Gardening Insects Bugging You? Consider These Plants

When the spray and candle just won't do it
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The citronella plant contains oil that really does repel mosquitoes, as evidenced by its use in citronella candles.

But you have to rub the leaves on your skin repeatedly for it to be most effective. It’s still worth it to add a few plants, in the ground or in pots on your patio.

Just don’t expect them to create an impenetrable firewall of protection.


Here are a few other plants that can help in the battle against bad bugs:

1. Herbs

Rosemary repels mosquitoes but requires really good drainage. Lavender repels mosquitoes, flies and moths. Lavandula stoechas, aka Spanish lavender and French lavender, is best suited to our humid climate. Basil, mint and lemon balm repel mosquitoes and flies, but keep the mint and balm in pots. Catnip, a member of the mint family, repels mosquitoes and is a key ingredient in many natural-based insect repellents. Iowa State University researchers found nepetalactone, the essential oil in catnip, to be 10 times more effective than DEET.

2. Alliums

Chives, leeks, onions, scallions and shallots repel slugs, flies and worms. They can attract moths, though, and are highly toxic to cats and dogs. Plant them near your cabbages, cucumbers, beans, squash, pepper plants and among your delphiniums, zinnias, sunflowers and hostas.

3. Nasturtiums and petunias

Both repel lots of garden pests: aphids, whiteflies, squash bugs, beetles, hornworms and cabbage loopers. Both are cool-season flowers, but interplanting them with vegetable transplants in the spring garden can extend their season with a bit of shade.

4. Chrysanthemums and French marigolds

Chrysanthemums contain pyrethrins, a compound used in commercial insecticides that repels mosquitoes, roaches, beetles, ticks and silverfish. French marigolds can be an effective control of nematodes, worm-like microscopic organisms that destroy plant roots. While many of us consider mums a fall plant, they grow throughout the frost-free months. Just cut them back in mid-summer for that fall blush of blooms.

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