Garden Clippings for June 2, 2018
Lucky me. I’m not much bothered by mosquitos. Oh, I’ve been bitten plenty times, but if I am with others, they will invariably be targeted before me.
The good news is that there are several plants that do a fine job of repelling mosquitos. Lavender is top of mind, as are several other herbs and flowering annuals.
Lavender is an old-fashioned plant that doubles up as an attractive perennial as well as fragrant herb. Lavender’s claim to fame is its wonderful scent and its clusters of tiny blue/purple flowers that appear on stems that rise above grey blue foliage.
Plant Lavender in a sunny spot near the patio or in containers. If you pamper Lavender with rich soil, fertilizer and moisture it won’t be happy. Rather, allow Lavender to dry out between watering. If left alone, lavender is a delightful mosquito repellant, but if you want additional protection, grab a cluster of leaves, mush them in your hands and rub the fragrance on your skin.
Marigolds are a popular annual plant with a fragrance that you, me and mosquitos will not find delightful. Marigolds are positively hardy and will thrive in any sunny garden. Plants range in height from a dwarf 6 inches to a tall 3 feet. Flowers are yellow, gold and orange. Interesting that Earwigs eat Marigolds like candy, but mosquitos can’t stand them.
Peppermint is a popular herb with a less than popular reputation. On the light side, Peppermint is great to add to desert dishes and fruit salads. Peppermint makes a great tea. On the dark side, Peppermint, like every member of the mint family can be invasive. I have a patch of peppermint growing in the lawn, and quite enjoy the smell when I run over the area with the mower.
For those who want to grow mint, I recommend putting it in a pot on the patio where it can’t hop the fence and invade the garden. Keep it moist and give it plenty of light. Peppermint repels mosquitos, and like Lavender, if you mush it and apply it on your skin, you and your closest friends will not be bitten.
Lemon Thyme is a delightful herb with tiny leaves and tiny flowers that look as good as it tastes. use it in seafood or chicken dishes, add it to vegetables and soups or use it as a refreshing garnish. Lemon Thyme doubles up as an ornamental plant in rock gardens or spilling over the edge of containers. Crushing Lemon Thyme will give you a milder repellant than Peppermint.
Lemon Verbena is a good sized annual plant that should be planted next to a pathway where those who pass by can appreciate the fragrance. Use the leaves in desserts and teas. If you plant Lemon Verbena in a container, it can be brought indoors and grown as a houseplant through winter.
Not surprisingly, growing garlic in the garden will help keep mosquitos at bay. In addition to its food value, garlic is a good companion plant for any crops that tend to attract bugs. I recommend planting garlic in several spots throughout the veggie garden.
Other plant that repel mosquitoes are Lemon Grass, Basil, Catnip and Rosemary.