Is it really possible to skip using harsh chemical sprays by growing plants to repel mosquitoes instead?
Nothing can ruin your summer outdoor plans quicker than a swarm of buzzing, blood-sucking insects. Not only can mosquitoes cause painful bites and welts on your skin, but they can also carry diseases as well.
Unfortunately, as the temperatures outside start to heat up during the warm summer months, so does the mosquito population. There are over 200 different species of mosquitoes in the United States alone. With numbers like that, it’s likely this itch-causing pest is lurking outside of your home.
In order to eliminate these annoying pests, most people think you have to resort to using harsh chemical bug sprays or yard bombs. However, these items come with their own set of issues and warnings attached.
What if you were told that you can repel mosquitoes naturally just by growing certain plants around your property instead? In this article, you’ll learn about five great plants to add to your landscape that can help you enjoy your summer nights instead of running for cover!
How Mosquitoes Find You
Everyone seems to have that one friend or family member who always seems to be a magnet for mosquitoes. Why are they tortured with multiple itchy red welts while the person next to them can walk away unharmed?
Chances are, there is some scent that your friend is giving off that is attracting the mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes are attracted to a few different things, but scent is a major factor. Scented soaps, lotions, deodorants, perfumes, etc can all attract mosquitoes differently. In fact, your and your friends’ own natural body and skin odor can attract them.
Even what you and your friend last consumed can draw the little pests in. The stronger the scent, the more likely the mosquitoes will investigate and take a bite for themselves.
Wearing bolder and darker colors, the carbon dioxide produced while exercising or using a gas fire pit, and even your blood type can play a role in whether you or your friend will be the mosquito magnet at the party.
By playing around with the fact that mosquitoes are highly scent driven, you can place plants strategically around your property to deter them as opposed to attracting them – And all without having to revert to those nasty sprays and bombs.
5 Plants That Repel Mosquitoes
The following five plants are easy to grow and work well when planted directly in the ground or in containers that can sit on your deck or patio spaces. Each of them gives off certain chemical markers that mosquitoes do not enjoy.
If you keep these plants around your gathering spaces or in your garden space, then both you and your friend can enjoy your property without the addition of red welts (or worse)!
#1: Lavender – Growing Plants To Repel Mosquitoes
While lavender might be considered a calming scent to you, it is actually detested by mosquitoes. Due to its strong fragrance, it is the perfect plant for deterring mosquitoes as well as flies, moths, and fleas.
While lavender can be a bit finicky to grow from seed, it can be easily grown from transplants. You can find starts in your local garden centers or from local farmer’s markets in the springtime. Once established, lavender is a great, low-maintenance plant that is also drought resistant.
Once the blooms appear, you will be greeted with amazing fragrance and purple cheer. A simple walk past these plants is all you need to know why an insect who detests the smell might steer clear.
Thankfully, lavender is a typically pleasant scent for people and a welcome one in your outdoor spaces. Include lavender directly in your landscape. Or, grow it in large pots and containers for a beautiful and fragrant experience.
To learn more about planting lavender around your property, check out this article, “How To Grow Lavender”.
#2: Rosemary – Growing Plants To Repel Mosquitoes
You can also use herbs to deter mosquitoes. Rosemary is at the top of that list due to its strong woodsy scent. It can also repel cabbage moths and flies, another bonus for garden spaces.
Oh, and don’t forget that you can use rosemary in your culinary dishes as well!
You can plant rosemary tightly together as a short hedge along garden or patio spaces. You can also easily grow rosemary in containers to set on your patio table or porch railing.
And since rosemary can grow in full sun, partial sun, or a combination of both, it can flourish almost anywhere you and mosquitoes might be present. When the weather starts to cool off in late fall, just bring the rosemary plant indoors. That way, you get to enjoy this herb all year long (hello seasoned Thanksgiving turkey!).
#3: Basil – Growing Plants To Repel Mosquitoes
Another great herb that has more use than just in your kitchen is basil. The leaves of a basil plant put off a strong smell that mosquitoes and flies both dislike.
Basil grows easily from seed in traditional gardens, raised beds, and any pot or container that has well-draining soil and receives plenty of sunlight. In addition, just like rosemary, basil grown in containers can be brought indoors during the wintertime and inclement weather.
In garden spaces and raised beds, basil also makes an excellent companion plant for tomatoes. Not only are the two flavors delicious in many different dishes, but basil also helps to deter aphids, whiteflies, and tomato hookworm.
You can even create bundles of dried basil leaves and burn them as a sort of mosquito repellent incense for even more protection against the itch-causing insects. Just be sure to leave some fresh basil behind for your next batch of tomato sauce or pesto!
#4: Marigolds – Growing Plants To Repel Mosquitoes
Well known as being one of the least-liked flowers for insects, marigolds are a great choice to add to your outdoor living spaces and within your garden. They put off a pungent scent from both their flowers and their foliage that mosquitoes greatly dislike.
In addition to mosquitoes, marigolds also help to deter other garden and plant pests such as whiteflies, aphids, and squash bugs. This makes them an excellent companion plant in vegetable gardens where these pests like to frequent.
Marigolds grow easily from seeds. In fact, you can easily save the seeds from year to year (and all for free!). Marigold seeds can be planted directly in the ground as well as in pots and containers.
Since marigolds come in many different shapes and styles, they make a great addition to outdoor spaces without compromising on design aesthetics. Once your marigolds start to bloom, they provide beautiful pops of jewel colors wherever they are spaced.
#5: Citronella Grass – Growing Plants To Repel Mosquitoes
Often confused with lemongrass, another plant disliked by mosquitoes, citronella grass is a great addition to your property. This grass, often called mosquito plant, puts off the same scent that is in all those popular commercial candles, sprays, and oils.
However, the actual plant can help to naturally deter mosquitoes as well. Citronella is best when grown in pots and containers since it is only winter hardy in growing zones 9 through 11.
You can keep the pots outdoors on your patio or deck from spring through fall. Once the cold weather arrives, bring them inside to overwinter.
Citronella grass is low-maintenance and also creates beautiful blooms during the summertime. And similarly to marigolds, you can easily grow it from seed.
As you can see, you (and your friend) definitely aren’t stuck with using commercial chemical sprays and candles when it comes to natural mosquito protection. Design your outdoor spaces using one or more of these mosquito-detested plants to get the most out of your summer days and nights – itch free!
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