Mosquitoes are a valuable source of food for animals that reside in your yard, but that doesn't stop them from being a nuisance and potential health risk for humans. The best solution for banishing mosquitos from your yard is to discourage their presence with sights and smells they find unpleasant. Citronella candles and wearing light colors are a good start, but take your mosquito mission a step further by growing certain plants that effectively repel your tiny backyard enemies.
Mosquitoes dislike the strong scent of this versatile vegetable. Although it may not be at the top of your list when choosing plants for your garden, you might want to reconsider. In the latter part of the garlic plant’s life, it flowers into a tiny bunch of lime green, pink, or white florets which appear in late spring or early summer. The plant’s shoots emit a strong scent, which keeps mosquitoes away.
These eye-catching balls of dramatic purple, blue, pink, or yellow flowers belong to the same family as garlic and onions. More than 700 varieties exist around the world. Alliums love sunlight and will grow in almost any soil. Plant bulbs in the fall and they’ll multiply naturally without fuss from one spring to the next. Seeds may take up to four years to flower, however. Not only do alliums deter mosquitoes, but they also ward off aphids, cabbage worms, and slugs.
Citronella is an oil found in lemongrass, a group of plants in the Cymbopogon family. Unless you live in Florida, chances are this plant isn’t a great choice to grow in your garden, but you can grow lemongrass in pots as an annual, in full sun, and bring it inside for the winter. Lemongrass serves double-duty as a natural mosquito repellant and a delicious culinary flavor-enhancer for your soups, salad dressings, and chicken or pork dishes.
While this herb may have a calming effect on humans, lavender is an excellent repellent for mosquitoes, moths, fleas, and flies. It isn’t just the flower that emits a fragrance, but the whole plant. The darker the flower, the more intense is its aroma and flavor. These plants don’t thrive in humid areas and work well in raised beds, containers, or as ground cover. Lavender is resistant to drought, wind, and heat. In warmer areas, plant in fall. In cooler areas, wait until spring or early summer.
Hummingbirds and butterflies love this easy-to-grow, flowering, broadleaf plant, but mosquitoes do not, according to studies. The vividly colored blooms almost look fluorescent. Lantanas prefer sunny locations and grow in varying soil conditions. They’re also a great container plant. Water new plants frequently until they are established. Then, water weekly or before the soil becomes completely dry. Lantanas are excellent border plants, reaching heights of six feet. Because they can spread out of control in certain geographical areas, some horticulturists label them as invasive plants.
Whether you plant them in the ground or pots on your patio, scented geraniums are excellent mosquito deterrents. However, they will not survive in cold climates where the winter temperatures dip below 20 degrees. Geraniums need warm, full-sun conditions, but certain varieties tolerate partial sun and cooler temperatures. Both the leaves and flowers of the scented geranium are edible. You’ll discover a range of scent varieties, including peppermint, orange, lemon, and lime, which are the most effective mosquito repellents.
The minty scent of this perennial keeps mosquitoes away. Available in dynamic shades of red, purple, and white, bee balm encourages visits from bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies to your garden. Dwarf varieties grow to about 12 inches high, while others reach a height of four feet. They prefer full sun, moist soil, and require removal of dead flower heads to encourage continued blossoms into the fall. Although powdery mildew is an issue for monarda, varieties such as “Claire Grace” and “Gardenview Scarlet” have a strong resistance to it.
This herb is a perennial evergreen shrub and a member of the mint family. Rosemary is a vigorous grower that requires regular pruning and management. It grows well in warm areas with moderate humidity and is a well-known mosquito repellent. It’s also a delicious seasoning for lamb, poultry, stews, and soups. Rosemary blooms with blue, pink, white, or lavender-colored flowers from late spring to early summer. Some varieties don’t bloom until November and December, however.
If you’re looking for the perfect blooms for a window flower box, look no further than the tufted, round, and flashy Ageratum or floss flower. These robust annuals are available in pink, white, or blue varieties and are one of the best choices for deterring mosquitoes. Plant them in sunny or lightly shaded areas for the most desirable results. Because they prefer warmer temperatures, fans of the flower say it is best to water them with slightly warm water instead of cold.
Petunias have a built-in insect repellent system that goes beyond mosquitoes. These heat-tolerant, sweet-fragranced flowers secrete a sticky material from their stems. Tiny hairs on the leaves and stems work with this material to deter predatory insects that like to feed on them. Name your favorite color and you’ll likely find a petunia bloom to match, from dainty pastels to exotic patterns and colors. Petunias enjoy full sun, but will also thrive in a partially shaded locale.
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