Sick of getting eaten alive while you try to relax outdoors? Sure, bug spray and candles work. But, who wants to inhale that stuff all the time? There’s a far better, more natural, alternative, to bombing your outdoor space with bug repellents.
Growing these 10 plants has numerous benefits, one of which is that they can help ward off mosquitos and keep the air smelling fresh and vibrant.
If you aren’t already growing this flavorful herb, you may want to consider starting! Though it’s delicious in Italian dishes, basil also acts as a mosquito repellent as the leaves let off a strong scent and oil from the plant is toxic to mosquito larvae.
Growing tip: Remove flowers as soon as they appear, so that the basil leaves you use to cook will continue to grow. Grow in full sun for best results.
- Lemon Balm
This plant smells strongly of lemon and helps to move along mosquitos, though be careful if you are trying to grow it at home, because it’s an invasive species.
Growing tip: Try planting this member of the mint family in a pot on your patio to keep it contained to one area.
The same chemical in this plant that causes cats to flip for a sniff — nepetalactone — also acts as a mosquito repellent. If you have cats, you may want to consider placing bamboo sticks every few inches around the plant to prevent your feline from rolling on or crushing it.
Growing tip: Catnip needs a lot of light, so make sure to grow it in open spaces.
Though humans tend to love this scent, it’s appalling to many pests. This makes it a great option for growing at your home. The lavandin (French) variety of this plant offers even higher concentrations of the chemical camphor, which acts as a mosquito repellent.
Growing tip: This plant likes lots of sun and moderately alkaline, low-fertility soil so try adding lime to your soil in place of a nutrient packed soil amendment.
- Citronella Grass
This grass is similar to lemongrass; however, it’s the source of the citronella oil used in many bug repellents. This plant prefers filtered sunlight, and can get burnt out in areas with intense light.
Growing tip: For max growth, water daily when growing indoors.
Another common herb, peppermint is not only great at repelling bugs, but can also be used in making tea, soaps or other scented household products.
Growing tip: This plant typically likes medium sun and well-drained soil.
One of Simon and Garfunkel’s favorite herbs, sage, can be plucked and tossed on a bonfire to help release a scent that will ward off many flying pests.
Growing tip: Don’t over fertilize this plant, as it will make the flavor less intense. Grow in medium to full sun in 6.0-7.0pH soil.
Similar to sage, this other seasoning staple has a woodsy scent that mosquitos tend to dislike. Rosemary can also thrive near beaches, as it is tolerant of salt spray.Growing Tip: This plant prefers the warmth; so try growing it in a pot indoors with good access to sunlight if you live in colder zones.
- Citronella Geranium
This particular variety of geranium produces a scent and oil much like the citronella oil used in many bug repellents, which is why it’s referred to by many as the mosquito plant.
Growing tip: This plant prefers warmth and lots of sunlight.
These colorful flowers contain pyrethrum, a chemical that naturally repels mosquitos, which makes them perfect for landscaping or a pop of color around your home.
Growing tip: One of the more versatile plants, marigolds are relatively easy to grow and aren’t too particular about soil or sunlight.
These mosquito repellent plants will keep the air in your backyard smelling fresh and clear of summer pests – all season long. Make sure you treat them right! Always follow proper potting tips, and don’t forget to use TrashCan’s food-waste-based fertilizer — the only organic fertilizer with food waste as the #1 ingredient.