I know it is of little comfort to tell you that even the most beautiful of gardens are going to have some insect pests. Whether it is mosquitos, aphids, whiteflies or other little nasty critters they have the amazing ability to cause a lot of damage and frustration but there are ways that we can fight back against the insect hordes that besiege us. While there are sprays and chemicals available for such tasks there are actually plants that we can grow in our garden that can help keep the bugs away from our plants and our skin.
While adding insect-repelling plants to your yard won’t ensure an insect-free environment it can help reduce their numbers which makes placing them on your deck or patio and in your landscape something to consider. Many of these plants have essential oils that repel or even kill insects:
They not only add beauty to the landscape but they also can provide protection to their neighbors:
Marigolds-The scent from marigolds repel aphids above the ground and nematodes below the ground. You can use them in the vegetable garden as well as the flower border.
Chrysanthemums-Mums produce pyrethrum which can kill flying bugs as well as those that crawl or jump. It is also used to repel spider mites, Japanese beetles, ants and ticks. Pyrethrum is often used in insect repellants that are sold in garden centers and stores.
Allium-This bulb is a relative of onions, chives and leeks. They repel numerous insects including slugs, cabbage worms and aphids. Plants that will benefit being near Allium include Tomatoes, Peppers, Potatoes and Broccoli to name a few.
Herbs are a goldmine of plants with insect repelling properties and these are just a few of the herbs that you can use in your garden for this purpose:
Basil-This is a great plant to have near the entrances to your home as they repel house flies and mosquitos. You can also use fresh basil to make a repellant spray. Put 4 to 6 ounces of basil in a container and pour 4 ounces of boiling water on the leaves and let it stand for 3 to 4 hours. Than take the liquid and mix it with 4 ounces of cheap vodka. Place the elixir in a spray bottle and spray yourself before you go outdoors but keep the spray away from your mouth, eyes and nose. You can store the spray in your refrigerator.
Lavender-People love the smell of lavender but insects absolutely hate it! Plant it in sunny areas or near your doors and windows to keep the insects away. You can also use lavender indoors to shoo away houseflies and other indoor pests.
Chives-This plant has properties that repel aphids and Japanese beetles.
Thyme-This herb may be the champion insect repellant! It repels whiteflies, cabbage maggots, corn earworms and tomato hornworms.
Finally, if you really want to be creative you can try to grow carnivorous plants such as pitcher plants and Venus fly traps. These require very moist but sunny conditions so you may try growing them in pots that sit in a saucer of water to try to replicate the boggy conditions that they thrive in when growing in their natural environment.