Plant this gorgeous flower to keep your backyard parties free of buzzing mosquitos—and itchy bug bites. 

By Claudia Fisher
Updated April 19, 2018
lavender plant repels mosquitoes
Credit: Almaje/Getty Images

Mosquitos: Can't with live 'em, can't live without 'em. But I'd really rather live without them.

There's a lot of information floating around about DEET that makes it hard to tell what mosquito repellents are safe to use and what may be toxic or harmful to our bodies (and the earth) in the long run, so looking to plants as natural mosquito repellents can be a less worrisome route to avoiding bug bites.

You may already know this, but the lavender plant is credited with having benefits aside from enhancing a room. People use lavender scents and oils to relax during stressful times or before bed, beauty brands infuse products with lavender for its antioxidants, and some people even rub the oil on minor aches and pains. According to Medical News Daily, lavender oil is also a healing agent for itchy bug bites and some allergic reactions because of its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory qualities. Studies have shown that lavender essential oil can speed up the healing process in these situations as well as help you sleep better despite any discomfort.

On the flip side of the bug-bite spectrum, lavender can keep bugs at bay from the start. A 2008 scientific paper called Essential Oils as Green Pesticides: Potential and Constraints reported that lavender essential oil has mosquito-repelling properties that last for around two hours. You can also mix citronella, lemon, rose, lavender, and basil essential oils with one liter of distilled water to ward of insects inside your home.

And according to Carmen Johnston, a garden lifestyle expert, lavender in plant form “has a fragrant smell that deters mosquitoes." As a testament to its efficacy, she says "I have this planted in clusters at the entryway of my garden, and I love those purple blooms. It likes to be hot and dry, so it’s perfect for summer.”

Not only is using plants that deter mosquitos less stressful than trying to figure out what sprays have what ingredients, I'd say lavender over man-made repellents makes for a more pleasant overall experience. You get wafts of floral instead of chemicals, a bright table centerpiece instead of a sticky sheet coated in bugs, and a relaxing setting instead of intermittent buzzing in your ears.

Look out, bugs. This is about to be the most lavendery summer yet.