Nothing detracts from the pleasure of sitting out on the patio or deck on a fine summer evening quite like swatting at bothersome mosquitos. And while there are some very effective chemical repellants, why cover yourself with harsh chemicals to be ingested through your skin when there are non-toxic and natural ways to deter those little pests.
There are some very attractive plants that are natural mosquito repellants. Some of these are not recommended for those of us with pets who roam in the yard. Mosquito-repellant plants such as citronella, eucalyptus, geraniums and wormwood, while effective at keeping those tiny vampires away, are not pet friendly.
But there are a number of plants for your garden that not only aesthetically pleasing and repulsive to mosquitos, but which are also non-toxic to your pets.
Foremost among these is basil. Unlike many insect-repelling herbs, this easy-to-grow and hardy plant does not have to be ground or crushed to release the scent that mosquitos find so objectionable. There are other uses for basil, too, quite apart from adding zest to your favorite dish. It is reputed to have a calming effect on stomach upsets, soothing for stings and bites, and is even supposed to have antibiotic properties.
Lemon balm, also known as horsemint, repels mosquitos and attracts bees and butterflies. Not only that, but it is also used to treat dogs for digestive problems, stress, irritability and even canine sleep disorders. It is a fast-growing and drought-resistant but invasive plant. It reseeds itself so you might want to plant it in a pot to avoid a lemon balm invasion of your garden.
Not just for flavoring sandwiches, soups and salad, rosemary is another multi-use plant. It repels not only mosquitos but, as a bonus for your cats and dogs, fleas as well.
Catnip, an evergreen perennial, will keep those pesky little mosquitos away, along with ants, flea beetles, and weevils. In fact, some studies have concluded that catnip is much more effective than DEET, a chemical potentially toxic to cats and dogs which is found in many insect repellants. But don’t be surprised if the neighborhood cats designate your yard as their favorite haunt!
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