Warm weather invites those nasty little mosquitoes we all hate. They are attracted by the compounds emitted from sweat and the carbon dioxide discharged from our breath. Mosquitoes are also attracted to warm bodies. If you are considering planting a flower garden or using potted plants around your yard this summer, consider these plants that are touted as natural mosquito repellents.
Lavender – Insects, rabbits and other animals won’t go near a lavender plant. Red Rock Farms has an annual two-week end lavender festival. The 2019 festival is Thursday, June 20 through Sunday, June 23 and Thursday, June 27 through Sunday, June 30. Make plans to attend and buy lavender plants that you know will thrive in the Village climate.
Citronella – Yes, the candle is actually based on a plant. Citronella is a perennial clumping grass that emits a strong odor. The aroma masks other scents and keeps mosquitoes from being attracted to other things located around it.
Marigolds – A bright, hardy annual plant, marigolds are a great choice for repelling mosquitoes. Marigolds contain Pyrethrum, an ingredient found in many insect repellents, and they have a unique aroma which bugs find repulsive. Grow them in pots and place them near your patio or entrance to your home to keep bugs out.
Catnip – In a 2010 study, researchers found that catnip is ten times more effective than DEET, the ingredient commonly found in bug repellents. Catnip can be found almost anywhere. It is a member of the mint family and almost impossible to kill. This amazing mosquito repellant should be planted in pots. Otherwise, it will invade the rest of your garden and take over. If you have cats in the house, they will surely be happy to have it around. Keep plants full by pinching the growing stems and flower buds when they appear.
Basil – Basil is an herb that can also double as a pest repellent. The pungent smell the basil leaves give off are what keep pests at bay. All kinds of basil work to keep flies and mosquitoes at bay, so explore and find the right types of basil to mix into your garden to double as a friend for cooking. This herb likes to be kept damp, needs good drainage, and enjoys lots of sun. You can plant basil in containers or in the garden, alone or with other flowers, as long as both plants meet the same requirements.
Rosemary –Another great mosquito repellant is rosemary. It is an herb that many of us are very familiar with and its woody scent is exactly what keeps mosquitoes as well as cabbage moths and carrot flies away. Rosemary attracts butterflies. The plants do best in hot, dry climates and thrive in containers, so would need to be planted annually in the Village. While the pests stay away you can enjoy the herb’s scent and also use it to season your cooking.
Geraniums – Scented geraniums seem to be a popular mosquito repelling plant. The favored scent seems to be lemon, which is reminiscent of citronella. They are beautiful blooms with a strong fragrance that keep several types of pests away. These fast-growing plants like warm, sunny, and dry climates, but in the Village, they can be grown in planters with constant pruning. When planted in a hanging container, the colorful blooms will cascade over the side of the pot, providing a beautiful visual piece as well as a very useful bug repellent.
Breaking the leaves of any of these plants and rubbing their oils directly onto your skin can amplify their positive effects on beating mosquitoes. You will smell great and your cat will love you if you use the catnip.