Even if it isn’t your favorite season, most of us will still agree that we love the summer. I’m betting most of us would also say that as much as we love summer, we hate the mosquitos. These plants will help ward off the most annoying bugs of summer.
Yes, just like the candles, but in plant version. The strong fragrance in citronella candles comes from the leaves of the citronella plant. Citronella has a grass-like appearance, is pretty drought resistant, and likes an afternoon with shade and to be planted in a fast-draining soil. Unfortunately, citronella is an annual meaning that it won’t come back each year. Did you know that it’s also called a mosquito plant? How fitting.
This tall grass has a strong lemon fragrance and taste. Well we like lemongrass for its flavor in the kitchen and in Asian cooking, mosquitoes hate this citrus scent. This is another annual and it likes to be in the warm, full sun. To give lemongrass its best life, fertilize it every few weeks with fish emulsion or general fertilizer and make sure to keep the soil moist.
This pretty herb adds flowering purple color to your garden and is a versatile herb in the kitchen. This annual is grown in all but the most mild of winter areas and thrives in full sun as long as its planted in sandy soil and only watered when the soil dries out.
Basil is in fact a powerful natural mosquito repellant. There are many varieties of this warm-weather herb and they all discourage mosquitoes. The scent they naturally put out deters mosquitoes, keeping them away from the plants and therefore keeping them away from you.
Not only are these yellow, gold, white, and orange flowers easy to grow, but they do well in containers and sunny spots. Don’t water these too much, and actually, make sure to let the soil slightly dry out before watering them. If you clip away spent flowers, it will encourage more marigold blooms all through the Fall.
Lavender is relaxing and calming to us, but to mosquitoes it’s stinky and they want no part of it. There are several different types of lavender however they all like a lot of sun, prefer dry soil and to be periodically deadheaded to promote more blooms.
Lemon Balm is related to mint, but has a citrusy smell that mosquitos cannot stand./ Dried lemon balm leaves can be brewed into wonderful lemon herb tea that helps you fall asleep. Lemon balm grows best in partial shade with soil that’s moist but not soggy.
Cats love it, and mosquitos hate it? The Nepetalactone in Catnip is known to be a more effective mosquito repellant than the commercial chemical DEET. Catnip is pretty, too, so as a bonus, you will see pretty and spikey white or purple flowers from spring until Fall. You can plant perennial Catnip as well that will come back year after year. It also likes to be in the sun and have its soil dried out a bit before watering.
Geraniums are from the pelargonium family and are known for their colorful flowers. Scented geraniums are valued most for their leaves because of their pleasant fragrances. Though there are many varieties of this annual, the lemon, lime, orange, and peppermint geraniums are most effective against mosquitos.
Most plants within the mint family are a turnoff to mosquitoes, and peppermint is no different. Peppermint can be invasive, so keep it in its own container, and in a partially shaded spot. The soil needs to stay moist and watered regularly. And of course you can use it all over you kitchen, including for tea, as a garnish in drinks, sprinkled into soup, or even in a fruit salad.
Do you have any of these plants around? How cool that plants that can feed us or be beautiful around us can also get rid of those pesky summer mosquitoes?
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Author: Emily Rokke
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