Mother Nature may include bugs, but she also did a pretty great job giving us plenty of ways to keep them at bay. Here are five plants that offer protection against the summers most pesky pests, house flies and mosquitos, and how you can use them.
Lavender has been used for hundreds of years to add a softly sweet fragrance to wardrobes, bedsheets, and perfumes. Where its scent has been shown to relax people, mosquitos and flies are not a fan. Plant lavender in full sun, in well-draining soil, and near entryways and gathering points. If these areas in your home or on your patio are not conducive for a lavender plant, hang dried bunches outside when you are hosting or relaxing outside. Its dried version retains much of its beauty and scent.
Often used in Asian cooking, lemongrass grows to be a huge ball of sharp grass blades up to four feet tall. While its physical presence may ward off human interaction, it is its citronella scent that deters bugs. This tropical plant is an annual in all but the most southern areas, but it is worth planting each year for its fragrance, culinary uses, and aesthetic appeal. It loves full sun and rich, moist soil. Cut or tear the leaves to release its bright, lemony scent.
The great thing about mint, other than its mosquito-repelling qualities, is that it can grow just about anywhere. The not-so-great thing about mint is that if it can grow everywhere, it definitely will with gusto. Confine this plant to a pot to make the best of it; once it establishes in the ground, it will be difficult to remove completely. That said, this versatile plant will give you plenty of uses, from minty iced tea to mojitos to helping keep nearby plants bug-free.
This low-growing plant is highly adaptable and can grow in rocky borders just as happily as it will grow almost anywhere else, provided it gets watered regularly and gets at least four hours of dappled sunlight. To release its mosquito-repelling properties, first bruise a few thyme leaves and rub them on your forearm; some people have an adverse reaction to fresh thyme, so it’s always good to check your tolerance first. If you can get the Lemon Thyme variation, all the better.
Rosemary is the perfect addition to any garden, patio, or landscape. Not only does it repel unwanted bugs, but it’s also one of the only herbs that is an evergreen. While its flavor may dissipate in dormancy, its color and season appeal last all year long. Rosemary comes in several different varieties and can be pruned to a container or grown in hedges several feet high. In ideal conditions, it will even bloom with bright little purple flowers. Plant in abundance. You and your neighbors will no doubt find plenty of uses for its flavor, scent, and greenery.
Keep in mind; these plants won’t get rid of nuisance bugs completely. The essential oils created by these plants are simply not concentrated enough to do so. To increase their ability to help, plant them in abundance, and reap their additional rewards of being both beautiful and delicious.