As autumn comes around the weather invites people outdoors for fall festivals, fire pits and football. However, that isn’t the only thing that comes out in the cooler weather. Mosquitoes, those West Nile spreading nuisances, are a home owner’s worst nightmare. Whether you are looking for mosquito repellent relief for your outdoor kitchen space or for repellent on the run, here are some plants that mosquitoes hate.
One of the hardiest plants for gardeners is the marigold. But did you know that these yellow, gold, orange and red blossoms contain one of nature’s most powerful mosquito repellents? Pyrethrum is derived from marigolds and can be found in organic bug repellents that you find at the store. However, you can benefit from pyrethrum by strategically planting marigolds around your home in these areas:
- Add a pot of marigolds next to your entryway.
- Plant marigolds in window boxes outside of windows you typically open.
Keep in mind that marigolds may attract wasps and other stinging insects due to their brightly colored petals. As such, do not use potted marigolds as table centerpieces on your patio.
That plant so loved by felines, catnip is a powerful mosquito repelling plant. Iowa State University notes that catnip oil contains nepetalactone, which repels more mosquitoes than DEET according to ISU studies. Catnip is a hardy plant that is related to mint. It can be potted or planted in gardens. In order to use catnip as a mosquito repellent:
- Crush catnip leaves on your skin to release the nepetalactone.
- Make a tincture using catnip leaves and alcohol, such as vodka, to spray on your skin.
Avoid using catnip oil if you are around cats as these animals love the scent of catnip and will react accordingly.
A plant that contains citronellal, the compound that is similar to the well-known repellent citronella oil, is lemon balm. As it’s name suggests, lemon balm is a lemony scented plant. Some varieties, such as Quedlinburger Niederliegende, can contain as much as 38 percent citronellal. Plant lemon balm in a sunny window or near your doorway so that you can pluck a few leaves, rub them on your skin, and repel pesky mosquitoes in an instant.
There are many other plants that offer some mosquito repelling qualities including:
- Lime basil
- Stone root
- Lemon thyme
- Fever tea
When searching for plants to add to your indoor or outdoor space in order to repel mosquitoes, consider whether or not these plants will coexist with your existing plants. Additionally, determine whether or not your soon-to-be mosquito repellents are perennial, annual or biennial plant. This will help you to maintain a mosquito-free space year round. Ways to increase the longevity of your mosquito repelling plants include:
- Dry the leaves to use for sachets to be tied around your ankles or wrists.
- Soak plants in rubbing alcohol or vodka to make tinctures to use in lotions or creams.
Here at Bur-Han we have experience in working with mosquito repelling plants. We can help you find just the right plant for your space, environment and needs. Contact us today for more information!