Six insect repellent plants to grow – includes plants that repel biting insects such as: mosquitoes, gnats, ticks & fleas; and plants that protect other plants from aphids & mites etc.
Planting and growing insect repellent plants provide a great opportunity to get out in the garden and plant some plants which are a perfect mix of beauty and functionality. Some people are sceptical about using plants to repel insects, whilst others are 100% convinced of the insect repelling properties of many garden plants.
The thing is – if you take natural plant based insect repellents out of the equation; the only really option is DEET based products. There are serious health concerns about the toxic effects of DEET as it is absorbed into the body through your skin. Children are thought to be most at risk from side effects, as children’s skin absorbs more DEET than an adult’s. Sure, DEET has its place and it is even vital in certain situations and locations, but I think it is always worthwhile to also consider natural cures and solutions rather than just reaching for the pharmaceutical option each and every time.
At the end of the day, if you plant some of the plants listed below, at the very least you’ll be getting some pretty plants that smell beautiful. If however you are still not convinced by using plants to repel insects, why not check out: All Terrain Herbal Armor DEET-Free Natural Insect Repellent, it is biodegradable, cruelty – free, and contains no petrochemicals or animal by products.
Feverfew is great for repelling mosquitoes and other flying biting insects. It is ideal for planting around outdoor seating areas, pathways and close to doorways and windows; for maximum benefit, plant in conjunction with citronella grass and lavender (see below).
In addition to its insect repellent qualities, feverfew also has many medicinal uses. It is historically used to help treat nervous disorders, headaches and it also works as a laxative and helps ease bloating.
Pyrethrum also known as Chrysanthemum
Pyrethrum helps to repel a whole host of insects and bugs, including: aphids, leafhoppers, spider mites, harlequin bugs and ticks.
Pyrethrum is best used as a ‘companion plant’ to protect other plants with its insect repellent properties. It is planted close to plants which are affected by the insects above.
Additionally a natural pesticide can be made with pyrethrum flowers. The flowers need to be dried and crushed and mixed with water. It is beyond the scope of this article to give specific instructions on potency etc., so please carry out further research before trying this, as even though the pesticide is completely natural, it can still be harmful to humans in certain situations.
Pennyroyal helps to repel mosquitoes, gnats and also ticks and fleas!
Pennyroyal is often used in commercial natural insect repellent creams and sprays. Pennyroyal is great to plant in the garden, but it is best utilized as a topical insect repellent applied to the skin.
If you crush pennyroyal leaves and rub them onto your skin, this acts as an effective insect repellent. Additionally, you can also crush the stems and put them in pockets, bags and hats.
Crushed pennyroyal leaves and stems can also be rubbed on dogs to help repel ticks and fleas. Actually you will often see dogs rubbing in pennyroyal patches when outdoors.
Lavender is most useful for repelling mosquitoes and gnats when planted in the garden; it can also be planted in pots and placed by doorways and windows. As with feverfew and citronella grass; lavender is best planted in the garden around seated and eating areas and also around windows and doors.
Cut and or dried lavender can also be placed on windowsills to stop mosquitoes entering the house. Additionally, dried lavender flowers can also be used in wardrobes to repel moths and keep clothes smelling fresh.
Lavender also smells amazing and has many medicinal properties, it aids relaxation and helps promote restful sleep.
As with pyrethrum, marigolds are best used as a ‘companion plant’ to help protect other plants; however, marigolds do also have some mosquito repellent properties, so it’s a bit of an all-rounder.
Marigolds contain a chemical compound called thiopenes in the roots. This plant repels aphids, cabbage maggots, white flies and many other pests. Marigolds are particularly good at protecting tomato plants.
Citronella grass is an old favourite; everyone knows it is commonly used as an insect repellent in outdoor candles, which are used around outdoor eating and seating areas. Citronella grass is a great mosquito repellent and it can be planted and used in a similar way as citronella candles, to keep flying insects away.
For best results, plant citronella grass in the garden and use in conjunction with feverfew and lavender.
Additionally, citronella grass has also been found to have a calming effect on barking dogs, which is worth considering if you have a dog which barks excessively day and night. Your neighbours might thank you for at least giving it a try!