With the weather warming up and the responsibilities of the school year fading into distant memory, there’s little better than putting your feet up to relax in the backyard or on the patio. That is, of course, if there aren’t mosquitoes buzzing around your head. The little blood-sucking pests have a funny way of ruining a nice afternoon or evening. Luckily, there are some plants that you can add to your garden that will help keep them away. Below, we have compiled a list of five plants for which you just might want to find a place in your backyard landscape.
Mosquito repellent plants
As humans, we generally enjoy the fragrance and taste of mint. A common flavor for breath fresheners and calming teas or a fresh garnish for summer cocktails, this plant is quite popular, especially in the summer. Conversely, mosquitoes are repulsed by the scent. When adding it to your garden, consider growing mint in some sort of pot or container, as it tends to spread aggressively. It is much easier to control when planted in a container.
Arguably the most visually appealing plant on this list of mosquito repellent plants is the marigold. Its bright colors liven up any garden and have a pleasant fragrance. Fortunately, mosquitoes aren’t fond of that fragrance. As an added bonus, marigolds planted in conjunction with other plants can spur the growth of those plants, making them valuable companion plants.
This plant may be familiar to you. A popular part of many recipes, Rosemary is an herb frequently used to flavor lamb, chicken, pork, and turkey. But like other items on this list that we humans enjoy, mosquitoes hate it. One essential element of outdoor summer fun is grilling out, which is often done around dinnertime or dusk. Unfortunately, this is also the time mosquitoes come out. Place a few rosemary sprigs on your grill as you cook. The scent will waft through your yard, adding a little flavor to your food while simultaneously keeping the mosquitoes away!
Lemongrass, as indicated by its name, has a lemony scent. The scent comes from the naturally-occurring citronella oil within. As we know from citronella candles and tiki torches, mosquitoes are deterred by the scent of citronella, making this plant a natural mosquito repellent. Lemongrass is a tropical plant that does not tolerate freezing temperatures. Plant it in areas that receive full sun for best results.
The last plant on this list, Wormwood, must be used with caution. Though its silver foliage can be an attractive choice for border plants, wormwood’s toxicity makes it very dangerous to ingest. Just as it is a poor companion to your digestive system, Wormwood does not bode well as a companion for edible plants, as it can inhibit their growth. The pungent scent of this plant will keep mosquitoes away, but the plant is not a good option for environments in which pets and children reside. Outside of the garden, Wormwood is a primary ingredient in absinthe. This green-colored liquor was banned in the United States early 1900s, thought to have hallucinogenic properties. The ban has since been lifted, and the incredibly strong spirit is now widely used in high-end cocktails, particularly apéritifs.
What else can I do to repel mosquitoes?
Mosquitoes can be incredibly persistent, and sometimes adding mosquito-repelling plants to your yard just isn’t enough. To keep mosquitoes at bay, try some of the following:
- Trim weeds and keep lawns short (approximately 3” in height) – mosquitoes like to rest on low-lying vegetation
- Eliminate sources of standing water (i.e. empty flower pots, pet water dishes, wheelbarrows) – mosquitoes lay eggs in stagnant water
- Keep your gutters clear – leaves and other objects that collect in gutters can allow water to collect in them as well
- Maintain clean water in birdbaths – water should be changed at least once a week
- Install a fountain in yard ponds – mosquitoes usually do not lay eggs in moving water
The most effective way to repel mosquitoes is to enlist the help of a pest control company to treat your yard for mosquitoes. We have sister companies all over the United States that can help protect you and your family against mosquitoes this summer. Get back to enjoying your yard with the help of the Rentokil Steritech pest experts in your area.
- West Coast Residents – Western Exterminator
- East Coast Residents – Ehrlich Pest Control
- Central United States Residents – Presto-X
For more information on gardening this summer, check out some of our other blogs!