As the summer heats up and we spend more days and evenings in the great outdoors, make sure bugs can’t find their way to your party. Here are a few essential garden plants (some perennials and many are easy to grow) that can help protect you and your family against mosquito bites and mosquito-borne illnesses, such as the Zika virus, dengue fever, West Nile virus and more.
Lemongrass (Produces citronella oil, the most common natural ingredient used for bug repellents)
Lemongrass has a pungent odor that camouflages attractants that navigate mosquitoes to you.
Marigolds (Repels mosquitoes and other insects with its distinct fragrance)
Marigolds have a distinct perfume that may help mask your scent and naturally repel mosquitoes and other insects.
Horsemint (Also known as Beebalm; repels mosquitos because its incense-like odor helps to camouflage us) Horsemint deters mosquitoes in a similar way to citronella – it has an incense-like odor that may help hide us, shielding us from bites.
Catnip (May be stronger than DEET, the most common chemical ingredient in bug repellents)
Some researchers think catnip acts as an irritant to insects like mosquitoes.
Basil (May help ward off mosquitoes and flies)
Any basil plant will keep mosquitoes at bay with its heavy scent (some even suggest rubbing basil leaves on your skin to protect yourself from bites) but expert gardeners recommend using the most fragrant forms of basil, such as lemon basil, cinnamon basil or Peruvian basil.
“6 Mosquito-Repellent Plants,” Christine Yoo, Garden Design Magazine, gardendesign.com, accessed on June 7, 2016.
“9 Plants That Bug Bugs – Including Mosquitoes,” USA Today, June 5, 2016.