We moved earlier this year and our backyard backs up to a creek. Now we were (and still are!) pretty excited that the creek is just at the end of our backyard, we can’t stop thinking of all the outdoor recreational activities we can do (I will write about all those activities soon!). Our only issue – BUGS! This is the one downside to be that close to any body of water, a creek especially. Since I am the one to typically get ALL the mosquito bites, I did some serious research on this topic. This is what I found and tried this spring. I will have to see if it all really does work and maybe expand my flower pots for next year. If you have any insect issues or just flat out don’t want any insects crashing your Backyard BBQ this summer, check out my findings below and give it a whirl. Let me know if it works for you or if you find anything that you have tested to work, I would love to hear from you!
Marigold – Calendula ‘Bon Bon Bright Yellow’ for decorative yellow pom pom style flower heads that are only 12″ high and suitable for containers. Marigolds contain a compound found in many insect repellents. In flower form it isn’t going to hurt insects, just deter them.
Lavender – Lavandula angustifolia ‘Thumbelina Leigh’ is a compact 6″-12″ plant, perfect for containers. This profuse bloomer will flower up to three times a year if cut back by half after flowering. Lavender’s heavenly aroma is decidedly unpleasant to mosquitoes.
Flossflower – Ageratum ‘Artist Blue’ contains coumarin, which is widely used in commercial mosquito repellents. Whether or not it emits enough to keep pests away from the flower is up for debate. The blue-purple, low-growing flowers are a welcome addition to this pretty arrangement.
Oregano – Origanum vulgare ‘Hot & Spicy’ has fuzzy leaves and a bit of a kick on rounded green tresses that will spill over the pot as they grow.
Lemon Thyme – Thymus citriodorus is a pretty yellow and green variegated evergreen thyme that smells and tastes like lemon. The pops of yellow compliment the marigolds and add an extra bit of brightness to the planter. Lemon thyme is said to be more effective at repelling mosquitoes than other thyme varieties.
Citronella Plant – This plant is an attractive, citrus scented geranium, that grows well on patios and decks. It is nicknamed the Mosquito plant, for its natural mosquito repelling oil in the leaves. It grows to a convenient size, plant in containers and place them anywhere.
I couln’t find any of these plants at my local nursery but I would be interested to try them and add to my flower pots next year and see if they stand up to the other (hopeful) repelling plants.
Lemon Balm – Melissa officinalis is fragrant, lemony, and large. If your container isn’t big enough to house this prolific plant, you should be able to find some nearby to rub as you stroll through the garden. It can be quite invasive try allowing a small patch to grow in a controlled manner (and by “controlled,” rip it all out periodically before it grows back!).
Thai Basil – Ocimum basilicum has pointed green leaves and purple new growth. The flavor has more anise, or licorice, than sweet basil. It is an attractive herb as well as being delicious with coconut milk and red curry. Like mint, it is basil in general that mosquitoes dislike.
Pineapple Mint – Mentha suaveolens ‘Variegata’ is a decorative mint with white-edged leaves and a wooly texture. It has a pleasantly sweet mint aroma on highly decorative leaves, making it an attractive addition to a container. Members of the mint family repel mosquitoes.
If repelling insects is right up your alley, be sure to try out these varieties. I strategically placed my pots in areas on my deck and coming up the stairs to the deck to deter bugs from climbing up to where we hang out. I have not had to tend much to these pots, just water so far! I will most likely try to use some of the cooking herbs (i only have the Lemon Thyme and Hot & Spicy Oregano, so I am sure just cutting them back every once in a while to allow for more growth is the most upkeep these pots will need.
Super easy and hopefully this keeps all those unwanted guests from joining your BBQs this summer! Enjoy!