Pesky outdoor insects are typically thought of as a summertime annoyance. However, when unusually warm weather occurs throughout the county during other seasons like in winter, that can mean itchy insect bites and bugs bugging you. You may be thinking that the outdoors are the insects’ home, so why should we be forcing them out when they were probably here first?
In sharing nature, humans, animals, insects, and plants all need to, and can, work together to create a more harmonious world to live in. As people, we need to understand that our decisions and actions impact the environment and quality of life for all living things around us. Regardless if you have a big garden for planting, a small patio, or a private balcony area, there are plants and herbs that you can have around to help to repel those not so welcomed flies, mosquitoes, ticks, and gnats instead of using hazardous chemical filled sprays and lotions on our bodies or killing bugs by attacking them with deadly, toxic sprays.
There are also alternatives to planting insect repelling plants in the ground or in a patio container. If you are really tight on outdoor space or the weather does not permit the growth of certain plants in your area, consider keeping an open container of dried crushed leaves from the plant for its repelling scent and to rub on skin as a natural insect repellant. Otherwise, keep the following three plants and herbs growing near doorways and social areas around your yard for a bug-free party or relaxation time.
You may find the oil of the rosemary shrub to smell and taste lovely, but insects would disagree. The woody scent of this herb keeps away annoying mosquitoes, carrot flies, and cabbage moths from landing on it and anything near it, namely your exposed skin. Rosemary should be planted in well draining soil with regular watering only after the soil has thoroughly dried out. This shrub does great in full sun in hot climates but can also tolerate some shade and cold winters — it’s resilient to the core!
This plant contains citronella and has a lemony scent that mosquitoes, flies, gnats, and ticks hate and cannot stand but smells relaxing to humans. It also offers flavor to cooking. Lemongrass is a tender perennial, meaning that it’s a plant that grows all year-round, and prefers full sun (at least six hours a day) and good draining soil. It is more of a warm climate plant, so it won’t tolerate freezing temperatures. Therefore, it is best to plant lemongrass in a moveable container if you live in an area where the temps can drop to freezing in the winter.
The pleasant fragrance of the lavender plant comes from essential oils found on its leaves which has been discovered to be displeasing to insects like mosquitoes and wild animals. Once a lavender plant is established, it becomes strong and drought resistant. Like lemongrass, lavender needs full sun, good drainage, and warm weather, and grows well in containers to be moved around to chase the sun in cooler climate areas. Keep this flowering perennial around throughout the year to create a bug-free zone.
Don’t let irritating insects ruin outside enjoyment. Consider plants like rosemary, lemongrass, and lavender to naturally repel pesky insects throughout the year by having them nearby or rubbing the leaves on your skin as a truly natural bug “spray” in place of toxic manufactured concoctions. Your body and the environment will thank you!
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