With one of the worst West Nile outbreaks in history sweeping the country, many are nervously eyeing their lawns and gardens for ways they can reduce the chance of mosquito bites when in their yards, on their patios or elsewhere on their property.
While some of the smartest mosquito prevention techniques involve no landscaping – such as emptying any containers that are filled with standing water before mosquitoes have a chance to breed – there are some landscaping methods for mosquito avoidance, too. There are a number of plants you can install on your property to repel mosquitoes. This post on Garden Design has the scoop.
In a nutshell, the top six mosquito repelling plants are:
- Citronella grass. That’s right, citronella – just like you find in almost every mosquito repelling candle or spray – is an attractive, lemon-scented grass that can be strategically planted in your yard to protect you from bites. Because it doesn’t do well in frost, it’s recommended that you plant it in planters that can be moved indoors in winter.
- Catnip. AKA catmint, catnip has been found to be 10 times more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET, the controversial ingredient found in most heavy-duty repellent sprays. Catnip can take over, however, so you might consider containerizing it. Bonus: if you have a cat, he’ll love the constant supply of fresh ‘nip!
- Rosemary. Pulling double duty as a valuable culinary herb and a mosquito repellant, rosemary can grow into beautiful bushes that can be sculpted like topiary. Like citronella, you might consider planting it in containers to bring indoors in cold seasons. The good thing about that is you will have a supply of rosemary for cooking all year long!
- Basil. Another kitchen herb, basil can be planted in pots or directly in the ground. It requires quite a bit of water and a lot of sun, but you’ll be rewarded with a strong aroma that will ward off bugs while also being absolutely delicious in many recipes – especially summer salads.
- Lavender. Lavender is a beauty to behold, with its delicate purple flowers dotting tall stalks. Its fragrance is long-loved in aromatherapy for relaxation and better sleep. Grow some lavender to keep away mosquitoes and before winter, harvest the crop to turn into drawer sachets, eye pillows, bath soaks, and even teas.
- Scented geraniums. You can grow scented geraniums in colder climates in containers, though they may require a lot of pruning. A popular scent for mosquito repelling is lemon, similar to citronella.
Have you grown any of these plants to repel mosquitoes?