Mosquitoes can be a terrible nuisance when you are outdoors in the summer, but they are even worse when they are inside. Before taking a chemical bug spray against insects, you can position yourself against mosquitoes with a few well-chosen indoor herbs.
Fortunately, nature provides its own insect repellents. To protect it from insects and also protect you and your family. Besides, they smell good too.
Several home plants repel insects, and many are easy to grow for the novice gardener. Here are seven to consider for your home:
Lavender is much more common as an outdoor plant, but you can keep some small pots inside to help hunt insects. It can be capricious, love as much sunshine as you can find, as well as a place with good air circulation. You need a nearby window with a frequent breeze.
In ideal conditions, lavender can become quite large. Be prepared to re-pot in a larger container over time, or divide this perennial plant into small plants as it grows.
When choosing a variety, French lavender is the easiest to keep indoors, but the English type has a stronger aroma (and may, therefore, be more effective against bug).
A member of the mint family, catnip grows quickly and has the right scent to hunt for mosquitoes. Place your plants in a sunny window, water them regularly and pinch the flowers as they grow, so the plant produces more leaves.
As with lavender, a catnip plant can become quite large in some seasons. So be prepared to replace it or split it when it becomes too big for its location on the window.
Obviously, if you have cats at home, you will surely want to keep your catnip plant in a safe place.
Basil is already an excellent herb to have fresh in the kitchen, and now you may also consider an insect repellent. As usual, plan to keep your basil in a very sunny window as it needs lots of light and be sure to water it. Basil does not look very well in dry conditions, but you do not want to drown the roots too. Moist, well-drained soil is the key.
They prefer a warm environment so they may not be the best indoor plant indoors if you have a cold home during the winters. Otherwise, they should thrive perfectly. Feel free to pick a few leaves from time to time to cook as well.
Rosemary is another herb with anti-mosquito properties. This may not be the best choice for a novice gardener, but it’s worth a try. You need a place with as much sunshine as possible (even an occasional light), and you should know that it can be difficult to water.
Use a well-draining soil, water when the surface is dry to the touch. It can be sensitive to too much or too little water.
Rosemary is also subject to powdery mildew. So you have to let lots of air circulate around the plant to prevent it from settling there. As with lavender, try to find a windy place, or even install a small fan around your plants to keep the air in motion.
Once again, the lemon wins the day. Lemon balm is another scented citrus plant that is a nice addition to your collection of indoor plants and will also deter mosquitoes. Connected to mint, it is an easy plant to grow. A sunny window is preferable, but will not require the high level of basil or lemon balm light, which will facilitate handling.
For the plant to remain in the top leaf shape, squeeze the flower buds that are beginning to form. If you let it bloom and go to seed, the leaves will lose their strong aroma and will no longer be very repulsive against mosquitoes.
Lemon balm can become quite large if it grows well. Harvesting a few leaves to dry to get lemon tea is another way to use this plant, and also helps to limit business.
Our last suggestion of plant is a little more obscure. Pennyroyal has purple flowers and comes in two varieties: American and European. Both will work, but the European Pennyroyal is a little better for pest control.
They can use a lot of suns, even if indirect light is also adequate. Pennyroyal tends to be a low growing, leaking plant, making it a good choice if you have room for a hanging basket.
Some herbalists use pennyroyal for tea, but it is not safe for consumption if you are pregnant. Otherwise, there are no toxicity problems.
It is by far the best-known mosquito repellent because the compounds in its leaves are a common ingredient in commercial repellents. It has a pleasant lemon scent and is very powerful for mosquito hunting.
The tropical plant will thrive in warm weather and full sun. If you have very short days, it may be advantageous to fertilize regularly and even add some artificial light during the winter months.
If you are looking to buy citronella, be careful when choosing plants. There are some varieties of fragrant geraniums that carry the name of mosquito plant or even citronella plant, and they do not match with what you are looking for. The true citronella is much like thick grass and does not have large rippled leaves.
This is called Wild Bergamot, this attractive plant is tolerant to almost all types of soil, depending on the variety. Late summer flowers not only repel bugs but also attract butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees!
An added benefit is the tea you can make using leaves and flowers as well as many other medicinal properties. Preferring a sunny, partially shaded area, this is a plant that can become somewhat invasive once established.
Cutting back during its dormancy can also help keep you within the limits you set for it. Attractive and bright flowers start early into the middle of summer in pink, purple, white and red. I love seeing their bright flowers nudging my perennial foliage and letting them grow at will.
Some varieties can grow up to 4 feet, so be sure to plant the kind you prefer for your space, and then sit back and enjoy mosquito-free nights!
Used fresh on cuttings, dried or in oils, thyme contains a scent toxic to many insects and is beneficial for use as a natural insecticide. These properties also make it a popular plant to have around roses and other evergreen plants that have a tendency to attract destructive bugs.
Sporting a small, attractive flower, thyme is worth having inside the garden beds to hold insects and harvest the natural relaxing and detoxifying properties that it also contains.
Proper cutting is important to keep the shoots soft and usable for use, and plants should be cut early in the spring to influence the new growth. After a few years, the plant may become too woody to use and may need to be replaced.
Neem tree (Azadirachta indica) has caught the attention of gardeners in recent years for the benefits of its oil, a safe and effective herbicide. However, this is just the beginning of the story. Neem is a sturdy tree that tolerates temperatures up to 120 F. (50 C.). However, prolonged cold weather with temperatures below 35 ° F (5 ° C) will cause the tree to drop its leaves.
The tree does not tolerate lower temperatures, humid climates, or prolonged drought. That said, if you can locate seeds of fresh neem trees, you can plant a tree indoors in a pot full of good quality bottled soil and well-drained.
Neem trees require lots of sunlight. Trees benefit from regular humidity, but be careful not to stand on water because the tree does not tolerate wet feet or poorly drained soil.
Let the soil dry between each watering. Feed the tree once a month in the spring and summer using a mild application of any good quality, balanced fertilizer, or a diluted solution of water-soluble fertilizer. You can also apply a diluted fish emulsion.
Lemon Scented Geranium
A joy to grow, these scented varieties are also popular for drying for potpourris, infiltrating bath waters, or even use in baking, jams, and jellies!
There are many varieties of fragrant geraniums, and no less than 6 lemon choices to choose from.
A variety of mints has already been discussed earlier in this article, but not to the additional benefits of using mentha as an oil. When people hear about peppermint, they often think peppermint automatically, but, as seen above, many plants are part of the mint family. All the bullets are fresh or dry aromatic, but the oil extraction really produces its true properties and potency.
The health benefits of mint add up quickly; everything from healing hiccups to increasing memory has been attributed to this abundant plant through the use of fresh leaves in cooking to distill oils into topical ointments.
Mint oils are incredibly effective in helping to repel bugs around the house and as a natural insecticide and mosquito spray. Simply mixing oils with an oil carrier (like grape oil) and water and spraying around the house will repel a variety of insects. Rubbing on your skin is also very effective in keeping out the mosquitoes.
Another member of the mint family, this tall, straight-stemmed plant has a pale yellow flower and smells like lemon, giving it the nickname “weed-rich.” As with most of the mint family, the stone root plant has a variety of health benefits and was used to heal wounds, aid digestion, and be used as a mild antiseptic by early settlers.
Many studies are currently being done on its use as a diuretic and in the treatment of kidney stones. Found natively in the eastern states, the stone root can be grown within the garden provided it has a moist and acidic environment.
Due to its mint properties, the stone root oil can be extracted from leaves and used as a spray to repel bugs. Like the rest of the family, it has no warning about topical applications, and both the leaves and the oils can be wiped on the skin.
Tea trees are incredibly easy to grow inside a container and are a favorite of greenhouse enthusiasts. Easy to grow and prune, this fast-growing tree can be cut to stay small or loose to grow as much as you allow. The only major problem is to allow this tree to have plenty of water and do not let it dry. It is an ideal plant for self-watering containers and is very forgiving of overwatering.
Evergreen needles striations and varying flower colors, combined with attractive papery bark, create a favorable interest to add to your indoor plants. But the interest should not end there. Picking a select number of needles to soak the water or a carrier oil will produce a lovely insecticide spray.
If you prefer, you can take away the oils to take advantage of its antiseptic, antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties for use in home cleaning solutions and topical ointments.
Tea tree oil is especially useful as a natural repellent, and once sprayed, it should be wiped on your skin as well as sprayed on your clothes for maximum effect. If you happen to bite, apply the oil directly on the bite for immediate relief.
Both the annual and perennial versions of this Native American repel bugs, and many other creatures considered a nuisance to your yard and garden.
Because of its yellow and orange flowers that continue spring through frost, these flowers have been a popular color choice for gardeners for many years and have a strong fragrance that repels deer, rabbits and virtually all existing insects. When planted as companion plants around your fruits and vegetables, you have also just created a natural insecticidal barrier.
Chrysanthemums (Mums) are one of the most popular fall flowers for indoor. Most varieties are easy to grow, with their basic needs being full sun, fertile soil, good drainage, and good air circulation. There are hundreds of types available that can provide flowers from late summer through fall.
Repel cockroaches, ants, Japanese beetles, ticks, silverfish, lice, fleas, bedbugs, mites, harlequins, and root-knot nematodes. The ingredient of chrysanthemums that makes them as useful as a companion plant that repels bugs is pyrethrum.
Because pyrethrum can kill insects, they are used in the most commonly available insecticides.
Tips For Placing
Obviously, you need to keep your plants in the best places with the right amount of light or the right temperature for your houseplants. But also, you will want to keep these plants in areas where mosquitoes usually come into your home.
Keep your plants close to busy entrances to keep them off when people come and go. Rooms and living areas are the next places to put them out of the room.