We all hate the sticky feeling of bug spray. Those candles barely ever work. And with all this rain we’ve been seeing here in the south, mosquitos are out full force!
My alternative? Go herbal! There are several different types of plants that help to repel mosquitoes.
My backyard has random dips where rain water likes to collect, which creates the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. After getting bit 10+ times in less than 5 minutes just standing by my door, I decided to go on an impulsive trip to Lowes and dropped probably $50 on my own mosquito-repelling herb garden ($30 went just towards the planter box). The plants themselves cost about $3-6 per plant plus another $8 for the giant bag of potting soil (though I only used a couple cups of it). Within an hour, I had a growing mosquito repeller.
Citronella: You know the citronella ingredient in candles? That originally comes from a plant. A citronella plant to be exact (how original!). You can pluck a couple leaves and rub it on your skin to release the scent that deters those blood-sucking pests. Word of caution though: this plant can grow up to 5-6 feet, so if you don’t trim it frequently, it can grow out of control. After just a couple days, it seemed like my mosquito plant had already doubled in size. I now trim it every couple of weeks at the branch. The key is to keep it low and bushy. I toss the trimmings into my citronella candle tin to burn off later at my leisure.
Rosemary: That delicious herb that I overuse in a lot of my dishes (including the prime rib) also aids in keeping away mosquitoes. This was extra appealing, since it serves two purposes. This plant does not like sitting in too much water, so be careful of overwatering. You should only water it when the soil appears to be dry.
Peppermint: Another plant that can be used in cooking as well as mosquito-repelling. I noticed this one grows a little more viney than bushy, so they tend to flop over a lot. I’ve trimmed it down substantially, so it’s not sitting limp all the time. I added my trimmings to a chocolate almond milk ice cream concoction I attempted to make, and the mint taste came out quite well.
Apparently catnip is one of the most potent plants for repelling mosquitoes, but it wasn’t available at my local Lowes. A couple other handle plants include basil, lavender, geraniums (which look like citronella), and lemongrass. There are plenty more listed in the link under references, but these are the ones I believe to be most effective/dual-purpose. If you don’t feel like searching too hard, you’re left at the mercy of the selection at your local plant/home improvement store. Though I initially started this project solely for repelling mosquitoes, the herb garden/cooking aspect has become appealing to me, and I might begin to expand this hobby.