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Could You Please Tell Me All The Plants, If Any,…

Bonnye Asked

Could you please tell me all the plants, if any, that will grow in this region to repel mosquitoes?

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The Gardener’s Answer

Hello, Bonnye: Mosquitoes are the one thing that can keep me out of the garden! In high season there really is nothing worse than stepping outside and getting attacked by these insects. There are a few plants that can help repel them. Unfortunately, just planting them is not usually enough to keep them away. In most cases we have to take the foliage from these plants and crush it or infuse it into an oil to apply to the skin to make any difference at all. Even this is not a sure-fire method. You can take sprigs of lavender and/or rosemary and smudge yourself with it. A lot of herbs have this aromatic characteristic that seems to help deter them. Peppermint, lemon balm, and eucalyptus are all good options. Citronella is the most common mosquito repellent. Both citronella grass and citronella-scented geraniums are used in natural-based repellents that are sold in spray forms. All of these plants are tropicals for us so we have to plant them outdoors after our frost-free date passes (May 10). Making sure that we are not creating breeding areas for them is essential in terms of keeping their numbers down. Be aware of any standing water in which they can breed, and avoid gardening during dusk and dawn, which are their most active times of the day. Other than adding bat houses to the garden and wearing protective clothing, there is little we can do about these insects. If you want to read more information about mosquitoes in Kentucky, visit www.ca.uky.edu/entomology/entfacts/ef005.asp.

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