Prepare For Spring with Plants that Deter Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are a real problem in many areas in the U.S., with the concerns that come from disease transmission. In the warm months of the year we have to include ways to keep them away from us when planning outdoor activities of any kind. There are some things that can be done to help decrease their numbers, such as keeping puddles of stagnant water to a minimum. Unfortunately with many areas in the U.S. comes water, rivers, lakes, streams and plenty of puddles from the rains.

What if there were easy to care for plants that acted as a deterrent to mosquitoes? Well there are! Five plants that could be grown almost anywhere. 

  1. Citronella; so why does that sound familiar? It is what is used in those candles and torches that are placed around gatherings to discourage the mosquitoes from joining the party! But the most effective way to use citronella is in plant form; it has a stronger odor and is fairly easy to grow and care for. It is a clumping looking grass plant that will grow to 6 feet tall. It is best to plant in the back of flower beds but can also be grown in large pots that are easily placed on patios and by doors. They do best in full sun with good drainage!
  1. Horsemint, known also as Beebalm. This plant works like the citronella in that it gives off a strong odor that will confuse the mosquitoes! This plant does well in dry, sandy dirt and tolerates salty conditions, making it great for around beach areas! Midwest and Eastern grow zones are the best for this plant.
  1. Marigolds are often used as ornamentals in gardens as border plants. They have a distinct smell that is not really pleasant, which is probably why the mosquitoes do not like it either! They like the sweet smells of humans, perfumes, soaps and sweet foods! One of the ingredients in marigolds is Pyrethrum which is used in many of the insect repellants used today.
  1. Ageratum aka Flossflowers gives off a smell that mosquitoes find to be disgusting! This plant contains coumarin which is a chemical that is used in commercial mosquito repellants. This is an ornamental annual, 8 to 18 inches tall with normally blue flowers, however there are some varieties with pink, white and lavender blooms. It does well in rock gardens, in full to partial sun and the soil need not be rich.
  1. Catnip! Who would think? According to the entomologists at Iowa State University, catnip is ten times more effective than DEET which is the chemical found in commercial repellants. Catnip is easy to grow pretty much anywhere in the U.S. One thing to keep in mind is you may be keeping away the mosquitoes but inviting the kitties that live close by!

So now would be a good time to plan your garden for the upcoming spring.  If your neighborhood is a mosquito magnet, then consider some of these plants for around your home or business!