Outdoor Plants, Trees, and Shrubs to Repel Bugs This Summer

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Monarch butterflies parched on lavender flowersSummer days are all about backyard cookouts, sipping iced tea on the porch, and watching your kids play in the sprinklers or chase fireflies. At least, that’s the dream. The reality isn’t always as idyllic, especially here in Atlanta. Mosquitoes, gnats, and other pesky insects have a habit of crashing the party, and their itchy bites sure can take the fun out of your summer!

Fortunately, you don’t have to resign yourself and your family to hiding out in the air conditioning all season while the bugs enjoy free reign of your outdoor living spaces. You can actually use outdoor plants to repel bugs. These bug repelling plants will not only help keep pests away, but many of them are also wonderful additions in their own right, adding beauty, fragrance, and even food to your garden. 

Best Outdoor Plants to Repel Bugs

Herbs: Rosemary, Mint, Thyme, Basil, Garlic, Catnip, Lemon Verbena

Mosquito repelling herbs are some of the best plants to add to your porch, patio, or yard this summer. They can be grown in beds, planters, and pots, making them convenient even for those with limited space. Rosemary, mint, thyme, and garlic also discourage ants, although we recommend our fire ant treatment service if ants are a persistent problem in your yard. Stepping on a fire ant hill is one of the most painful insect run-ins you can have in Georgia. 

Grasses: Citronella and Lemongrass

When it comes to mosquito repelling landscaping plants, citronella and lemongrass are the heavy hitters. Citronella grass (not to be confused with citronella plant, which is often marketed as a mosquito repellent but doesn’t actually do the job) can grow to be up to 6 feet tall and equally wide, so make sure to plan accordingly when planting. 

Citronella’s close cousin, lemongrass, also repels mosquitoes, and can grow to a height of up to 5 feet. However, with a maximum width of only 2 feet, it has a much smaller footprint, making it a better choice for compact spaces. 

Flowers: Marigolds, Geraniums, Chrysanthemum, Wild Bergamot, Floss Flower, Lavender, Feverfew, Pitcherplant

If you’re hoping to add some vibrant color to your landscaping in addition to keeping bugs away, there are plenty of beautiful options to try. Scented marigolds are the superheroes of the garden, keeping mosquitoes and ants away, as well as parasitic nematodes. Geraniums (specifically Pelargonium citrosum) are another popular choice to repel mosquitoes, ants, and other insects.  Lavender (which could also have been placed in the herb category) not only grows beautiful purple flowers, smells incredible, and discourages bugs, but also makes a wonderful addition to your cooking or baking. Just combine with rosemary, thyme, basil, tarragon, marjoram, and oregano to create your own homegrown herbs de Provence

Trees: Eucalyptus, Tea Tree

While humans generally like the fragrance of eucalyptus and tea tree, their strong scents are a major deterrent to mosquitoes. The CDC has even approved eucalyptus oil as an ingredient in mosquito repellent. 

Make the most of your summer landscaping with these mosquito-repelling plants, and get in touch with us if you’re looking for residential or commercial lawncare services around Atlanta.

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