Mosquito repellent plants are garden heroes: colorful flowers and herbs with natural fragrances that chase away buzzing insects even as their perfumes soothe humans.
The first step in your plan to thwart mosquitoes? Grow plants such as lavender, basil, mint, scented geraniums, and marigolds. But unless you’re planning to plop your chair down in the middle of a flower bed, you may not enjoy the full protective benefits. So we came up with a plan to bring the full power of your anti-mosquito forces to the deck or patio: a mosquito repellent floral arrangement. (We placed ours on a side table next to our favorite reading chair.) Read on for step-by-step instructions.
Photography by Mimi Giboin for Gardenista.
Lavender’s strong scent, which comes from essential oils that can be distilled from its flowers, is often used for aromatherapy. While there is little scientific evidence to back up claims that lavender oil has health benefits, inhaling its fresh, herbal scent calms many people. But not mosquitoes.
I asked a couple of aspiring florists named Clementine and Eve to arrange the mosquito repellent plants and flowers in a few clear glass vases: a deconstructed floral arrangement. (If you don’t have vases of different heights and shapes on hand, you can just as easily arrange the flowers in mix-and-match drinking glasses or glass jars to get the same effect.).
Scented geraniums have “many varied and exotic fragrances,” writes Justine. Rub a leaf between fingers and you may smell lemon, chocolate, almond, apple blossom, or rose. Learn more at Scents and Sensibility: The Scented Geranium.
See more varieties of basil and growing tips to keep this Mediterranean herb happy at Basil 101: A Field Guide to Planting, Care & Design.
When arranging marigolds in a vase, strip off any leaves below the water line to prevent them from rotting and turning the water cloudy.
If it seems like there are a million varieties of mint to grow, that’s because there probably are. Rejoice. Read more about our 9 Favorite Mints to Grow in a Cook’s Garden.
And if one of your winged enemies manages to chomp on you anyway? Try our DIY: 7 Best Natural Mosquito Bite Remedies.
N.B.: This post is an update; it was first published July 2019.
Ready to design and plant a spring herb garden? See Everything You Need to Know About Herb Gardens and read more at:
- Expert Advice: 10 Tips to Get Your Garden Ready for Spring
- 10 Easy Pieces: Heirloom Seeds for Spring
- Edibles 101: A Field Guide to Planting, Care & Design
- The New Vegetable Garden: 8 Favorite Edible Backyards