Summertime brings people outdoors for barbecues, sporting events, picnics and other festivities. The warm weather also brings out mosquitoes. Citronella candles and insect spray repellents help keep mosquitoes at bay, but they are expensive and sometimes irritate the skin. However, there are plants that when placed strategically around your yard naturally repel the annoying mosquito.
The strong, pungent scent of marigolds (Tagetes spp.) repels a variety of insects including the mosquito. Plant marigolds in flower beds, along paths and sidewalks or grow them in pots and use on decks and porches to keep mosquitoes away. Marigolds thrive when planted in well-drained soil, and must receive at least six hours of sun each day. Water marigold plants regularly, daily when the summer heat is high.
Catnip (Nepata cataria) has many medicinal uses, and its mint-like scent keeps mosquitoes away. Catnip thrives in full sun, in sandy, moist soil and requires regular watering. The plant blooms during July and August, just in time to ward off the bothersome mosquito. Catnip grows well alongside backyard hedges, fences, ditches and stream banks.
Mosquitoes are repelled by the scent of the ground cover ageratum (Ageratum houstonianum). Agertum comes in a variety of colors including blues, whites, pinks and purples. Use ageratum as edging plants along walkways, paths and flowerbeds. Agertum thrives in sunny spots and prefers moist, well-drained soil. The agertum plant contains coumarin. Perfume companies and mosquito repellents use coumarin to scent their products.
Throughout history, lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) has been used in many ways. One present day advantage of planting your own lavender is that it repels mosquitoes. Plant lavender in sunny spots in your back yard or along walkways. Lavender is drought tolerant when fully grown, but needs regular watering to thrive; water the plants thoroughly when soil becomes dry.
Growing rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) in your garden not only allows you to enjoy this fresh herb in your food, but it also keeps annoying mosquitoes away. Plant rosemary in well-drained soil and water it regularly; allow the soil to dry before watering plants again. Rosemary thrives in full sun but, tolerates partial shade. The Rosemary plant produces an attractive, small flower in the late spring.