9 PLANTS THAT ACT AS NATURAL MOSQUITO REPELLENTS
We are often faced with tough choices- either swat the mosquito, use a smoky cough-causing coil or machine, spray the room full of anti-mosquito spray making it unfit for use in the next half an hour, or use the common, potentially skin irritating and greasy mosquito repellent creams, oils and lotions. One must, of course, be extremely wary of the miniscule but murderous little beast that causes innumerable deaths across the world each day with its tiny bite. The illnesses and deaths are caused by the female mosquitoes that act as vectors of disease-causing pathogenic microbes.
But instead of using these artificial techniques with expectable side-effects and hassles, have you ever considered that nature had provided us with natural mechanisms to defend ourselves from these tiny yet lethal blood-suckers?
It’s true that plants have a solution to everything. So, it goes, with warding off of mosquitoes. Though we may have our homeopathic, ultrasonic, electronic, technological, methods as a remedy to the world’s perpetual and seemingly perennial mosquito infestation, the best solutions are often found in the hands of nature. Some plants, with their chemical properties, odours, and accessory parts, act as a natural mosquito repellent, keeping mosquitoes out of your way, deterring them from entering your surroundings, and even preventing breeding of mosquitoes around..
Here is a list of 9 plants that you can adopt in your immediate environment to keep mosquitoes at bay:
- Lavender- The lavender plant has a gentle fragrance that is soothing and refreshing for human beings to inhale and experience, but repels mosquitoes effectively. It is a perennial plant, and is often cultivated annually. It adorns garden and landscapes as borders, and makes a pretty sight in containers too. Its wonderful tiny tubular blooms feature in the shades of blue or purple, and invigorate the beauty of flowerbeds in addition to scenting your space. It grows in a variety of climates, is enduring and resistant, and requires full sun and adequate drainage, which will ensure it thrives. Its essential oils present on the leaves are a primary cause of the sweet odour, which even impedes mosquitoes’ sense of smell. The compound linalool that is abundant in its essential oils is responsible for repelling mosquitoes, as it overloads their olfactory prgans in a similar manner as they detest and are repelled by deet.
- Marigold- The marigold emits its smell as it contains pyrethrum, which is also a popular ingredient in many insect repellents. Its peculiar aroma is repulsive to mosquitoes. Strategically placing the plant at entry points such as doors, windows, gardens, patios, and other regions, can help deter mosquitoes from entering. Marigolds are rather simple to grow, and form a lovely addition to borders, floral and vegetable gardens. Their yellow, orange or occasionally reddish blossoms perform dual functions of keeping mosquitoes away along with embellishing your garden.
- Citronella Grass- With its distinctive lemon-scent, citronella forms one of the most common ingredients in many mosquito repellent products. Its strong smell puts off mosquitoes, and also successfully masks the particular odours given out by the human body that attract mosquitoes. It is a low maintenance plant perfectly adjusting especially well in warm climates where mosquitoes tend to abound. Cybopogon nardus or Citronella winterianus are the true varieties of citronella grass that prove effective in repelling mosquitoes.
- Rosemary- Rosemary is a herbal condiment in addition to being a wonderful ornamentation to the garden, and acting as a mosquito repellent due to its phytochemicals, which it has in plenty, like rosmarinic acid, caffeic acid, ursolic acid, betulinic acid, carnosic acid, and carnosol, inclusive of camphor, causing a redolent essence and woody aroma. It grows well in dry and hot climatic conditions, while assuming various shapes and sizes to fit your garden needs, as well as your culinary cooking requirements. Its needle like leaves, white, pink, purple or blue flowers, makes it a perfectly beautiful and useful addition to your garden.
- Basil- Due to the predominance of a substance known as estragole, also called tarragon, methylchavicol or allylanisole, basil derives its mosquito-repellent properties. Its perfume like typical pungent scent due to the synthesis of estragole in addition to three other volatile compounds out of pyrethrins, methyl-nonyl-ketone, geraniol, estragole, citronellal, limonene and nerolidol, which make it efficaciously repel mosquitoes. It may be planted as a supplement with other plants or in isolation as a herb in a container. It requires damp and moist conditions, good drainage, and ample sunlight.
- Scented Germanium- It is an amazingly popular mosquito repellent plant. Its favoured lemony scent, closely resembling that of citronella grass, keeps various pests, including the pesky mosquitoes, away from your garden. The compound that produces this smell is imitative of citronellol, which is a prime reason for its mosquito repellent properties. Its plush fragrance goes with its pretty blooms, which grow rapidly in warm and dry weather, with sufficient sunlight. The colours of the flowers, ranging from pink, peach, to red or even white, spruce up your vegetation too.
- Bee balm- Bee balm, alias monarda or horsemint, releases fragrant oils through its leaves. Its incense like perfume confuses the mosquitoes, masquerading the human scent and warding off mosquitoes. It is an adaptable and perennial plant. Its essential oil contains phytochemicals like carvacrol, thymol, eugenol, and carvacrol methyl ether, which have been proven to work against mosquitoes, and even as a potential larvicide. Its summer bloom in shades of red, pink, lavender, white, or purple, is a delight to the eyes. It can be used as ornamentals in containers or pots, or as borders or main plantation in gardens.
- Mint- Another plant abundant with phytochemicals that are successful in repelling mosquitoes, mint also has a fresh and zesty aroma, and can be used as a spice or garnishing in cooking too. Mint is known for more than one useful property. It is perennial, and has shiny, toothed leaves. Its flowers come in purple, pink, or white colours, and make it a tiny but cute and adorable addition to your garden. It has a fruity and aromatic taste. It thrives in good shade, and is best kept away from intense sunlight.
- Floss flower- Floss flower, also called bluemink, produces a phytochemical compound called coumarin, a chemical which effectively helps repel mosquito. The plant itself, may however be harmful for humans and animals, if ingested. Its blue or purple floral appendages make its appearance stunning and cooling to glance at. It is a cool-season annual plant, often grown as bedding. It has a pretty distinctive fragrance and adds a zingy flavour to a backyard, field or container too.
With unique ideas to repel old pests, it is only a matter of some time and minimal effort, that will lead you to achieving mosquito free surroundings. It is a small step towards better health, and a great measure to do your bit for the environment..