Mrs. GGC here – raise your hand if you are sick and tired of getting eaten alive by pesky mosquitos every summer? I dread that first muggy night when the bloodthirsty bastards come out to play. Mr. GGC tries to act cute, joking about how they only come for me because I’m oh so sweet. Love you boo, but this is no joking matter! Mosquitos have ruined too many BBQs and outdoor parties for me, and its about time that we stop the madness. I hate bug spray — it stinks, its sticky and it rarely works. Citronella candles? HAH – what a joke. I could walk outside in a turtle neck, high socks and jeans, and I would STILL end up with bites all over me. What am I to do? Look to Mother Nature to help a girl out.
5 Mosquito Repellent Plants
I’ve read several articles that suggest planting citronella plants, or something called catnip (?) Though I’m sure that these are wonderful and powerful repellents, I would rather fill my garden with pretty flowers and herbs that I can use as both decoration and seasoning for those yummy BBQ dinners. I was also looking for plants that would be easy to find, easy on the wallet, and easy to grow in my small, townhouse garden. I’ve decided to go with the following plants…
- Lavender: Is there anything more beautiful than a lavender bush? Debatable. These gorgeous plants have a calming purple hue and tranquil scent – well, to people at least. Mosquitos, flies, fleas and several other pesky insects hate the smell of the lavender plant! If that isn’t enough to convince you, lavender is a perennial. Plant in a spot that receives plenty of sun and that allows room for growth. Also, make sure that the roots have proper drainage to avoid root rot. Dried lavender makes a wonderful addition to any home. Oh – and lavender attracts butterflies! Repels mosquitos, but attracts butterflies? I’m sold.
- Basil: I’m 100% Sicilian, so this one was a no brainer. Mr. GGC and I have been growing basil in our backyard for several years, and it never disappoints. When Sunday dinner rolls around, there is nothing better than adding some freshly picked basil to the sauce. If it was socially acceptable, I would rub basil on my wrists instead of spraying perfume. Mmmmmmmm. Anyway, why does basil repel mosquitos? Four not so simple words: estragole, citronellal, limonene and nerolidol. These are volatile compounds found in the basil plant that impact the sensors of several insects, impeding on their ability to target their “prey”. Delicious to the tastebuds, attractive to the nose, soothing to the touch and irritating to the bugs? Yes please.
- Marigolds: Beautiful, yellow annuals, the marigold contains the compound Pyrethrum which is commonly found in chemical-based insect repellents. Many gardeners suggest planting marigolds nearby your tomato plants to protect them. Marigolds are inexpensive and very easy to find. Plant them in a sunny spot and pick the dead buds off of their stems to promote future growth.
- Peppermint: I absolutely LOVE the smell (and taste) of peppermint. If I’m not adding it to my herbal tea, I’m crushing it up to make a summer cocktail. Or how about a peppermint, watermelon salad to cleanse the palate? YUM. Lucky for me, insects hate the smell of peppermint. Keep it nearby when hanging outside, or crush it up and rub some of the natural oil on your skin. Peppermint is both a natural insecticide as well as a remedy for itchy bug bites. Peppermint is easy to grow and simple to tend to, and it grows like CRAZY. Pick the leaves as needed.
- Rosemary: “Sageeeee, rosemary and thymeeeeee…” Does anyone else know this song? No? Okay. Rosemary, like citronella, is a natural mosquito repellent. The oils and the scent will keep them away from even the sweetest blood. I do not have a green thumb by any means, but I must say that rosemary has been very easy to grow in my experience. I think this weekend I will use my rosemary in my Sunday sauce AND whip up a DIY insect repellent. Two birds, one stone – boom baby.
I don’t know about you, but I have literally been itching the entire time I’ve spent writing this post! Thanks as always for reading, and remember to shoot us some likes on Facebook (The Going Green Couple) and Twitter (@goingreencouple), and to comment with your thoughts and questions below!
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