Up until now I have been discussing how to make your outside space more enjoyable while avoiding one major detractor. BUGS !! They seem to know when we are outside just lying in wait. So let’s take a look at some plants that help repel insects which may help us control these little party poopers from encroaching on our fun.
Can plants keep bugs away ?
Our ancestors from long ago used herb gardens to grow plants from which they would take cuttings for spreading on the floors of their homes. Walking on the spread out plants would crush them, releasing oils that helped keep pests at bay and release fragrant odors. Many pest controlling plants would also be placed near the entrances of homes to deter these bugs from entering. So man has for ages employed plants for keeping insects away.
Most plants contain compounds that they use to protect themselves from plant eating insects. Some of these compounds do act as repellents. As our society moves away from chemical ingredients in our products, we are moving closer to more natural things. Commercial producers of insect repellents have taken notice and are beginning to use more plant-based ingredients.
So, YES, plants can help us to keep bugs away and achieve a more enjoyable experience when we are on our patio.
Keeping the bloodsuckers at bay
Mosquitoes are probably the most common, outside fun spoiling insect for all of us. They have driven many an outside gathering to seek shelter in their inside sanctuary. Fortunately there are many plants, some of which are perennial, to help keep these annoying intruders away.
Ticks are also high up on the list of repulsive outdoor pests. Add to this their propensity for transmitting disease and it makes for a most undesirable pest. Many of the plants that ticks find undesirable are herbs which will also give us pleasant aromas and tastes in some cooking and drinks.
- BASIL Basil emits its aroma naturally, so it can be simply planted in abundace and allowed to work its magic against mosquitoes. It has the added benefit of being toxic to mosquito larvae, so planting it near standing water could prove quite beneficial.
- BEE BALM ( Horsemint) This perennial plant emits an incense like odor that confuses our little invaders by masking our scent.
- CATNIP Research has shown that nepetalactone, the essential oil in catnip is about 10 times more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET.
- LAVENDER Lavender has the additional benefit of emitting what most of us would consider a pleasant fragrance. Mosquitoes on the other hand find the odor of lavender repulsive.
- SAGE This one may be considered a folk remedy and requires a little extra work. Place some of the leaves from this plant on your fire in your pit or barbecue to produce a pleasant smelling incense that keeps mosquitoes away.
- LEMON THYME Lemon Thyme produces a citrusy smell which mosquitoes do not like. Crushing a few leaves and rubbing on you can help keep mosquitoes away.
- MINT Mint is a pleasant smelling herb that can be used in cooking and drinks. It has the side benefit of repelling small insects like ticks and fleas.
- ROSEMARY Rosemary is another herb that is great for use in cooking and keeps many small insects such as ticks away.
- CHRYSANTHEMUMS This plant has a chemical compound which is used to make natural insect repellents. This plant will also deter fleas and ticks from your yard. It also has the benefit of producing beautiful flowers.
- FLEABANE DAISY This flowering plant is best known for keeping fleas at bay. It also works well at repelling ticks and other small insects. As in some of the previous plants, it works better if you crush some of the daisies and rub them on you.
- MARIGOLDS This annual plant is on display in many a home flower bed. Marigolds are also a great pest repeller. They are disdained by mosquitoes and other small insects. Marigolds are also not a favorite of deer and rabbits.
- AMERICAN BEAUTYBERRY This beautiful berry producing plant is effective at warding off a wide variety of small pests including mosquitoes. It is also non poisonous.
- ALLIUMS Alliums are a flowering form of onions and garlic. They naturally repel many forms of garden pests. They are also not favored by mosquitoes.
- FLOSS FLOWERS These are attractive low growing annuals with colorful flowers.They make great bedding and container plants and contain a chemical that helps repel mosquitoes.
Put These Plants to Work
Getting the most from these natural pest repellent plants probably requires a little effort. Plant these plants near where you will be spending most of your time outdoors such as your patio or deck. Make use of planting the ones that are suitable for it in pots that can be moved to the affected area.
The best outcome will be achieved by using a few different varieties of pest controlling plants. Combine these efforts with good preventative measures such as taking away standing water sources. Keep your grass trimmed low.
Keep in mind that some of these plants are poisonous. Make sure pets and small children will not come into contact with such choices.
Most of these plants will achieve better results by crushing the leaves and rubbing them on your skin. You should always use caution when using these plants in this way. Be wary of this method if you have sensitive skin and never use a poisonous plant in this manner.
Would you like to know more?
I hope you were able to gain a little more knowledge about pest controlling plants. Check out this information on Wikipedia for some more details. As usual, I welcome any questions or comments you may have on this topic.
It pleases me when you are able to take a bit of information from my topics and put it in practical use. Leave any queries you may have below and thanks for taking a look at my post.