Home & Garden

How to keep your yard mosquito-free with plants

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Mosquitos aren’t only annoying, they can be downright dangerous — the source of many diseases, including devastating ones like malaria, West Nile Virus, encephalitis and zika.

Aside from chemical sprays and bug-zappers, mosquito-repelling plants can help keep the buggers out of your yard.

Lavender is tough and drought-resistant, and mosquitos hate it because of the essential oils on its leaves. Plus, it smells really good.

Marigolds are annuals whose smell also repels mosquitos. Grow them in pots and place them near your patio or entryway, or even your yard’s borders and vegetable gardens, advises Garden Design magazine. They also repel a host of other garden pests besides mosquitoes.

Citronella Grass has been a staple among mosquito repellants for years. It’s low-maintenance and should be potted in large containers and brought inside during winter here in the Midwest. Eartheasy.com recommends the Cybopogon nardus or Citronella winterianus varieties.

Catnip (catmint) grows just about anywhere and may even already be a volunteer in your yard. An Iowa State University study determined catnip to be ten times more effective that the chemical DEET in repelling insects.

The herb rosemary also does well in containers and can also be pruned into different shapes or planted in borders. It’s also a good repellent that smells good. Bonus — you can cook with it.

Basil is another herb that repels mosquitoes. A 2009 study revealed that basil is toxic to mosquito larvae. It does will in containers or in the ground and is compatible with other plants, notes Good Housekeeping magazine.

Scented geraniums are a popular mosquito repelling plant. They do best in containers and, because they are fast-growing, need lots of pruning, according to Garden Design.

The best mosquito repellant for your yard, however, is to eliminate any sources of standing water, as even a spoonful can hold hundreds of mosquito eggs, cautions the magazine.

Countryside Flower Shop, Nursery & Garden Center : 5301 E. Terra Cotta Ave (Rte 176), Crystal Lake, IL : 815.459.8130 : www.countrysideflowershop.com

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