periods).


There are many web sites that make wide ranging statements about plants that repel mosquitoes. I cannot find any academic research that supports this.

I can find university sites that say that there is no plant that acts as a mosquito repellent by just being there. Any essential oils in the plant leaves must distributed in the air or applied to skin before a mosquito will be repelled.

The controls that do work are:

  • Clear nearby areas of standing water where they breed
  • Fans which blow mosquitoes and the CO2 that attracts them away
  • Use or make a product containing DEET, citronella or any of the plants listed in this excellent study as skin lotion or candle

Further references:

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