After a long, cold winter, most people are anxious and excited to get outside and enjoy sitting on their patio. The warm summer sun feels so good on the face and there’s nothing like enjoying a cold drink on a hot day while sitting in your favorite patio chair. Life would be oh so perfect in the summer, but there is one pesky thing about the summer that is a common problem—insects. So how does one enjoy their patio without lathering up in sticky, smelly bug repellents? Well, there is a simple solution and one that is often not thought of: your garden.
So forget gross bug repellents and sprays! Here are 10 plants and herbs that you can plant in the garden that will not only repel insects but make your space beautiful at the same time.
A common flower in many patio planters, geraniums can also be planted in the garden to keep away mosquitos. Planting geraniums in the flower bed makes it possible to enjoy your patio, morning and night when these pesky insects are the worst. These flowers can also keep other pests at bay to protect your garden. Beetles, for example, can be detrimental to fruits and vegetables, so it’s common practice to plant geraniums around the garden bed to keep such pests out of the garden.
If you’re after something that’s low maintenance and will keep the bugs away, look no further than the petunia. These flowers are popular because they come in a wide variety of bright, pretty colors but they also repel several insects. Asparagus beetles, tomato hornworms, leafhoppers, aphids, and squash bugs are on the list of insects who will be avoiding these beautiful flowers. Petunias don’t require actual planting in a garden either since they are available in pretty much every decorative planter and hanging basket. Adding petunias to your patio is a quick and easy way to keep the bugs away.
Marigolds are a great addition to any garden. They come in a beautiful red or orange and help to keep away mosquitoes and black flies. It’s common to plant them along the vegetable garden bed as well. Not only will this add a pop of color to your garden but it will help to keep away pests like the tomato hornworm. You can also get some very beautiful potted marigolds to add directly onto your patio to brighten up the space and keep the bugs away.
Many insects tend to avoid this plant due to it containing a neurotoxin called Pyrethrin which kills insects but is safe for animals. The list of insects this plant can repel is extensive —roaches, ants, Japanese beetles, ticks, silverfish, lice, fleas, bedbugs, spider mites, harlequin bugs and root-knot nematodes. Not only is this plant stunning but it masters the job of repelling insects.
Everyone knows about citronella. When summer comes, one of the first things we bring out to keep mosquitoes away is a citronella candle. But does everyone know that citronella is actually a natural oil found in Lemongrass? Lemongrass is ornamental and can grow up to four feet tall and three feet wide in one season. So not only is the plant superior at keeping mosquitoes away, it adds a flare of greenery to your garden or patio.
Basil is practical for so many reasons. Chop it up and put in a salad, puree it into a soup, blend it into sauces or even top a pizza with whole leaves of basil. Just make sure that you plant lots of this super herb and keep it in planter boxes near windows and doorways on the patio because when you are not using it for cooking, it will keep away mosquitoes and house flies.
Lavender is a great bug repellent, but what is it exactly that makes this plant so powerful? The answer to that question is linalool. This is a compound found in lavender that contributes to the scent of the plant. There are lots of other plants and herbs that contain linalool but lavender is considered to be one of the most effective due to its high linalool content. Plant lavender in your garden in sunny areas or add it to patio pots. You can also hang tied bundles around your patio and indoors.
Mint is another herb that also contains linalool making it a great addition to your garden. Much like the basil mentioned earlier, this plant pulls double duty as you can harvest your mint and use it for salads, cooking, mojitos, or even brew your mint tea extra strong and then freeze it into ice cubes for refreshing drinks all summer long. No matter how you use the mint when it grows, while it’s in your garden it will handle the pesky insects.
Sage is suitable for cooking but that isn’t the only reason why you should plant this herb. Sage is a perennial that you can enjoy year after year in your garden but it will also help you keep unwanted pests out. Also, for those late summer night campfires, you can pull a little sage from the garden and burn it in the fire. The incenses emitted when burnt not only smells good but are unpleasant for most insects and will keep them away.
While this one may not be shocking as most everyone knows that citronella keeps mosquitoes away, it might not be commonly known that citronella is actually a grass that you can plant in your garden. You should be aware that that grass can grow up to 6 feet tall by 6 feet wide so make sure to leave ample spacing for it. Citronella products have a limited effect since the oils evaporate faster so having the real deal around is a more effective solution.