Felicia English with Rusty E. Allen, NHG Education and Outreach Coordinator This month, I joined…
A quick internet search for ‘mosquito plant’ reveals blog posts, articles, and Pinterest pins from all over the country praising plants that are said to repel mosquitoes if you plant them in your garden. It sounds so effective and easy. Have you been “itching” to try it?
What they don’t tell you is this:
The active ingredients are essential oils produced within the plant. In order for those essential oils to repel, they must be ‘released’ from the plant—via rubbing, crushing or other means.
The ‘mosquito plant’ most often cited is a type of geranium called ‘Citronella geranium’ or Pelargonium citrosum. In fact, many well-known garden plants including garlic, catnip, lavender, and lemon grass produce essential oils with repellent qualities, as well.
In order to reap the benefits of these oils, you can rub fresh leaves on your skin, or use them as a ‘strewing herb’ — an old medieval technique where branches and leaves of the herbs are laid on the floor and walked upon by guests, releasing the oils. Proceed with caution, however: with all things like this, it’s good to test a small bit before rubbing any oils on your skin to test for allergies.
Happily, we have much more convenient ways of harnessing the power of these oils. We carry many good plant-based products with oils that have been extracted and combined to produce very effective results. These include lotions, personal sprays and yard foggers.
There’s no reason to believe that simply planting plants or pots of plants in your garden will be effective against mosquitoes by itself.
The truth is that all the repellent quality comes from getting the oil out of the plant and into the air, and not simply growing the plant.
Mosquito Bits® and Dunks® prevent existing larvae from maturing into biting adults. For your patio and entertaining areas, consider the Skeeter Screen Reed Diffuser or Patio Egg both of which include a blend of these botanical oils. The Dynatrap uses UV light to lure in mosquitoes and other predatory insects. CO2 (irresistible to mosquitoes) is released, then the insects are lured to the powerful vacuum fan.
Skeeter Screen Products – The Patio Egg, Candle, and Reed Diffusers are locally made, and wonderful for use in entertaining areas where guests gather in the garden.
We are always happy to discuss natural mosquito solutions and help you enjoy being outside in the garden longer this summer. To see all these options and get more personal recommendations to protect yourself and your family, come in anytime to speak to our garden advisors.