As the weather warms up outside, we are not the only ones getting excited about the spring, so is our honorary state bird, the mosquito. There are several methods to deter these pests from crashing your outdoor party ranging from candles to repellent sprays, but we like to use plants!
Not only will plants offer a natural, chemical-free, safe way to repel mosquitos; they add color and fragrance to your outdoor space. Here are a few of our favorite insect repelling plants that will also thrive down here in South Louisiana.
With the exception of the hearty, but less fragrant Spanish Lavender, many varieties of lavender cannot withstand the wet soil, heat and humidity of South Louisiana. That is until the recent introduction of ‘Phenomenal’ which, according to Southern Living Magazine, is a version of the herb that can not only withstand the growing conditions here, it has fragrant flowers with a high concentration of oils making it perfect for deterring those uninvited buzzing guests from your yard. For tips on where to buy in the area or how to grow this strain, check out this post from Susan Langenhennig, NOLA.com.
This easy to grow little flower’s fragrance will keep the mosquitoes away and add touches of gold throughout your garden or landscape. Marigolds grow well with full sun in the ground or in pots. Plant multiple plants together to create a stronger scent barrier and place clusters near common entrance/exits and near the door to keep mosquitoes out of the house, too.
This low maintenance citrusy plant grows in grassy clumps that get between 2-4 feet high, prefer well-drained soil and at least 6 hours of full sun. Plant multiple citronella clumps along the side of the house or around the perimeter of the yard since its repelling powers work better in numbers. The lemony scented oil in the leaves is what mosquitoes detest most, so crush a few with your hands to release the smell for maximum repelling benefits.
Serving double duty, the smell of this herb growing will definitely repel mosquitoes plus you will have a wonderful supply of fresh basil on hand for all your favorite dishes. Wait until mid-March to avoid any chance of a frost and plant basil outdoors in pots with good drainage that get 6-8 hours of full sun per day. With so many varieties, try out a few types to find your favorite. We really like Sweet Basil because of its delicate flavor and ability to thrive in hot, sunny conditions.
This herb may drive your cats crazy, but mosquitoes hate it! In fact, according to FightBugs.com, research has shown catnip to be 10 times more effective than DEET at repelling mosquitoes. This plant can grow to about 3-4 feet and prefers full sun, and well-drained soil. Like citronella, catnip repels best when it is planted in groups and when the oils in leaves are released. Crush up a few leaves a sprinkle them on the ground close to you and your guests for maximum deterring of those pests.
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