Favorite Mosquito-Repelling Plants
Nothing ruins a nice summer evening on the patio like having to slap at those pesky, biting mosquitoes. And while DEET-based bug repellents are effective, maybe you’re looking for a more natural – and better smelling – alternative, especially around kids. Fortunately, there are a few herbs and other plants that not only keep mosquitos at bay, they also smell heavenly too. Here, we’ll share some of our favorite mosquito-repelling plants to include around your patio space, and we’ll introduce a few great-smelling candles and other bug-repelling products inspired by these same plants.
Catnip is best known for its attractiveness to cats, but it has the opposite effect on mosquitos. A member of the mint family, catnip contains the fragrant compound nepetalactone, which researchers out of Iowa State University found to be ten times more effective at repelling mosquitos than DEET in lab studies. Other mints – like peppermint and spearmint – also ward them off. And unlike some other mosquito-repelling plants, you don’t need to crush the leaves to see the effects – mints work just by sitting there in a pot on your table. But, if you need to walk away, simply rub some of the foliage on your skin for a delightfully fragrant and effective personal repellent. Mints have attractive fuzzy foliage too, so they make beautiful additions to the container arrangements around your patio too.
Hard to believe, but there’s at least one creature that doesn’t appreciate lavender’s lovely floral scent – mosquitoes. Lavender’s repellent qualities come from linalool, a pleasantly scented terpenoid alcohol found in its essential oil. For the plant, this volatile oil protects it from foraging animals – rabbits rarely bother it – as well as destructive insects. For us, crushing the foliage and rubbing it on our skin deters our own annoying pests. As a bonus, lavender’s purple flowers and soft, grayish-green foliage are beautiful – and the well-documented calming effect of its scent may help us get a better night’s sleep too.
Another fragrant herb found to deter mosquitoes is Pelargonium citrosum, or the citrosa scented geranium. Often called the mosquito plant, this geranium species gives off a lemony, citronella scent, especially when the foliage is rustled and the leaves are crushed against the skin. P. citrosum also provides colorful, dainty flowers – although not in as great abundance as the popular zonal geranium usually planted in flower beds. The scented foliage, however, is very interesting with its maple leaf shape and fuzzy texture.
Inspired by Nature – Candles, Incense, and Balm
Of course, you may not have the space, proper light, or extra time to care for several new mosquito-repelling plants on your patio. No problem. Their essential oils can be found in other products – like candles, balms, and incense – that provide the same natural and pleasantly aromatic mosquito control as the plants themselves.
Don’t Let Them Ruin Your Night
Keeping mosquitoes away from your evening parties can be easy, natural, and smell amazing too using naturally pest-repelling plants and products that keep your time out on the patio enjoyable all summer long.