What plants repel mosquitoes? And is planting them enough? Or do I need to dry their leaves or do something else to them?
Christine Weiss, Bridgetown, Pennsylvania
It just so happens that I have an article that tells what kind of plants repel mosquitoes. You’ll see a description of seventeen plants that keep mosquitoes and other pests away.
You’re smart to realize that only planting them isn’t enough. In most cases, you’ll need to crush the leaves or apply their oils to your skin. It’s their odors that repel insects.
Instead of going through all the plants now, I’ll share only a few with you. They are easy enough to care for that you can grow them indoors or outside.
Melissa or lemon balm is an excellent deer repellent. Since it spreads like a weed, it’s best to keep it in a pot. Melissa is a member of the mint family, which leads us to the next two picks.
The second is mint, whether peppermint or spearmint. If you use mint essential oil, you’ll get the same results.
Next, catnip also fends off insects even as it lures cats. Additionally, it’s another plant in the mint family.
Now, if you have a kitchen herb garden, you’ll be glad to know that planting basil is probably the best way to keep mosquitoes away. So are sage and rosemary. But again, you’ll need to bruise their leaves and release their scent for them to be effective.
Finally, both pretty marigolds and lavender with its purple blossoms keep mosquitoes away. Be sure to use the right variety of marigold–ask at the garden center if you’re not sure. Also, lavender will continue to repel pests even if it’s picked and dried because it retains its fragrance.