Flowers, vegetables, and herbs spice up any garden, window box, or flower bed. They add color, pleasant fragrances, and even free food to your home. However, they can also add bugs. Some types of bugs, such as honeybees, are welcome because they help to pollinate plants. However, some bugs, such as mosquitoes, are pests that you’d like to keep out. You can keep out pests by eliminating standing water or implementing bug repellant technology. You can also grow some bug repelling plants. Here are ten such plants you might want to grow and one that will attract bugs you need.
Table of Contents
Lemongrass is used in teas, cosmetics, and fragrance oils. The oil has been known to have antiseptic qualities as well. In addition to these qualities, it is known to repel mosquitoes. Other insects such as flies and termites are said to dislike the smell of lemongrass. If you grow some lemongrass in your garden, you’ll have a great addition to your tea; it will also dissuade mosquitoes. As a grass, it’s considered fairly easy to grow.
Various kinds of mint have been used as a fragrance or as a culinary herb for thousands of years. The most common kind of mint is spearmint, but you can often find many different varieties at your local nursery. They’re easy to grow and require very little maintenance. A few mint plants around your garden will help keep bugs away from your garden. However, make sure to keep your mint plants in an elevated garden box or surrounded by some chicken wire; it can be a very invasive plant if allowed to grow freely.
Basil is a pretty fragrant herb, which makes it perfect for pesto and tomato sauce. There’s also an oil in basil leaves that kills mosquito eggs. The scent helps to keep them away, and the oil helps to reduce their overall numbers. Basil also repels flies. A tasty herb that also deters pest is a win-win.
Lavender is one of the most common scents for laundry; it’s said to be calming and soothing. Some people even say that lavender helps them with their insomnia. That sweet smell that people love is actually very repellent to mosquitoes, moths, and flies. Since lavender is so fragrant, you only need a few plants spread around to reduce the number of insects.
You might be noticing a pattern by now; rosemary, much like basil and mint, is an aromatic herb. The smell of rosemary repels mosquitoes and other biting insects. It’s also great in the kitchen. As part of an herb garden designed to deter pests, rosemary is a great addition.
6. The Allium Family
Several different types of edible plants fall into the allium family. Garlic, chives, leeks, onions, and scallions are a few examples of plants in the allium family. They’re fragrant and strongly flavored. These plants are useful for repelling worms, slugs, and flies. However, you should be careful because most of them are poisonous to cats and dogs. If you have a cat or a dog, make sure your alliums are out of their reach.
Chrysanthemums are popular garden flowers that come in a variety of colors from white to yellow to purple. They contain compounds call pyrethrins which are often distilled and used in commercial insect repellents. The natural compounds in the flowers work as well. A bed of chrysanthemums will repel roaches, ticks, silverfish, beetles, and more.
Catnip is a member of the mint family, but it doesn’t smell as strongly as a true mint. The herb contains a compound call nepetalactone. This compound is the same one that attracts cats. It might attract cats, but it disgusts bugs.
These sun-colored flowers are a staple of many gardens and flower boxes. They’re easy to grow, bright, and attractive. They also have a fragrance that repels whiteflies, aphids, hornworms, and other pests. It’s an annual flower that will bloom each year with very minimal work.
The last suggestion is the one that most people think of first: citronella grass. Citronella is one of the most common natural ingredients used in commercial bug repellents. You’ve probably burned a citronella candle or tiki torch at some point; it’s the same chemical. Citronella grass is in the same family as lemongrass but is much stronger than its edible cousin. Growing citronella grass can deter most kinds of insects; also, since it is a grass, it is fairly easy to grow.
Bonus: Prairie Sunflower
Lastly, you should consider growing prairie sunflower if you want to attract certain kinds of bugs. Certain bugs such as parasitic wasps, hoverflies, and lacewings are parasites that kill pests. Many of these bugs lay their eggs inside of pests and eat the pests from the inside. Others simply eat the pests.
Prairie sunflowers are easy to grow; they’re fairly common as well. They’re short plants that grow on thin stems; they’re easily identifiable as sunflowers but much smaller than their noteworthy cousins. You can grow a bed of prairie sunflowers in most climates to attract beneficial bugs.
These ten types of plants will help rid any garden of pests. Most of them are fragrant because the oils are what repels the insects. Some of them are culinary herbs as well. Adding just a few of them will enhance a garden.
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