Growing Mosquito-Repellent Herb Plants
Lantana – [Lantana camara] an ornamental plant that has a strong oily smell. Lantana emits large amounts of volatile organic compounds from the leaves. Lantana leaves need not be crushed to release its mosquito repelling power. Grow Lantana in areas where you spend time outdoors. Group the plants together on decks, patio, or play areas. You can also rub the fresh leaves on your clothes and exposed areas of skin. Lantana is available at garden centers, mail order or online.
Catnip – [Nepeta Cataria] not just for members of the feline family. Humans can benefit from the essential oil in catnip. Catnip contains nepetalactone, an oil that gives catnip its distinctive smell. Nepetalactone is more effective than DEET in repelling mosquitoes. Catnip can been grown from cuttings, divisions or from seed. Catnip plants are widely available at garden centers, and the seeds can ordered online.
Lime basil – [Ocimum americanum] aslo known as “hairy basil,” it’s a culinary herb and medicinal plant as well. It’s an effective repellent when the fresh leaves are allowed to burn and smoulder on hot coals or logs. Grow the plants in groups of three or more. They are easy to grow and emit a nice, crisp lime odor when the leaves are crushed.
Sacred Basil – [Ocimum santum] also called “holy basil.” This basil has been grown in South Asia for thousands of years. The leaves and their extracted juices repel mosquitoes from feeding on you. You can prepare a water based solution of crushed basil leaves and distilled or spring water. Allow the leaves to soak in the water for 24 hours. Spray or splash the water on exposed areas of skin before going outside. Go here to purchase Sacred Basil, Lime Basil and Catnip
www.fedcoseeds.com Phone: 207 – 873-7333
Thyme [ Thymus vulgaris] although thyme is a perennial culinary herb, it is also an effective mosquito repellent. The volatile oils in the thyme leaves are just as effective as DEET. The thyme plant is easily grown from seed, cuttings or plant division.
I grow a variety of thyme plants in containers and group them near the front and back doors to help repel flying insects.
In addition to the herbs listed above, the following herbs are also beneficial in repelling mosquitoes: Catnip, which contains all natural DEET, lavender, peppermint, lemon grass, Eucalyptus, Rosemary, tea tree, pennyroyal and yarrow.
To help discourage mosquitoes, don’t leave standing water in buckets or containers. Empty out the bird bath and wash it with hot water and baking soda, rinse well before refilling with plain water. Keep the lawn mowed, remove old wood and leaves, tires, etc.
And if mosquitoes do bite you, don’t scratch the bites, this only makes them itch even more. The best remedy for bites is white distilled vinegar applied with a cotton ball. Just dab it on the area and it will take the itch away.
~ Meadow Walker
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