8 Plants That Repel Mosquitoes and Other Insects Naturally
How to Grow a Pest Repellent Herb Garden
Growing your own pest repellents is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy gardening, create beautyandhave a functional result that spares you from being the target of pests! This article will start you out on growing such a garden.
Look out for the specific qualities of herbs that repel insects.When selecting herbs, you should be looking for herbs that contain phenols, naphthalene, pyrethrum and citronella. All of these chemical components are replicated synthetically or derived naturally in quite a number of commercially available products that repel pests.
Select your herbs.The following herbs are good choices to begin with. Each herb shown here is accompanied by an explanation of its pest repellent qualities:
- Wormwood, southernwood [Artemisiasp.] - lovely silvery, bushy appearance that repels moths, intestinal worm, slugs, and flies.
- Rue [Ruta graveolens] - repels cats.It is also good for controlling fleas and Japanese beetle.
- Tanacetumgenus (pyrethrum, tansy, feverfew) - repels moths, flies, ants, mice, mosquitoes, cockroaches, mites and bedbugs. Tansy is a strong herb suitable for growing around doorways to act as an insect deterrence. Pyrethrum is great made into a spray. Feverfew (pictured) is a good insect repellent and is also used for treating insect bites.The fact that feverfew is usually pest-free says something positive about its pest abilities.
- Lavender - repels flies, silverfish fleas; add to sachets and hang in the wardrobe. Santolina (Cotton Lavender) has the strongest insect repellent properties and can be mixed with English lavender in sachets.
- Mint - repels flies, fleas, mice, rats and ants. Mountain mint rubbed on pants can deter chiggers and ticks.An endangered mint plant from Florida,Disceranda frutescens, has been found to be a very powerful insect repellent; try to grow some!
- Catnip - mosquitoes. It is even said that the essential oil in catnip, nepetalactone, is 10 times more effective than DEET!
- Thyme - deters insect pests and also helps with preventing musty odours; use in sachets, both flowers and leaves.
- Lemongrass - contains citronella - run the long grassy leaves and stalk on the skin to repel mosquitoes.
- Basil - fly and mosquito repellent; grow near outdoor eating areas.
- Sage - deters a variety of insects. Hang dried bundles in the house and at doorways.
Design your pest-repellent garden.Make a design that will ensure an attractive herbal arrangement in your garden, as well as easy access for harvesting. You may choose to deliberately design an herb garden space; or you may choose to plant the herbs here and there throughout your garden, as space and design wishes permit. Take care with mint - it is probably best planted in a pot to cure its tendency to spread across your garden. Planting in pots is also fine and is especially useful when you would like the move the plants to different areas of the garden. And don't forget the value of growing these herbs near your outdoor entertaining area - this will add extra punch to the work being done by your citronella candles!
Harvest and use.There are numerous ways to use the plants. These are just a few suggestions; it is likely you will come up with many more of your own:
- Harvest, dry and use in sachets for drawers, wardrobes, storage boxes etc.
- Harvest, dry and use hanging from curtain rods in the laundry, kitchen area or from clothes hanging rods.
- Keep live herbs growing in pots near doorways to discourage the entrance of pests such as flies and mice; plant mint near any areas of the house where you feel mice might be tempted to enter (and seal any holes!).
- Plant rue near a garden bed that you don't want cats messing about in; be careful though, as some plants do not tolerate the presence of rue (e.g., basil).
- Make water-based sprays - follow a suitable recipe.
QuestionHow can I rid my parsley of caterpillars?Aurora CENCommunity AnswerYou could try to cover the parsley with nets, or you could plant marigolds around the parsley, since bugs don't like marigolds.Thanks!
- Make use of the essential oils from many of these herbs as well, as part of a homemade insect repellent spray. Always read the contra-indications for essential oil before usage as some are unsuitable to be used around infants, children, immuno-suppressed persons and pregnant women. And some are not suitable in essential oil form but are safe as dried herbs. Do your research first!
Things You'll Need
Space in garden or pots
Sources and Citations
- iVillage Gardenweb,
- The Herb Gardener,
- Herbal Information Center,
- Herb Companion,
- Science News,Rare Mint Patch Makes Ideal Picnic Spot - Natural Insect Repellent from a Mint Plant
- Iowa State University,Catnip Drives Cats Wild but Drives Mosquitoes Away
- Annie's Remedy,
- Journey to Forever,
- Cheryl Dennett, Natural Insect Repellents - How to Use Herbs to Keep Bugs Away
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