Plants That Repel Mosquitoes in Chicago

purple colored flowers

Thanks to our proximity to the Great Lakes, the Windy City can often be the skeeter city. Summer is prime time for those hungry female mosquitoes that love to feed at daybreak and dusk. Enjoying your backyard can be nearly impossible when the critters are waiting for their next feast. Thankfully Mother Nature provides us with remedies along with the problem. Check out these plants that repel mosquitoes in Chicago and make your outdoor living space more enjoyable this year.


Close up of a beautiful green colored basil plant
Photo Credit: Pixabay

The unique aroma of basil is a favorite among many Chicago gardeners. This beautiful dark green plant provides an abundance of leaves that can season some of your best dishes. It’s also an insect-repelling herb that can stop mosquitoes from entering your yard. While sweet basil is often used for cooking, cinnamon and lemon basil varieties are best for keeping hungry mosquitoes away. Plant basil in a sunny spot of the garden and snip off mature leaves to use in the kitchen.


Beautiful yellow and orange colored marigold flowers
Photo Credit: Pxhere

The cheery look of marigolds is enough to make them a favorite throughout Chicago. However, these little beauties also possess a strong ability to repel mosquitoes. The red and orange colored blooms have an odor that mosquitoes don’t like. Place marigolds in small pots all around the garden and on patio tabletops.


Beautiful green colored blades of citronella plant
Photo Credit: Mokkie / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

You can buy citronella candles for your backyard, but why not plant citronella directly in the garden? The strong odor the plant gives off helps to keep mosquitoes away. Citronella can grow quite large at about 6 feet tall so pick a spot in the garden that can handle its full mature size. Consider planting citronella in a container to help keep it small and easy to move around the yard. Plant this perennial grass in sunny spots of the garden that have plenty of drainage.


Photo Credit: Pexels

This purple beauty has many different benefits making it a natural choice for a Chicago garden. Lavender smells fantastic and helps promote peace and relaxation. It’s also a magnet for area pollinators like butterflies and honey bees which help support a stronger environment. But mosquitoes aren’t big fans of Lavender, making it an excellent option for the garden. Plant it on a terraced part of the yard or hillside as they are great at providing ground cover. Enjoy the blooms and then cut them to dry and freshen up the indoors as well.


Beautiful green colored leaves of catnip plant
Photo Credit: liz West / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

While your feline friends will love the smell, mosquitoes hate it. That’s why catnip (also known as catmint) is a great addition to a Chicago garden. It’s a perennial herb related to the mint family and is quite easy to grow. You can also crush it up and scatter it around your yard to keep the mosquitoes at bay. Just don’t be too surprised if you find many neighborhood cats like your plant as well!

Lemon Balm

Beautiful green colored leaves of lemon balm
Photo Credit: Pixabay

Also known as horsemint, this distinctive plant is excellent at keeping mosquitoes out of your yard. Lemon balm is a hardy plant that’s quick to take over a small space. We recommend planting it in a container to help keep it in check. Place it near a window or side table to see all the action from pollinators like bees and butterflies that will flock to its distinctive scent.

Keep in mind a colorful garden can also be functional. If you want to enjoy the pretty colors make sure you add one of the plants that repel mosquitoes in Chicago.

Main Image Credit: Lavender / Pixabay

Brenda Ryan

Brenda Ryan

Brenda Ryan is a former content director for LawnStarter. She is a former radio newscaster and journalist. In her free time she enjoys traveling, gardening, visiting wineries, reading, and playing trivia games in her home state of Colorado.