Believe it or not… there are plants that may help keep mosquitoes where they belong–far, far away from you. No chemicals required!(Note: the leaves of the following must be crushed to release the aroma. Otherwise mosquitoes can’t smell them):
- Horsemint has a scent similar to citronella and grows wild in most of the Eastern United States, from Mexico, Texas up to Minnesota to Vermont. It is partial to sandy soils and will grow in USDA Zones 5-10.
- Marigold is a sun-loving annual used by organic gardeners to keep aphids away.
- Ageratum contains coumarin. NOTE: don’t rub ageratum on your skin, though.
- Citronella Geranium (Also called mosquito plant) A genetically engineered geranium hybrid, easily grown as a potted plant. The jury is out on its mosquito repellent effectiveness. But, since it’s attractive, it can’t hurt.
- Agastache Cana is another form of mosquito plant. Its common names include Texas hummingbird mint, bubblegum mint, giant hyssop, or giant hummingbird mint. It’s usually hardy in USDA Zones 5a-9a.
- Catnip is one of the most powerful mosquito repellant plants. Recent studies have shown that it is ten times more effective than DEET at repelling mosquitoes. Crush a few leaves and rub on your skin and clothing to enhance the effect.
If you’re a gardener who disrupts swarms of mosquitoes every time you step foot into your garden, try incorporating some of these plants/herbs:
• Rosemary (crush this and rub on your skin for protection outside of the garden, too)
• Lemon Thyme
• Lavender (questionable)
• Penny royal garlic
Have a water garden? Bladderworts, carnivorous plants with small round bladders attached to their leaves, trap and then digest mosquito larvae and other tiny water critters. Weird!