The spread of the Zika virus has caused a stampede of gardeners running to the nursery looking for plants that repel mosquitoes with the hope of lowering the risk of being infected with Zika.
It is true some plants do repel mosquitos, but unfortunately you are going to have to do more than just grow them in your garden to be successful at repelling mosquitoes. To take advantage of the mosquito repelling effects of plants you are going to have to boil, burn or rub them on your skin.
Burning or boiling the plants will help drive the mosquitos away for a short time. So if you are eating out in the garden with friends or just enjoying some quiet time after work burning some sage or rosemary should provide some added protection and for most the odor is pleasant.
With herbs it is okay to just rub the leaves on your skin. It’s best to try them in a small area first to make sure you are not allergic to the herb. This is a great natural way to protect against mosquitos.
This plant is excellent go to plant in any garden. It is hearty, looks great, and has a beautiful scent. The only thing it doesn’t like is too much water.
Catnip plants grow to 3 feet tall, with a spread of 1½-2 feet. In the summer and early fall, they produce 3″-4″ spikes of tiny white flowers spotted with pale purple.
This plant is tolerant of all kinds of soil. If you keep it in a sunny area it will do great, and it is drought tolerant too.
This plant works well as a ground cover, has a very pleasant scent and is also drought tolerant. It can stay in bloom year round so it is perfect for high visibility areas of the garden.
Additional ways to cut down on mosquitos and save water
- Eliminate standing water in your garden. Mosquitoes lay eggs is as little water as a bottle cap. Eliminate the areas they can lay eggs, like saucers under plants, tarps, fountains and tarps.
- Use fine wire mesh to keep mosquitos out of your rain barrels.
Zika is a serious safe issue for those people working outdoors in gardens. I believe it is going to take more than these plants to effectively protect yourself against the Zika virus. Here is a great article from the EPA concerning DEET the active ingredient found in many insect repellants.
You can also read about natural insect repellants you can purchase here.
So lets stay safe out there, but don’t let this pest keep us from enjoying gardens. If you enjoyed this article please consider subscribing to the blog or following me on Twitter @H2oTrends.