The mosquito is the scourge of outdoor life. Even worse, the mosquito can make its way indoors every time a door or window is opened. They’re the worst of all outdoor bugs if you ask me because they cause disease and death all over the world. Chemicals like DEET can solve the problem in a pinch, but this kind of mosquito repellent poses some possible health risks for humans and isn’t good for our environment.
Fortunately, there are lots of plants that can both enhance the outdoor experience and help evict those irritating, unwanted pests. If mosquitoes are a problem in your life, one of the best things you can do is to plant many varieties of flowers, herbs, grasses, bulbs, and other plants that will all keep mosquitoes away and beautify your yard, garden, porch, patio, pool area, or any place occupied by people and pets.
How Mosquitoes Harm People
Eliminating mosquitoes is not a trivial matter. Not only are they annoying, but they’re also very dangerous to humans. The itching they cause can create sores that are unsightly, painful, and can become infected. In fact, they carry deadly diseases. Plants that repel the mosquito can keep you safer, but don’t rely on citronella. These are some of the serious diseases they transmit.
• Zika virus
• West Nile virus
• Chikungunya virus
• Yellow Fever
What follows is a list of mosquito repellents. These are chemicals that have been registered for use by the EPA. They have their place in the fight against the mosquito, but it’s always best to try more natural products like the wipes below first. You can buy a chemical repellent online or at your local store.
• N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide (DEET)
• Oil of lemon-eucalyptus
• Metofluthrin (marketed as OFF!)
• Permethrin – NOT TO BE USED ON SKIN
Plants and Grass
Several plants can be used as ground cover in a garden to create an atmosphere that will keep the harmful mosquito away from an area. Some of the grassy plants are included on this list.
• Citronella grass
• Lemongrass or lemon verbena
• Lemon balm
• Cymbopogon citratus
• Cymbopogon nardus
These lovely blooms are not only beautiful, but a hungry mosquito will find many of them unappealing. The flowers you plant will enhance any garden. Another benefit is that you’ll have fresh flowers ready to take in the house. This is a list of some of the flowers that keep mosquito bugs away. They are beautiful plants that also serve a function.
• Scented geraniums
• Bee balm
If you plant different varieties of herbs, every meal will become an adventure. These versatile plants are not just useful in cooking. Several of them have a scent that will deter the hungriest mosquito. Not only will they send the little pests packing, but you can also use them in your favorite recipes. It’s a good idea to keep a variety of herb plants close to where people gather.
This family of herb plants is very diverse. You can plant some of the smaller plants in indoor pots for a clean, fresh smell. This is a partial list of proven winners from the mint family.
Several perfumes and lotions have been developed that keep mosquitoes away from your skin. They can make you unattractive to these tiny adversaries. Some of the perfumes add fresh scents to make them more appealing. You can buy these online.
Several oils can be used directly on the skin that will repel mosquitoes. The oil is derived from the plant. This is a list of those oils derived from familiar sources.
• Lemon eucalyptus
• Greek catnip
• Tea tree oils
These are just some of the more common plants that can protect people from the problems associated with mosquitoes and other insects. Whatever you choose to plant will be helpful in your battle against the mosquito.
Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
The leaf has a strong aroma that mosquitoes do not like. Any type of basil you plant will be effective. Find the kinds that will go best with your cooking style. It’s familiar to those who enjoy Italian cuisine and is found in pesto and tomato sauce, as well as sprinkled over sliced tomatoes and salads. Tearing the leaves releases the most scent, which is what the mosquito doesn’t like. This small bush can grow between one and two feet tall. The plants prefer damp soil with good drainage and full sun, which makes it easy to care for them. Because mosquito larvae find the oils toxic, this is a good choice to plant near places water may collect because mosquitoes will avoid the area. Basil can thrive in the ground and in pots.
Catnip (Nepeta cataria)
Nepetalactone is a chemical that’s even more powerful than DEET when it comes to repelling mosquitoes. Commonly referred to as catnip, it’s most famous for the reaction it causes in cats. The plants grow between three and five feet tall, so be careful when selecting a place to plant some. This is especially true if you have a cat. It thrives in the sun but needs some shade to flourish. It requires well-drained dirt, so avoid areas that tend to collect puddles when it rains or simply plant in well-drained containers. Other than that, it doesn’t require special care. As part of the mint family, it can be used to add flavor to sauces and soups. Another unusual use is as a natural medicinal herb to treat cold symptoms such as a low fever.
Citronella (Cymbopogon nardus)
Also known as the Mosquito plant, Citronella can grow as high as six feet. It should serve well as a hedge bordering an outdoor living area and is helpful in keeping flies out of the neighborhood. This makes spending time in your garden much more pleasant. Many people are familiar with the use of Citronella in candles which serve to repel mosquitoes. The Citronella plant requires little special care; however, frost should be avoided. Full sun is good although it also does well in partial shade. Well-drained soil is recommended, but don’t let them dry out fully. Citrosum and citronella grass are two similar variants. When used as an oil, Citronella contains anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. This helps fight infection that may be the result of a mosquito bite.
Garlic (Allium sativum)
Garlic is actually a vegetable. It makes mosquitoes miserable. It’s a popular ingredient in many dishes. One of its pleasant side effects is that it reduces cholesterol when eaten. The juice can be squeezed from the clove and rubbed directly on the skin. The plant requires no special care. Plant it in full sun and well-drained soil, and it will grow to about two feet tall. A mosquito will likely find individuals who eat a lot of garlic unappetizing, as will the neighborhood vampire.
These flowers are just pretty. They look good in any garden or growing in a container. They’re especially lovely when you plant them in baskets where they can be trained to cascade their blooms. They do best in full sunlight or partial shade. They grow from one to three feet. Geraniums have a subtle lemon scent and a small amount of citronella oil that repels mosquitoes and flies. As an added bonus, they attract butterflies. The oil can be used to reduce scars.
Commonly referred to as lemon verbena, citral is the oil that’s useful in mosquito repellents. It’s fragrance is also unappealing to flies. It makes a beautiful addition to any garden. It thrives in full sun and well-drained soil and grows between three and six feet high. You can plant these near areas that might have standing water because it’s toxic to mosquito larvae. It has also been found to be toxic to women who are pregnant or have recently given birth. Birth defects have been the result of exposure. It’s included in recipes for soups and sauces.
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
This leafy, green plant grows best in full sun or partial shade with well-drained soil. It grows two to three feet in height. The problem is, it can do too well and choke out other plants. Consider putting lemon balm in a planter or restricting it to an easily controlled area. It repels mosquitoes and flies. While it has the added bonus of attracting butterflies, it also attracts bees. It can be used in place of the lemon peel in recipes for soups and sauces as well as a garnish for fish dishes. Taken internally, it has been used to reduce stress and relieve a stomach ache.
Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium)
Pennyroyal comes in two flavors – American and European. They not only chase away annoying mosquitoes, flies and fleas don’t like them either. They do well growing in full sun and partial shade. They prefer damp soil. Since they only grow between 6 and 12 inches in height, they’re useful as ground cover in areas of a garden that doesn’t get a lot of foot traffic. They don’t require special care to grow, but they do require special care to handle. The herb is considered toxic for pregnant women and infants. The leaves and oil are used for medicinal purposes though, but it shouldn’t come into contact with the skin. It can, however, be crushed to release the fragrance and used to repel mosquitoes that way. Breathing problems, including those associated with pneumonia and colds, respond well to its use.
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
Yet another member of the mint family that repels mosquitoes, Thyme flourishes in full sunlight and well-drained dirt. Because it only grows 6 to 12 inches high, it can be used as ground cover. A garden that has areas that are difficult to get to, to mow would benefit. This herb is ubiquitous in the kitchen and can be found in numerous recipes including chicken and fish dishes, soups and sauces, and anything else its tasty flavor is wanted. Thyme has found many uses as a medicine. The leaves, flowers, and oil are used to treat inflammation. It’s proven helpful in treating the cough associated with conditions like bronchitis, alopecia areata, and stomach discomfort.
Using these natural solutions is a great alternative to potentially harmful chemicals. There are many possibilities, and you can get plenty of ideas on how to create a garden that insects avoid from the Internet. You can buy everything you need online or at a neighborhood store. All you have to do is find the one that suits you best. Your family and guests will enjoy your beautiful garden, and it’s a safe bet no one will mind the absence of mosquitoes.