Tip of the Week: Plant This to Repel Mosquitoes

What is the #1 plant you should grow in your garden and in pots on your patio or deck to keep the mosquitoes at bay all summer?

Answer: Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus).

Lemongrass contains citronella, a natural oil that repels mosquitoes. It is an ornamental grass that reaches 2 to 4 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide in one growing season. Typically grown as an annual. Hardy to Zone 10, where it is a perennial. It has fragrant narrow green leaves. Grow in average, well-drained soil and full sun. It tolerates some light shade. Makes a good container plant. Lemongrass is often used in Southeast Asian cuisine for its lemony flavor.

Other safe, eco-friendly ways to keep mosquitoes at bay:

  • Plant catnip, rosemary and pennyroyal. These herbs contain other oils that repel mosquitoes. Pennyroyal is also disliked by fleas and ticks.
  • Plant marigolds, which stave off a number of flying insects.
  • Create environments for mosquito predators, such as frogs, dragonflies, bats and birds (especially purple martins).
  • Mosquitoes lay eggs in stagnant water. Dump out the water that collects in the saucers of outdoor containers.
  • Replace water in birdbaths at least twice a week.
  • Fix outdoor water faucets that drip or leak.
  • If you keep your wheelbarrow and/or empty pots outside, place them upside down so that water doesn’t collect in them.
  • Mow the lawn regularly and keep weeds pulled or cut short.

Image by Hakcipta Yosri
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Read about other pest-blocking plants


Want more organic alternatives to chemical sprays? Check out: Natural Alternatives for You and Your HomeThe Organic Gardener’s Handbook of Natural Pest and Disease Control, and Organic Pest Control for Home & Garden

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