We are all annoyed by mosquitos. They can bite and itch, and their buzz is annoying too. When thinking about planting plants that repel mosquitoes, I pick ones with a dual purpose. I like to choose plants that will add beauty to my yard, deck, or vegetable garden, and if possible, I want to select edible ones. This blog will give you some colorful and tasty choices for mosquito control and a buzz-free summer.
Citronella is the most apparent mosquito repelling plant, as we frequently see citronella tiki torches and citronella grass oil sold to keep mosquitoes away. It has a distinctive odor stronger than our human body's scent, so mosquitoes are attracted to citronella before they annoy us. The plant is a quick bushy grower with thick green leaves and attractive pink blossoms. It can grow up to 4' x 4', so you can trim it back during the season and add the cut branches to your flower arrangements.
Lavender is a perennial herb plant with highly fragrant purple flowers. There are many types of lavender, but French lavender is our favorite. This spring, we had to pull out the French lavender after eight seasons as it was getting old and woody. We replanted all 15 bushes by purchasing them in one-gallon pots at the beginning of March. Now two months later, they are all putting out straight stems with flower buds that will open at the beginning of June. We will make lavender wands and lavender sachets to be used in closets and under our pillows for a wonderful night's sleep. English lavender will grow into a bush that can be 3' tall and 4-5' wide. It will bloom from spring through the entire summer. It is a wonderful pollinator having a delightful fragrance while repelling mosquitoes.
Lemongrass with its attractive grassy green spikes, grows almost as large as citronella and likes it hot, so plant it in full sun. Its stems are edible as they taste like scallions or chives and grow out of the bulbous base. Lemongrass is a perennial if your winters are mild. It can be a containerized plant that you would take indoors for the winter. It can be harvested during the growing season and used in Thai or Asian cooking.
Lantana is a very active low-growing multicolored plant that can be used in an ornamental flower garden as almost a ground cover giving taller flowers like white iris a colorful background. It can grow well in poor soils but in a sunny area for the best flowers. It has low water requirements. Lantana is also a pollinator, as the butterfliesand hummingbirds are attracted to it, but mosquitoes hate it!
Catnip is a plant in the mint family, so I would only plant it in a largecontainer to keep it from spreading and taking over a large area. The neighborhood cats are attracted to it as it has a hallucinogenic effect on them, so I call this a pet-friendly plant. It is also known for its powerful repellent action on insects, especially mosquitoes.
Marigolds will repel mosquitoes and attract bees and butterflies. This easy-to-grow flower has a multitude of benefits for the avid gardener. Mosquitoes hate bright yellow or orange flowers, but pollinators adore them. Marigolds are a great companion plant, especially if you need help with slugs or snails in your vegetable garden. Marigolds will give you insurance against all kinds of pests and pretty, bright flowers. These flowers also have a place in the kitchen, as they have been used in fresh salads and as a fried appetizer. Look it up!
Basil is one of my favorite vegetable/herb plants, with its strong fragrance that repels mosquitoes. It is also a companion plant to tomatoes boosting their flavor, resiliency, and overall health. You'll need a sunny spot with well-drained soil to optimize its growth. Basil will grow to 2'-3' tall and wide and likes to be trimmed (harvested) every 4-5 weeks during the summer, making sure that the flowers on the plant all get pruned off with the leaves. The basil leaves can be put in a blender, and some garlic cloves, shelled walnuts, and olive oil to make some delicious pesto. We freeze the pesto so we can't eat it fresh within a week, and by the end of October, we will have enough pesto in the freezer for the entire year.
Rosemary is a perennial bush that is very tolerant of drought. This bush can grow up to 3'-4' tall and 6 'wide, so it would be wise to find a few permanent spots on the perimeter of your property not too close to where you'll be hanging out during the summer. The bees love rosemary, and the mosquitoes hate it, so it is an excellent low, maintenance, and attractive plant as a pollinator.
Sage is a tasty perennial herb with a scent that is very effective at repelling mosquitoes and super convenient for adding a few leaves to a stuffing mix or making tea. We have one substantial bush in our vegetable garden that gives us more than enough sage for us and everyone we know. When we plan to go on a camping vacation, we cut a bag full of leaves from our sage plant, dry them for a week, and have them available to throw on a campfire to repel any swarms of mosquitoes that might show up.
How to water all the effective mosquito-repellent plants mentioned in this blog? They are all on a drip system at my home. Check out what is available at dripworks.com. Visit their easy-to-navigate site. You'll find complete starter kits, products, and how-to resources to help you easily set up a water-wise irrigation system that will save you time, money, and water year after year. You can speak to a trained tech that will "hold your hand" and help you complete your product selection. Relieve yourself of the annoying mosquito buzz this year while enjoying a more carefree gardening experience.