There are few things more frustrating that trying to enjoy your time outdoors and instead spending it swatting away mosquitoes. If you include in your garden certain plants that repel mosquitoes, you’ll have a garden that is as helpful as it is lovely. These plants are also useful near sitting areas, such as patios and gazebos – consider including them in areas where children play or where your pets spend their time.
The citronella plant is such a common repellent of mosquitoes that it’s often called the mosquito plant. The citronella plant is actually a geranium hybrid with a sweet, lemony scent. There are a number of commercial products that use the oil of the citronella plant to repel mosquitoes, but unlike candles which must be lit, or sprays which must be actively sprayed, the citronella plant repels mosquitoes at all time.
Marigolds are another popular natural repellent, the oils of which are used in commercial products to repel mosquitoes. Marigolds are easy to grow, have a long growing season and come in many beautiful shades of yellow, orange, red and gold, including some bi-color plants. Marigolds are an annual plant, but it’s easy to gather their seeds and replant them or just allow them to naturalize. They’re good bedding and edging plants and are easily grown in containers on patios and porches. In addition, they prevent a number of other pests and are often planted along side rose bushes to keep aphids away. Certain types of marigolds are also known as calendula plants and are frequently used in skin care products for their therapeutic properties.
Another plant that often finds its way into commercial repellents is ageratum. These fuzzy blue or white flowers produce coumarin, which mosquitoes will avoid at all costs. This is a low-growing plant, about 4 to 6 inches tall, that can be grown in full or partial sun. Because this is a low-growing plant, it makes a good edging plant that can be located near your patio or deck. The plants flower from mid-June until the first frost, keeping you protected for the entire mosquito season.
You can also grow a plant in your garden that some studies have found works better at repelling mosquitoes than even DEET – catnip. Catnip is a type of mint, with heart shaped leaves and the white, pink, blue or lilac flowers. As an added bonus, you won’t just be getting rid of mosquitoes – your cat will love you for it!
Another popular mint plant that repels mosquitoes is the Horsemint plant, which sometimes goes by the name of lemon bee balm, which works as well as citronella plants at repelling mosquitoes. The plant has purple flowers and the leaves have a lemony, citrus smell, making it a very pleasant addition to your garden.
But beyond simply planting these plants in your garden, you can also use any of these plants as a natural mosquito repellent. Just pick a few leaves, crush them and rub them on your exposed skin. Of course, you should try a small area of your skin first to make sure that you aren’t sensitive to the oils in the plant. If you do experience an allergic reaction, discontinue use immediately and contact your doctor if the reaction becomes severe.