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Mosquito Repellent Plants

22 years ago

I read that "I'd Know I'm a SE Coastal Gardener If..." I knew about mosquito repellent plants! Please tell more. I need all the help I can get to help keep the mosquitoes away!

I am putting in a small flower bed behind our townhouse, and it gets pretty full sun during the day. I want to put out something that climbs, a flowering vine, possibly allamanda or mandevilla. Any suggestions for the rest of the bed, with keeping away mosquitoes in mind?

Comments (31)

  • Nicole_in_nc
    22 years ago

    Oh my.... well I find them at all of the local garden centers! (walm*rt, HD, L*wes)

    But much to my dismay, I found this article:

    Mosquito plant  The citronella, or mosquito plant, is a scented geranium related to the common garden geranium. Some catalogs claim that if you grow it on your deck, itÂll repel mosquitos. Citronella plant does contain citronella oil,
    which is used in mosquito-repelling candles. It wonÂt hurt to have one on your patio, but no plant will keep the little buggers away just by growing in the garden. It only releases oils when its leaves are crushed.

    Has anybody had any success with bug repellant plants?

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    Here is a site about natural mosquito controls. It's opened to an article about whether 'mosquito plants' work. Since mosquitoes are attracted by exhaled carbon dioxide anything that masks that scent is an effective repellent. The problem with mosquito repelling plants is that to be truly effective the leaves need to be crushed to release the repellent oils they contain. When mosquito populations are high I spray a product containing lemon grass oil around the back door, and under patio furniture and bushes where they might hide. It's said to kill on contact, but mostly serves as a reliable repellent for me. Hot Shot Natural is one such product. Welcome to Texas! ... :-)
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  • vixen281_yahoo_com
    22 years ago

    Regular geranium repels as does marigolds and I would not swear to it but some herbs such as basil may also . . the search goes on.

  • sadie_pensacola_com
    22 years ago

    I have some scented geranium "Citronella" plants, lemon thyme, lemon basil, lemon grass, etc. but while they smell great, I still have mosquitoes. Actually the best thing I've found is mosquito "dunks". They can be put in any wet places including bird baths without hurting anything except mosquitoes. That's what the package says anyway. They really work on mosquitoe larvae. They have (or are?) something called bt. It's a long name and I can't find the label to spell it correctly. I ordered mine on line from a garden supply company. And I've seen them in garden supply catalogs. Our little dog had heart worms and I desperately wanted to control the mosquitoes. Bt can be put in water plants grow in as well. Call your County Extension Agent's office if you have any questions. It doesn't seem to hurt anything else. I live on an island on the Gulf Coast so we have lots of standing water and lots of mosquitoes.

    Hope this helps you.

  • aileen
    22 years ago

    I always heard that having camphor trees in the yard would cut down on the population. They didn't like the odor and would go elsewhere. My aunt had a whole row of them, and it did seem that when you were by them that you didn't see the mosquitos, but walk a few feet away and they gotcha but good!!!

  • Dorie_SC_8b
    22 years ago

    Actually, there is quite a bit of misinformation out there about the so-called 'citronella plant'. The scented geranium has been given that name by very saavy promoters! It merely smells like citronella, and does not have the actual essential citronella oil in it. Those geraniums are pretty remarkable at imitation, aren't they? Mint geraniums do not have mint oil, chocolate geraniums do not have cocoa, lemon geraniums do not have citrus oils...and citronella geraniums do not have real citronella oils.

    The real citronella plant is a one of two grasses of the Cymbopogon genus. I can't remember the two species. I am not talking about lemon grass, either. The oil citronellal is what is repellant to many insects.

    Some people say that the natives used wax myrtle as an insect repellant, and that the early settlers did, too.

    The mosquito dunks are a biological control agent, Bt for Bacillus thurengiensis. Every community should be using this for mosquito control.

  • ahmelody_aol_com
    22 years ago

    Crushed lemon thyme (Thymus X citriodorus) has 62 percent of the repellancy of DEET, an ingredient used in insect repellants. Keep in mind though that no plant will repel mosquitoes unless their oils are released. The best way to take advantage of mosquito protection is to rub some leaves on your skin but make sure you are not allergic first.

    Crushed citrosa leaves also offer some protection - they have 30 to 40 percent of the repellency of DEET.

    Some say Agastache cana will repel mosquitoes. I grow a variety called anise hyssop (A. foeniculum) which has anise-scented flowers that butterflies, bees and hummingbirds just love. This variety bears spiked violet-blue flowers and grows to about 3 feet tall. The foliage makes wonderful tea and I have a cookie recipe using the flowers that I really love.

    The Annals of Internal Medicine (June 98) reports that plants whose essential oils have been reported to have repellent activity include citronella, cedar, verbena, pennyroyal, geranium, lavender, pine, cinnamon, rosemary, basil, thyme, allspice, garlic, and peppermint. Unlike synthetic insect repellents, plant-derived repellents have been relatively poorly studied. When tested, most of these essential oils tended to give short-lasting protection, usually less than 2 hours.

  • Weedwonders
    22 years ago

    Don't know about plants but try rubbing your skin with fabric softener sheets you use in dryer - Snuggle was brand recommended.

  • purplegal
    21 years ago

    Welp.. better late than never... I was advised to plant a Grey Santiolina plant in the garden to rid of the pests. I have had pretty good luck with the plant and keep one on my picnic area as well. Its scent is not the best, maybe that is why a bug would fly away!. They are also good for flower drying as well. I have not tried that yet.. :)

  • ajab124
    21 years ago

    I don't live in the southeast,but the mosquito could be Wisconsin's state bird! I have heard that growing catnip keep the skeeters at bay! I hope it is true,coz I am gonna grow some if it is!

  • hippietoad
    21 years ago

    Ever heard of Lemon Grass ??? It's great for repelling
    mosquitos. Plant it by a door or patio to keep
    them at bay :)

  • joleen
    21 years ago

    We recently have the impression that if you put some flowers of the Oleander in a vase in your near surroundings the mosquitos stay away. They also smell great. As it is a very poisonous plant I am not sure yet if it is very healthy to inhale that lovely smell all the time yourself.We live on an island in the Caribbean. Always lots and lots of mosquitos.

  • lynnann50
    19 years ago

    Hi there all...I have a new wonderful product in my garden center here in Nordern Wisconsin that is made from cedar oil and juniper oil...I put it on my German Shepards and spray around the grass when we eat out at the picnic table...I've even sprayed it on myself...(although they don't say it's used on humans...) and had fabulous results...and ey...they are bigger than chickens up here...and I don't get a and peace...lynnann

  • LeeAnn
    19 years ago

    I'm desperate to get some mosquito-relief here in Southern Wisconsin too. I have some lovely hostas growing near my front door and I think I'll have to get rid of them since the buggers swarm out in droves as soon as I approach the door.

    I'm definitely going to try some of the recommendations here as replacements, but does anyone have suggestions on non-chemically taming the beasties before I dig up the hostas? I can just imagine how they'd go crazy if I start digging around down there... (Makes me itch just thinking about it!)

  • LeeAnn
    19 years ago

    ps - Oleanders are poisonous when the sap is ingested or when burned and the fumes inhaled, but not when the pollen is inhaled. They grow like crazy in hot, dry climates. If they repel mosquitos, all the better!

  • APRIL_823
    19 years ago

    My mom told me society garlic repels mosquitos.


  • hurricain
    16 years ago

    Mosquito Plant
    The Mosquito Plant is a genetically engineered geranium hybrid with a unique characteristic: it repels mosquitoes! It is easily grown as a potted patio plant, and easily enjoyed for its attractive foliage and sweet lemony scent, as well as for its mosquito repelling powers. It produces a leafy, attractive, foot-tall plant during its first season.

    The Mosquito Plant was created by a Dutch botanist, who genetically incorporated traits of the Chinese citronella grass into a scented African geranium. The resulting cultivar still had the growth and habit of the geranium, and its sweet lemony citronella scent. Citronella is the substance in citronella candles, which have long been used to deter mosquitoes. It doesn?t harm them, but they don?t like citronella and avoid it. It is most effective as a repellent if you crush a few leaves and rub them on your skin. This releases the citronella and a sweet perfume.

    Like most geraniums, the Mosquito Plant is normally potted and grown outdoors during the warm season (after last and before first frosts). During the colder seasons the plants can be wintered-over indoors. In the warmer southern zones Mosquito Plants can be grown outdoors year-round where the plants can reach a mature size of 3 to 4 feet high and wide.

    Planting and Care: New plants can be potted in a 4-inch or larger pot. Or they can be grouped in a patio planter spaced a foot apart. Use any potting soil recommended for geraniums. Keep watered and occasionally feed with a soluble plant food, as you would any potted plant. Mosquito Plants like full sun, but do well in partial shade. In the fall, you can move the plants indoors to enjoy as houseplants, or winter them over with your other geraniums in a heated garage, near a window or under grow lights.

    During the summer, put potted plants on patio tables and near lounges to keep mosquitoes at bay. For even more protection, crush and rub the leaves on your skin for a sweet, natural perfume that bugs mosquitoes.

  • mike08
    15 years ago

    Two or more full bulbs of garlic smashed flat with your coffee mug; peel and put into a screw top gallon jug. Add 1/2 cup of minced garlic, then fill with water. Keep at room temp. for two days. I use a 2 1/2 gallon sprayer; with 2 cups of the juice strained through a cloth, 1 cup of vegtable oil, and 3 tbls. of liquid soap; then fill with water to the line. Shake well, pump; then spray wherever you want. This will kill them dead and work atleast till the rain comes. The soap helps it stick to their wings and other surfaces. I also use 1/2 cup pine cleaner, 2tbls of liquid soap in a quart garden spray bottle; then fill with water. Shake and spray. The only thing that it won't kill in 30 seconds is hard shell beetles. I use ground cinnamon powder to kill fire ants. Kick back the top and sprinkle the whole mound with 25 cents of cinnamon. Keep adding water and minced garlic to the jug to keep it filled and smelly. These really work very well, and are earth freindly.

  • djbmomofthree
    15 years ago

    In our humid North Carolina yard, I planted citrosa (geranium) plants and marigolds around our trampoline, in hanging baskets by the swing set and on the deck. I planted lemongrass along the back fence. I had planter boxes on the deck with lemon balm....
    The Mosquitoes stayed away and my kids had 2 great summers (we moved) without bites... When they ran into the other side of the yard or the neighbor's yard - they were almost swarmed and always bit.... oh yeah I also kept cedar pet bedding under the trampoline.

    These plants weren't expensive and I'm not an avid gardener - I didn't work really hard in the garden. I planted these so I wouldn't have to spray my kids everyday.
    Good Luck!

  • wodka
    15 years ago

    Mosquitoes and other insects have been terrible this year at our new house. So, I think I am happy to report that we have a bat who has taken up residence each night on our back porch ceiling corner. The first night I saw him, it scared me and I got the broom to swoosh him away. Then realized he could help me out with eating those darn mosquitoes. Although it creeps me out to see his brown furry little body all curled up, as long as he doesn't bother me and is gone by morning, I'm okay with it. Should I be concerned and evict him?

  • katy22
    15 years ago

    Hi, there. there is allot of marketing for so called mosquito repellent plants. there are two types you will come across. often a geranium will be passed off as a citronella plant when it is only bred to smell like one. the geranium contains on citronella oil therefor it is useless at keeping away insect pests. the true citronella plant is a grass related to lemon grass, this is the kind bugs don't like. citronella oil can be used in soaps and candles.
    you can put citronella oil in some warm water and wash your walls with it to keep spiders and other pests from hangen around (spiders have taste receptors on their feet) (spot testing your walls first is always a good idea)
    hope this was helpful!


    more info:

  • riskable
    15 years ago

    The best way to control mosquitoes isn't with plants (sorry). You do it simply by making your yard as inhospitable a place for mosquitoes as possible. Think of your yard like a war front where the mosquitoes are enemy invaders.

    As Supreme Yard Commander you have many tools at your disposal to defend your territory from these blood-sucking monsters hell-bent on making sure you can't enjoy your yard...

    1) Chemical weapons (mosquito traps).
    2) Biological weapons (predators).
    3) Destructive force (smack!).

    In my own experience on this war front I've found the following strategies to be most effective at very little cost (and they're also very environmentally friendly =):

    A) The enemy of your enemy is your friend. Invite bats, amphibians, and reptiles over for an extended stay in your yard by giving them plenty of places to live and hide from their own predators...

    * Make a log pile (or two, or three!)
    * Instead of throwing out old fencing or wood scraps, lean some of it against the new fencing or against a tree.
    * Put up a bat house.
    * Keep your local bird population fat & happy so they don't resort to eating your precious lizards: Plant Wax Myrtle in your yard (Myrtle berries are like crack to birds. Note: This is also a good way to keep birds off of your fruit trees and berry shrubs =). I personally believe this is why all the fruit and berries at the Jacksonville Zoo are all but untouched by the birds all year long: They have Wax Myrtle *everywhere* and I always see a bird or two feasting on the berries.

    B) Get rid of standing water. Anything that can hold rain and sprinkler water must be removed or remediated (put them somewherre they won't get wet).

    C) Don't use any chemicals on your lawn or garden that are known to cause problems for amphibians. This one is hard--you'll have to check up on each and every chemical you're using to make sure that it isn't known to cause things like gender changes in frogs (and fish). Some weed killers are really bad for this.

    Remember: Anything that can mess up the ecosystem in your nearby waterways is likely to create mosquito problems. Mosquito larvae are just peachy growing up in polluted waterways. Their predators on the other hand... not so much.

    "There's a difference between making a change and making a difference."

  • saultic
    14 years ago

    american beautyberry leaves crushed up and rubbed on and then put some in your pockets and socks really well..i make crowns out of it for my kids when we go in to the woods..great thread btw thanks for all the info you all :)

  • panos1974
    13 years ago


  • gw_c_comcast_net
    12 years ago

    Buy some "OFF" with deet and have a happy gardening experience

  • aoekesiobi_gmail_com
    12 years ago

    i would like to see pictures of these plants to see if they are same with some local plants we use to repel mosquito. A catalogue and identification will also help me the plants in Nigeria

  • jennynashville
    11 years ago

    Mosquitoes have been carrying on the most one-sided, aggressive love affair with me my entire life. Living in Nashville, my body got so used to them that the bumps would go away within an hour, especially if I washed them with soap right away. Then I moved to New Orleans, and the bites were actually different. The bumps stayed sometimes for up to a week, and my body actually had to adapt to the unholy mosquitoes down here. It was super itchy for a while there - I'd be interested in knowing more about why that happened - different brand of mosquito?

    If I don't take precautions, I usually get bit about 20 times in 5 minutes (not exaggerating!), and though this doesn't answer the plant question, I've found two things that work especially well (after tons of trial and error).

    1. OFF's "Deep Woods" bug spray, applied liberally and often. I have tried every kind of bug spray available in stores, and that one works best. The natural ones and the chemically ones that try not to smell like bug spray especially don't work for me, which is a shame, because I hate feeling like I'm constantly covering myself in toxic stuff.

    2. I've recently started using Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Body Wash in the shower. Hippie stuff, sure, but the mosquitoes seem to be biting less when I go out unprotected by OFF. It really leaves the skin a lot drier than other soaps with all kinds of lotiony additive things in them, but that doesn't matter much once I'm out working in the humid yard.

  • metqa
    9 years ago

    People keep saying that the scented geranium "citronella plant" does not ward off mosquitoes, but from personal experience I see that it does. It does NOT keep mosquitoes away simply by growing, but only when the leaves are brushed or crushed. My cat attracts swarms of mosquitoes around her ears and rear, the only exposed skin and I see her swishing and flicking like crazy while trying to enjoy the yard. If I brush the buggers away, they are back in just a few seconds trying to suck the life out of my cat. I take a few dead leaves of the geranium and crush them in my hand, or rub a few healthy robust leaves ( I don't want to damage them) in my hands and then I rub down the cats face, ears and neck, then down her whole back and her tail and haunches. By the time I've disposed of the dead leaves and look back the mosquitoes are no longer bothering her and a few minutes later she is still mosquito free. I don't know how long it lasts, but I've done the same for my hands and arms when I couldn't find my bug spray and have been unbothered for at least half an hour. I'd like to have a lot of these plants around to brush against and rub against when I'm outside. Just a vigorous brushing with the hand would be enough to make even the leavea release the scent, and it does work that way.

  • greenman62
    9 years ago

    im in new orleans also
    i cant go outdoors in my yard without getting bit 2-3 times at least in just a few minutes

    dont go out at dawn or dusk
    (even though its cooler)
    wear long pants etc...
    i will spray deep woods off on my cloths next to the bare skin, since i hate spraying that stuff on me everyday.

  • bogueman
    9 years ago

    I bought a house with open water cisterns that have proved to be a mosquito breeding ground. I am using mosquito dunks but that gets expensive for 4 cisterns. I have seen plants grown in some open water and wondered if there are some that would naturally repel mosquitoes. Does anyone know of anything like this?

  • greenman62
    6 years ago

    so i posted on this thread 3 years ago

    and its back alive :)

    Well, my mosquito problem is much less than it was.

    i did get lemon grass, but, i really think the thing that slowed them down was Permaculture.

    I am growing literally several dozen species of plants. i have lots of hiding places for insects, lizards, and , damn near anything smaller than an elephant.

    i really thinki its the diversity that brings in lots of different types of insects... and whenever you have that situation, no one insect can rule, because once the numbers start to build, the numbers of the predators go up also.

    also, if you leave water out, do it in a controlled manner.

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