The problem of mosquitoes in the summer season is for some a very serious matter, to be faced with meticulous attention and perhaps with a good, well-planned strategy. We have given you some information on these warlike blood-sucking insects , suggesting some good natural remedies to soothe the annoying itch of their stings and valid alternatives , completely natural, to the most common chemical repellents on the market.
Many of these repellents, in fact, contain amounts of DEET (diethyltoluamide) ranging from 5% to 25% and there are considerable concerns about the potential toxic effects that these substances can have in the long term, especially on children.
This is why once again our advice is to resort to mother nature and choose a 100% green solution : grow one of these five anti-mosquito plants.
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They are readily available and simple to grow and can help you in the tough fight against these ravenous insects.
- Lemongrass (Cymbopogon nardus)
- Monarda (Monarda punctata)
- Marigold (Calendula Officinalis)
- Agerate (Ageratum houstonianum)
- Catnip (Nepeta Cataria)
Lemongrass (Cymbopogon nardus)
Citronella is a perennial herbaceous plant, evergreen, native to southern Asia that is the most used natural ingredient in the formulation of anti mosquito repellents . The characteristic smell of the plant is able to mask the attractants produced by our body, making it more difficult for the insect to locate our location.
Although Citronella is used in many products such as scented CANDLES , torches or oils, the plant is certainly more effective as it has a more pronounced odor.
If grown in the garden or near the patio, it should be planted behind small ornamental flowers and shrubs . Alternatively, it can be planted in a pot of adequate size, perhaps placed on a support with wheels, so as to be easily moved according to our needs and stored in sheltered areas during the winter.
In garden centers it is generally possible to find small potted plants ready to be placed in the ground or transplanted into a larger container, but be careful: when buying, make sure that the plants are Cymbopogon Nardus or Cymbopogon Winterianus . Often, in fact, the ones sold to us are not real Citronella plants and their repellent properties are not comparable to that of the original plant.
Monarda (Monarda punctata)
Monarda is a perennial plant belonging to the Lamiaceae family and native to North America. It is very simple to grow, with great adaptability and has repellent properties similar to those of lemongrass . In fact, it gives off an intense smell similar to incense that is able to confuse mosquitoes .
Monarda grows rapidly and prefers full sun exposure . It is very hardy and also tolerates dry periods well.
Its leaves, if dried, can be used to make an excellent tea of soft drinks or in scented bags. Its essence recalls that of bergamot.
Marigold (Calendula Officinalis)
Commonly cultivated as ornamental plants, because of their colorful flowers, marigolds are very resistant and emit an intense odor that is very unpleasant to mosquitoes and also to many gardeners. The plant contains pyrethrum , a compound widely used in mosquito repellents.
Marigolds prefer full sun exposure and fairly fertile soil. If grown in pots, it can be placed in strategic areas such as the house entrance or window sills. In addition to repelling mosquitoes, marigolds also keep many tomato plant pests away . We suggest you plant some in your garden .
Agerate (Ageratum houstonianum)
About sixty species belong to the genus Ageratum , including annuals and perennials, all native to North America. Its repellent ability is due to the presence of coumarin , a substance that mosquitoes find particularly unwelcome.
The Agerato is easily recognizable due to its blue flowers , although on the market you can find specimens with pink, white or purple flowering.
This plant prefers an exposure in full sun or in any case, where it can be exposed to rays for at least 4/5 hours a day. It does not require particularly fertile soils.
The leaves of Agerato can be collected and crushed to increase the smell and therefore the effectiveness, but direct use on the skin is strongly not recommended.
5. Catnip(Nepeta Cataria)
Catnip is an unsuspected and effective natural repellent. In a study conducted last year by entomologists at Iowa State University, this plant was found to be ten times more effective than the DEET contained in chemical repellents .
According to Chris Peterson, one of the researchers who conducted the study, the reason for its effectiveness is still unknown. “It could be simply because it acts as an irritant or because of the odor that mosquitoes don’t like. But still no one can confirm it “.
Nepeta cataria is very easy to grow and requires very little care . Its repellent ability can be amplified if used directly on the skin. Of course, if you have a cat, consider choosing another of these mosquito repellent plants.
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These plants have demonstrated their repellent properties in the field, but pay attention to their location : there are, in fact, environmental variants to take into consideration. A light breeze could disperse its smell, drastically reducing its effectiveness and allowing mosquitoes to happily feast on our blood.