As summer approaches, we look forward to spending more time on our outdoor patios, entertaining family and friends. We don’t look forward to the hordes of mosquitos we often find out there.
The good news is that there are natural ways to repel these unwanted guests. The right plants put into containers near the patio table can send them packing.
Here are 6 natural repellents recommended by Real Simple.
Citronella Grass: “Citronella is by far the most popular plant that repels mosquitos,” garden lifestyle expert Carmen Johnston told Real Simple. “It has a very pungent odor.” Johnston pots the plant in small terra cotta pots, using them as centerpieces on outdoor tables.
Lavender: While we soak in the sweet smell of lavender, mosquitos aren’t as enamored with the scent. Plant lavender around the patio – and use lavender oil on your skin to act as a repellent.
Rosemary: Plant rosemary in containers, grow it as a hedge near the patio, use it in centerpieces. Mosquitos dislike the smell, but your guests will love it — and the way it chases away bugs in the area.
Basil: This plant is a multi-tasker. It can repel houseflies and mosquitoes, enhance Mediterranean-style dishes, and act as a balm to mosquito bites. Johnston recommends “folding several leaves between your hands to release their natural oil and then applying them to your bite to ease swelling,” notes Real Simple.
Lemongrass: Often used in Southeast Asian cooking, lemongrass also serves as a mosquito repellent — and can enhance your garden. “It can grow three to five feet tall and adds lots of extra height and texture to the garden,” Johnston notes.
Mint: This is “a perennial that repels mosquitos,” reports Real Simple. As a bonus, it’s great in some dishes and cocktails. One warning: once planted in a garden, mint can take over. Best to plant it in a pot, where it’s contained.