Plant that Repels Gnats

It's is starting to be spring here a little early, but we will take it. With spring we get what my husband and I call "biting gnats". They are about the size of a gnat, swarm around you and their bite stings.


We love to sit outside all spring and summer long, but in the springtime they make it almost impossible. We have tried spraying ourselves with Listerine and Off. Any ideas on other sprays or plants to plant around our deck? We already plant marigolds for mosquitoes. Any other suggestions? Thanks.

Hardiness Zone: 5a

By Jen from Shellsburg, IA


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March 21, 2010 Flag
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By Ellen Brown

Q: Does anyone know of a plant that will repel biting gnats and other annoying insects?

Brenda from Central Arkansas

A: Brenda,

When you read the labels on "natural" gnat and mosquito repellent products, the ingredients always seem to contain combinations of lemon grass, mint, and garlic. Their effectiveness is probably due to the fact that an insects sense of smell is thousands of times greater than that of a human being and these are all highly aromatic plants. In theory, planting these plants should help repel gnats. At the very least, you will be left with the ingredients you need to harvest and make your own bug spray. Studies have suggested that garlic sprays made primarily from garlic juice or garlic extract are effective at repelling both gnats and mosquitoes. An interesting experiment would be to plant all three of these plants (garlic, lemon grass and mint) in containers and place them around your patio. As you pass by, you could crush a few leaves on each plant to release some of their aromatic oils. I have also read that dabbing a few drops of vanilla on your skin repels gnats.



About The Author: Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert. Click here to ask Ellen a question! Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at


Plant that Repels Gnats

Citronella (not sure I spelled that right) is supposed to repel mosquitos. It may work for other pests, also. It smells great when you disturb it by brushing against it while walking. (05/04/2006)

By Verue

Plant that Repels Gnats

I live in Florida and my husband and I seem to have a severe reaction to no-seeum bites. A local police officer told us that when they have to work out in the field with these biting gnats they use Coppertone Water Babies. It is actually a sunblock and does not claim to repel gnats, but we have used it ever since with excellent results.


Actual insect repellents do not work against these Florida nasties, but the baby sunblock works perfectly (11/26/2007)

By kiwi

Plant that Repels Gnats

I have tried Victoria's Secret Amber Romance. If you spray it on your body it really does repel gnats. The only problem is that you smell like a perfume store. But, hey, if it works, why not? (05/11/2008)

By Kacy

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