Friday, 9th June 2023

Mosquitoes – free garden

By Sereba Agiobu-Kemmer
25 June 2016   |   2:50 am
The rainy season is here again filling up drainages, pot holes and what have you, increasing breeding places for the mosquitoes. That is why more persons get bitten by the bugs ...

The rainy season is here again filling up drainages, pot holes and what have you, increasing breeding places for the mosquitoes. That is why more persons get bitten by the bugs and come down with malaria at this time of the year.

As the rainy season gets underway, one would like to suggest plants that will repel mosquitoes and other unwanted insects away from your garden and living spaces (outdoor and indoor).

Engaging in chemical warfare covering yourself with sticky insect repellant, and spraying the house and surrounding landscape with chemical insecticides is not always practical for those with allergies and for children and pets, it is potentially toxic. I would like to suggest eco-friendly ways to keep pesky mosquitoes and other pest from your landscape.
The plants I am suggesting can shoo pests from your garden and skin. You may want to try this idea for all natural pest control that works all year long to keep the pesky bugs away.

The plants are gorgeous and will make your garden beautiful. For those who will like to give the natural route a try, I have chosen easy to grow insect repelling plants in your garden and living spaces.
Essential oils in these plants act as nature’s pest repellant. Insects tend to avoid them. You can even use some of these plants to make your own natural bug repellant. I have chosen them because they also top the popular garden lists as they are robust and quick growers, that adapt to almost all conditions.

There are a few suggestions when planning to use these plants to enhance the repelling abilities: use the plants in containers around the patio or outdoor living space such as patio table and chairs. Use the plants in containers or planted in the ground by the front and back doors, along paths, borders and hedges.

Easy to Grow Insect Repellant Plants
Marigold (tagetes spp)

Marrigolds are attractive, good looking flowers that will add grace and beauty to the garden as ornamental. The scent from various types of marigolds repels mosquitoes, aphids and other insects, even rabbits. The roots of marigolds are well known among gardeners to repel nematodes, though those qualities require a year to take effect. Grow marigolds mixed in the border of your flowerbeds or interspersed throughout your vegetable garden as they can also spur on the growth of certain plants especially roses.
Marigold are easy to grow in sunny locations. Growing marigold from seed is the best option for beginners as they grow very quickly with little efforts and the best thing about these flowers their seeds can be preserved to replant.

Citronella geranium (mosquito plant) Perlargonium crispum.
Citronella geranium grows large and bushy with thick foliage of lacy medium-green leaves and produces few pink-purple blossoms during the season.

Like all geraniums, Mosquito Plant needs direct sunlight but can tolerate partial shade, and prefers well drained, moderately rich loamy soil. It makes a great container addition but given room to grow it can reach up to 4 feet high and 2 feet wide. Prune back woody branches to keep plant nicely shaped. Look for the main central stem and cut it back to the preferred height this will promote outward, side stem growth and encourage more blossoms. Add trimmed branches to floral arrangements as the thick leaves provides a good structure for smaller flowers.

Propagation by seed and soft wood cuttings
(Common lantana (lantana camara), Verbenaceae family. Also known as yellow sage or shrub verbena. Lantana has been a popular bedding plant for decades. It has unusual clusters of bicolored flowers bloom on tough, leathery-leaved, shrub-like plants. The unusual blossoms may be in multiple color combinations as yellow, orange, red, pink, purple and white. The foliage grows in upright and sturdy pattern, making it a great container choice and best of all it thrives in nearly all growing conditions especially in low moisture, hot sun and even salty soil. sketters and critters dislike the taste and smell, but butterflies and hummingbirds love it.

Propagate by seed, softwood cuttings. Soak seeds in warm water for 24 hours before planting.

Maintenance and care
Cut back often to keep shaped and bushy. Water when dry, and feed potted plants monthly.

Warning to families with kids and pets:
Some varieties produce a small berry-like fruit that turns black when mature. These are poisonous. So just trim off when they first appear in their green stage.

Lemon grass (Cymbopogon Citratus) has long been used in natural insect repellants, which contain citronella oil. Its plant to grow in the landscape and in containers to use around your patio, outdoor living space, to deter mosquitoes and other bugs.
This edible plant is often grown as an ornamental and grows in a dense, rounded clump reaching up to four feet high and three feet wide. The grassy stems grows out of a think bulbous base. Plant in full sun, but partial shade tolerant, prefers well draining loamy soil, and does best if watered consistently. When this plant benefits from division as it can become root bound. Just slice into the crown with a sharp knife or spade and separate each root clump.
Replant in a pot or in the ground and feed and water until established.

Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
Repels house flies and mosquitoes, plant basil in containers by your house doors and indoor areas where you like to relax or entertain. Basil is also delicious in salad, sauce, soups in many meat and chicken recipes and to flavor certain vegetables including tomatoes and peppers. You can also use it fresh to make an insect repellant spray. Plant 6-8 inches apart in full sun to partial shade.

These five ornamental flowers can help keep plant attacking insects at bay. Keeping your growing areas, living spaces as insect free as possible, will help your vegetable garden stay productive and your ornamental beds attractive.

Here are a few suggestions recommended in addition to using these plants:
Turn your empty outside pots and containers upside down. Drain your birdbath twice a week and refill. Fix all outside facets that drip. One of the best things you can do to keep mosquito populations down is to eliminate any standing water, which is where mosquito breed.