Summer has finally arrived and with it’s arrival the proliferation of the blood-sucking and possible disease-carrying garden foe: the mosquito. In my home garden, I typically place several types of plants to deter mosquitoes. Typically, I either plant them in masses or dry leaves such as sage or rosemary to burn during outdoor gatherings. I also crush fresh leaves from my citronella grass, lemon thyme and lemon balm plants in my hands to release the oils and rub them on my skin instead of using chemical mosquito repellents (if you have skin allergies or sensitivity, I would not recommend this method).
The following plants are well known repellents for any home gardener to keep mosquitoes at bay:
Basil – Usually grown in many gardens, the lemon and lime varieties are my favorites.
Catnip – This useful herb is also a favorite of cats and makes a tasty herbal iced tea.
Citronella Grass – Although it has not been proven as a reliable repellent in its natural form, by crushing the leaves you can release the oils and let the scent permeate the air to deter mosquitoes. Citronella oil is also extracted from the leaves to produce essential oils for candles and sprays.
Lavender – A true world wide garden favorite, the oils from the flowers can deter mosquitoes and other insects. Crushing the flowers can release scent and can be rubbed moderately, directly on the skin. The flowers from lavender can also be used as a culinary and medicinal herb.
Lemon Balm – Another home garden favorite, this highly prized herb repels mosquitoes when the oil is released from the crushed leaves or extracted. It has numerous culinary benefits as well and is a favorite addition to any summer time iced beverage.
Lemon Grass – This herb can be difficult to grow from seeds but can be easily propagated from cuttings. The leaves carry the beneficial oils to deter mosquitoes and is also used quite extensively for it’s culinary and medicinal qualities.
Lemon Thyme – As a deterrent for mosquitoes or used for culinary or medicinal purposes, this spectacular herb is a summer favorite of my family. I typically place them in numerous containers throughout my garden.
Marigold – The Mexican and French varieties are extremely effective as deterrents for mosquitoes, aphid, white flies and bad nematodes. They also repel small mammals such as rabbits.
Rosemary – Very difficult to grow from seeds and has a long germination period, but can easily be propagated from cuttings. I usually dry the leaves and burn them to deter mosquitoes. This well known herb is also used for it’s phenomenal culinary and medicinal uses.
Sage- Can easily be grown from seeds and its crushed fresh leaves releases it’s oil to keep mosquitoes and other insects at bay such as cabbage moths, carrot flies and ticks. It can also repel mammals such as deer.