Here’s an informative artlcle by Sara Yang for Real Simple on plants that repel bugs.
If you tend to spend long summer evenings hanging out on the patio or in the backyard, keeping bugs and mosquitoes at bay is probably a top priority. For pest control that will actually make your outdoor space look better, consider adding a few plants that repel mosquitoes. Whether you introduce pots of fragrant lavender around the perimeter of your patio or start planting citronella grass in your garden, these multi-tasking plants are both pretty and serve a purpose. For the best effect, be sure to position the plants as close as possible to the sitting area. Some lavender planted across the yard likely won’t help, but adding a few pots of lavender to your outdoor dining table could do the trick. Once you’ve stocked up on the plants that repel bugs and mosquitoes, below, arrange them carefully to maximize their bug-repelling potential.
The citronella candles on your patio are made with the oil that comes from this plant. “Citronella is by far the most popular plant that repels mosquitoes,” says Carmen Johnston, a garden lifestyle expert. “It has a very pungent odor. I often place this in small eight-inch terra cotta pots and mix in with my centerpieces when entertaining outdoors. You can either use the clippings mixed in with arrangements or use the plant itself as the centerpiece.”
This perennial is sometimes known as “nature’s pesticide,” because it can repel aphids, tomato hornworm, asparagus beetles, leafhoppers, and squash bugs. “Petunias are very easy to grow and you can plant them in the ground or keep them potted,” says Peyton Lambton, lifestyle expert and star of My New Old House. “They like sun, and I recommend buying transplants and placing them in light, well-drained soil in full sun after the last spring frost.”
It not only adds flavor to your dishes, but it will also helps keep the bugs away. “This one is another plant perfect for summer heat because it likes to be dry,” Johnston says. “It is one of my absolute favorite smells, but mosquitoes can’t stand it. You can plant it in containers, but it also works well as a hedge.” Johnston says the plant also adds texture to arrangements, so why not place it in an outdoor centerpiece to repel bugs and provide some eye candy at the same time?
Refreshing mint can be used in dishes and cocktails, but it has an added bonus. “It’s a perennial that repels mosquitoes,” says Peyton Lambton. “Mint is easy to grow, but once established in a garden, it can be tricky to remove. Plant it in a pot instead and frequently pick its leaves to keep the plant at its best. You can grow the plant indoors all winter long—and it will help keep flies outside, too.”