Whether you’re busy weeding or lounging in the garden, nothing disturbs the calm serenity faster than a pesky mosquito buzzing around your head. You can always cover up with long sleeves and a hat or apply insect repellent, but there may be another way. Have you ever thought of adding some mosquito-repelling plants to your garden?
Oils found in certain types of plants, especially herbs, are natural mosquito deterrents—lemon balm, peppermint, catnip, rosemary, garlic and thyme—all of these will help keep your garden mosquito-free. Here is a list of six popular plants that have been proven to repel mosquitoes.
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
Also known as horsemint, this hardy perennial repels mosquitoes by giving off a strong, incense-like odour, similar to citronella grass. The smell, however, does not deter bees and butterflies. Lemon balm is extremely aggressive—it’s fast growing, drought resistant and reseeds itself easily. Try containing it in a planter that can be moved to a seating area when you want some relief from pesky mosquitoes.
Marigolds (Tagetes spp.)
As a popular annual, marigolds are always found in flower beds and containers during the summer months, but their mosquito-repelling ability hasn’t been widely advertised. Many gardeners use them in the veggie garden to deter other insects, but as a mosquito repellent, marigolds are powerful. It’s not surprising since their distinct smell is unbearable to insects—and even some people.
Plant marigolds in containers as you normally would, but then place the containers anywhere in the garden where you want a mosquito-free zone.
Catnip (Nepeta cataria)
We all know that cats love catnip, but this perennial also has a quite a reputable history as a medicinal herb. One trait that this plant is less known for is its mosquito-repelling ability. The natural oil within the leaves has been proven to be ten times more effective than DEET at repelling mosquitoes. Plant catnip around your patio and deck, but remember while you’re repelling mosquitoes, you may be attracting a few of your feline neighbours.
photo by Anja Sonnenberg