Consider cultivating plants that will naturally repel insects so you can avoid using pesticides and other chemical repellents. Marigolds, citronella and catnip are among the beautiful flowering plants that will protect your skin and your vegetables from insect invasions.
Plant marigolds throughout your vegetable garden for a natural insect repellent that will also add splashes of color all summer. The fragrance of the marigold blossoms is not attractive to insects, so plant them in containers around your deck or patio for added protection. Marigolds are annuals that you can grow from seeds in containers or directly in your garden. Marigolds range in height from less than 1 foot to giants that grow more than 4 feet tall.
Widely accepted as a mosquito repellent, citronella plants are annuals or tender perennials. Hardy in zones 9b through 11, citronella plants have beautiful lavender/violet blooms and aromatic foliage. Citronella is evergreen in the appropriate zones and blooms repeatedly. You can grow this plant indoors in containers or around the perimeter of your deck to keep mosquitoes at bay. You can propagate citronella plants in water or soil from stems of a healthy plant. You can also sow citronella seeds indoors before the last frost.
Catnip is a hardy perennial herb that is part of the mint family. It is also a powerful mosquito repellent when planted in your garden. Catnip enjoys full sun and is hardy in zones 3a to 9b. Begin catnip plants from seed in the fall for dense plant growth or from seeds in the spring for less foliage. The plants grow up to 4 feet tall and have small lavender flowers that grow on spikes. Catnip also has medicinal benefits; its oil is used to relieve headaches and nervousness.