Mosquitoes are one of nature’s worst products. Noisy to the point of disrupting your sleep, disease spreading, blood-sucking vermin that leave infuriatingly itchy marks on your skin after they are done with their feeding frenzy.
There is a whole array of modern methods to deal with these pests: window, bed and door nets, sprays, special kinds of lights, electric traps…but what if you could find a more practical, natural solution to repel mosquitoes?
It seems that solution was under our noses the whole time, free of charge – the perennial plants.
Repel Mosquitos with Perennials
We already know that the reason mosquitoes attack animals, along with humans, is due to specific odors that the mammal skin emits. And the more you are active, the more odor your skin emits, attracting more mosquitoes.
Therefore, perennial plants can serve as a natural anti-mosquito measure, because they emit scents that disrupt and mask your natural scent, thus repelling mosquitoes.
Unfortunately, in order to be really effective as mosquito repellants, the aroma from these perennial plants has to be in your immediate vicinity, or even better – directly applied to your skin – from crushed herb leaves, so that all their essential oils can become an effective barrier not just against mosquitoes, but other annoying insects as well: flies, moths, fleas…
Still, that is still a superior solution to dependence on getting chemicals on your skin on a regular basis. Here are some of them that are likely already in your garden. Remember, a perennial plant is one that lives for at least two years, while annual plants live for only one season.
What better perennial plant to start with than the Citrosum, also known as the Mosquito Plant.
Obviously, people called it that for a reason. Although some studies suggest that it might not be as effective as it its moniker suggests for mosquito repelling, it’s still worthwhile to try out.
Naturally, the application is the key, as it would not be prudent to just rely on these plants to be in the near vicinity. For best results, it would be most efficient to crush its leaves and rub them on your exposed skin.
Catnip is another perennial that is very easy to grow, and it actually provides a dual purpose. Catnip contains a specific chemical – nepetalactone – which serves as a powerful cat attractant and an insect repellant.
So, if you find yourself in a situation where you have both mammal and insect pests – mice/rats and mosquitos – then catnip would be your go-to perfect natural solution. It comes from the mint family of plants, so its scent is very pleasing.
However, if you don’t want to attract cats, because you have dogs, or birdhouses around, then it would be wise to skip nurturing catnips around your house, and move on to other plants instead.
Lavender is so exceptionally fragrant that it has become a staple for many products: creams, perfumes, deodorants, shampoos…
Furthermore, lavender is one of the most robust perennial plants you can find – living up to 15 years – and much more if you take proper measures in terms of pruning, soil preparation, drainage, and other standard techniques for plant maintenance.
Without a doubt, you would enrich your garden by adding lavender to it, even without considering the mosquito repellant properties, but for the best results for that specific purpose it would be most effective to rub the lavender leaves onto your skin, so it absorbs all the insect-repelling oils.
Best known for its wide-spread application in toothpaste and candy, peppermint is also known as a brutal larvacidal agent, and an effective mosquito repellant. Exactly what you need to deal with these flying, disease-transmitting bloodsuckers.
In fact, studies have shown that only 3 ml of extracted peppermint oil per m² of water surface area will result in 100% mortality for common mosquitoes.
It goes without saying that when applied to your skin, this sturdy perennial plant will function as an effective shield against mosquitoes.
Bear in mind though that the peppermint is from the family of mint perennials: spearmint, sweet mint, peppermint, and chocolate mint. Peppermint is one to pick as your seedling.
Peppermint is also exceedingly easy to grow. From a couple of planted seeds, it will spread fast and grow fast, so make sure to give them enough room for expansion. They will become your most stalwart allies against mosquito attacks!
If you live in a milder climate, and don’t want to rely on the citronella candles in stores, then the Lemongrass will be your safe bet for the mosquito problem.
Lemongrass, like Citrosum, contains citronella – a natural oil and insect repellent – heavily used in all kinds of products, which you can find in stores specialized in natural derivatives.
Although lemongrass thrives in warmer climates, it doesn’t die during the winter; it simply goes dormant. With that being said, you can count on it to be a hardy perennial only if you live closer to the south – Florida, Texas, California, etc. Otherwise, you will need to grow it as an annual, if grown outside.
With Lemongrass you don’t have to limit yourself to its anti-mosquito repelling properties. Its fragrancy and compact, slim leaves are highly valued in a variety of dishes: pork, chicken, soups, salad dressings…If you are a fan of Asian cuisine alone, you will find that Lemongrass is a vital ingredient for many of their recipes.
Thyme’s toxic scent makes it a natural insecticide, so it is widely used as a protector of other plants as well. If you have trouble with insects that attack your painstakingly nurtured plants like roses, and similar blooming perennials, the unassuming Thyme would be an excellent addition to your garden.
Thyme will require more work than other perennials, so it would be best if you buy it as a grown plant. Also, it is recommended that you cut it regularly in order to keep its shoots tender and harvestable for future use.
In addition to serving as an effective mosquito repellent, Thyme is also used for medicinal and culinary uses. It is very rich in vitamins C and A, and it alleviates symptoms for a wide variety of health upsets, like diarrhea, stomach ache, colic, sore throat, and even flatulence.