Are you tired of buying synthetic mosquito repellent to get rid of such tiny irritating bugs? Then do not worry, here is the natural solution. Yes, mosquito repellent plants and herbs are those trees that increase the beauty of our garden and act as anti-mosquito agents by its aroma and the chemicals they emit.
Previously, if you are using mosquito repellent sprays, you must know how harmful they are for your health and the environment. Those synthetic anti-insect sprays contain DEET-N, N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide, a harsh chemical with an awful smell, not easier to tolerate around. Therefore, here, we will discuss the top mosquito repellent plants you must have in your garden.
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Why Do We Need Mosquito Repellent?
Before beginning with the best mosquito repellent plants and herbs, let us discuss why we should want a mosquito repellent. Well, the mosquito is a carrier for several pathogenic diseases like malaria, yellow fever, zika, dengue, chikungunya, and even Rift valley disease.
In each public health care sector, huge posters are available to spread awareness of the danger of diseases caused by mosquitoes such as Anopheles, Aedes, Culex causing malaria, yellow fever, and filaria, respectively.
In open water, mosquitoes lay their eggs, so anything from a puddle to a pond can become a breeding ground. Additionally, polluted water contains bacteria and other contaminants that can make mosquito-borne diseases even more dangerous.
*Do you know only female mosquitoes are the carrier for diseases, not male. Yes, the female mosquitoes feed on human blood for nurturing their eggs as it keeps them warm. Do you wonder about the male one? They feed on plant nectar; in fact, both male and female feed on nectar, but only during the time of egg-laying the female mosquito sucks human blood.
How They Find Humans? Female mosquitoes have a natural olfactory sensing capacity, which detects the smell of sweat, the body heat and carbon dioxide we breathe out.
Not only the above said diseases, but various parasitic organisms also make mosquitoes as their secondary host or vector for spreading deadly infections.
In addition to diseases, mosquitoes, or any other insect bites are not pleasant. The red itchy bites and their buzz are annoying. Therefore, we need a natural mosquito repellent or anti-mosquito agent, which keeps them away from our living place.
Top Mosquito Repellent Plants That Keep Mosquitoes Away
The good news is that we have some remarkable plants which naturally repel mosquitoes. Some work just by keeping them in your garden and some help in the form of essential oils to keep these awful small pesky bugs away. So, let us explore them.
Marigold is an annual flower that is quite common in Indian gardens because of its daily life effectiveness. Scientifically it is called Tagetes and has lots of varieties of species.
But Do Marigolds Repel Mosquitoes?
This is natural and safe to use as a potted plant near your living area or only as a plant in your garden bed. Marigold’s beautiful yellow or orange colour attracts humans or animals and tends to remove unwanted pests or insects like a mosquito.
Marigold emits a chemical, namely Pyrethrin, which is volatile and irresistible for mosquitoes and thus acts as a natural insecticide. Such plants require well-drained soil with full sun to bloom naturally.
Not only mosquitoes, but it also acts as an insect-blocking agent for all kinds of insects and thus helps you to live securely. Marigold has a pigment, namely Terthienyl (antifungal, insecticidal and nematicidal properties) abundant in its roots.
Besides acting as an anti-mosquito or anti-pest agent, marigold also has medicinal properties that help in healing wounds instantly and act as a natural antioxidant, antiseptic, and an anti-inflammatory agent.
Thus, if you are getting lots of benefits just by sowing this beautiful flowering plant, why not?
We all are familiar with lavender. In our mind question comes “do lavender plants repel mosquitoes?” It has genus Lavandula and is a radiant purple flowering plant. The smell of lavender is pleasant for humans but acts as a repellent for mosquitoes.
You can use such anti-mosquito agents by planting in a garden, or you can make your home-made lavender oil (an excellent essential oil) and directly apply to your skin to keep away annoying bugs.
Lavender essential oil produces a strong aroma as it has compound linalool. This compound puts the burden on mosquito’s sensitive olfactory organs like DEET in synthetic repellent.
Lavender requires aeration, sunlight, and circulation to grow adequately. Besides using it as a mosquito-repellent, it can also be used as a medicinal herb to treat anxiety, hair loss, wounds, and fungal infections.
It comprises antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties and is known for healing wounds, burns, and insect bites. Also, lavender is a critical ingredient in green tea as it helps to fight against digestive issues.
How Many Lavender Plants Are Needed to Repel Mosquitoes?
This is a thoughtful question, and one that doesn’t have a definitive answer. A variety of factors can affect how effective lavender is at repelling mosquitoes, as well as how many plants you’ll need.
The answer depends on how much coverage you want and the size of your yard. You may only need 4 to 5 lavender plants for a small yard. However, if your yard is large or you want more coverage, you may need more than 10-15 plants.
Additionally, the number of lavender plants (and their size) and the species of mosquitoes present in your area will also affect how effective the plants are as mosquito repellents.
Do citronella plants repel mosquitoes? Citronella is an excellent solution to mosquito problems. Its scientific name is Cymbopogon nardus, which belongs to the Cardiopteridaceae family (the lemon-scented grasses) found in tropical Asia. Good news is insects generally hate the lemon-like aroma and remain away.
However, according to scientific research, Citronella oil acts like a volatile substance and remains just for a shorter period of 2 hours with vanillin, as an anti-mosquito agent.
The citronella oil extracted from two species of citrus-grasses is most effective against insects and safe for humans and the environment.
Citronella has a sweet fragrance and thus used as a critical ingredient in perfume chemicals like citronellal, citronellol, and geraniol. It provides 100% protection against three kinds of mosquitoes, but in high concentration can harm our skin. You can take its vapours or simply apply it on your skin in a limited amount.
Citronella is commonly used in sprays, lotions, candles, pouches, pellets, and in some sunscreens as a fragrant. It is also used in food and beverages to improve flavour.
Do basil plants repel mosquitoes? It is known as Ocimum sanctum scientifically has various significance and hence has a role in repelling mosquitoes as well. The genus Ocimum has several varieties of species having similar properties.
It is a ‘must-have’ herb either in garden areas or as a potted plant. Basil is a natural anti-mosquito agent due to some chemicals like Estragole (1-allyl-4-methoxybenzene), which is also known as Methyl Chavicol or Allylanisole. Therefore, it prevents mosquito larvae from growing in that area where it is present.
Not only in plant form but the application of basil oil can also help you to keep mosquitoes or other such bugs away, according to literature published in 2011. However, using basil oil safely in a concentration of 0.07% is an instruction as it contains a carcinogen (cancer-causing agent), methyl eugenol.
The best growing condition for basil herb is moist soil having pH from 6 to 7 and sunlight of about 6-8 hours a day.
In addition to mosquito-repelling properties, Ocimum also has health benefits in diet and also acts as an excellent herbal medicine. From ancient times it has been used by Ayurveda gurus for treatment of snake bites, cold, and even inflammation.
Do catnip plants repel mosquitoes? Catnip, as its name suggests, is attractive for cats; but repel mosquitoes most effectively. Studies say Catnip (scientific name Nepeta cataria) with its essential oil nepetalactone works ten times more than DEET based sprays. Mosquitoes do not like the smell or characteristic aroma of Catnip and thus remain away from that area.
Its better growth occurs in USDA hardiness zones 3-9 in any kind of tolerance along with well-drained soil and full or partial sunlight.
You can gently crush its leaves or stem for the oil. By application, it acts as an anti-mosquito agent. It belongs to the mint family and thus has excellent advantages for health if taken as a tea.
The Nepetalactone found in common herbal Sedatives or Valerian also present in Catnip. Its health benefits include mood enhancement, improved relaxation, reduced anxiety, restlessness, and nervousness.
Therefore, if you love cats, then this is an excellent choice for you and your kitten. But if you do not, keep it in a hanging vase, so that your neighbour’s cat does not jump over it.
All the above mosquito-repellent plants are useful for both health conditions and keeping away mosquitoes like insects. Some other plants such as Lemongrass, Rosemary, Beebalm, Floss Flower, Garlic, Paper Mint, Lemon Balm, Scented Geranium, Sage, etc. also act as anti-mosquito agents. However, before applying to your skin directly, kindly consult your physician or dermatologist.
Some other natural ways to keep mosquitoes away are limiting watering plants and draining the water at regular intervals. You can also choose some dry soiled plants to avoid excessive water or use pebbles on your pot to hide the soil. Clean your garden area and remove the unwanted weeds; they might attract mosquitoes. Also, drain stored water as it is where mosquitoes originated.
Proper prevention in natural ways can remove the dangerous disease-carrying organisms from your living area easily. Let us know what you think about choosing a natural alternative for insects like mosquitoes, in the comment section below.