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Plants are good in so many ways. Many are beautiful to look at, a display of colors, flowers, shapes, and twirling tendrils, or spikes and spines, if that’s what you are into. Some of them smell wonderful, filling the room with fragrances that are sweet and simple, others tempt our taste buds. Some can be good for cleaning the air, attractants for beneficial insects like bees and butterflies, or spirit-lifting hobbies over which to preen. Gardening is said to be a great thwarter of gloominess. Of course, lots of plants provide food, not just for our souls, but for our bellies.
For all of those uses, with a mosquito buzzing around your ears, there is but one quality that seems to matter: which plants repel household pests? Flies, mosquitoes, ants, roaches, ticks, fleas – is there anything we can grow to rid of these problems? Unsurprisingly, there is. Even better, most of those plants — all beautiful — can also be used as food and medicine. So, before the bugs get back to biting, get these plants in a pot and that pot in your house.
Basil is a popular and versatile culinary herb and featured in many types of cuisines, including Mediterranean, Thailand, Indian, and more. In addition to being tasty, basil has high medicinal and nutritional value. What’s more, it’s a very easy plant to grow, one that’ll happily reside on a sunny windowsill with regular watering from the kitchen sink. Better yet, put the plants by doors coming in from outside. They deter both houseflies and mosquitoes. Basil can also be boiled into teas/sprays that will help keep bugs at bay.
Lemongrass is a clumping herb that works for garden borders, helping to prevent erosion while repelling insects. It’s aces for mosquitos because it contains the ever-popular citronella. As with any culinary herb, lemongrass has a host of medicinal values, and it works especially great for adding a citrus zing to broth-y soups. One problem: though it’s a perennial plant, it doesn’t survive the cold well. It can be grown in pots and brought indoors, or it can be treated as an annual and planted anew every year. Lemongrass can be tied together in bouquets, or it can be used to infuse vodka (alcohol) to make homemade mosquito repellent.
Culinary herbs work well for deterring pesky insects because they have such strong flavors and aromas, and mint is most definitely in that category. Not only does it make great tea, freshen breath, and compliment desserts, it disgusts troublesome household visitors like mosquitos, ants, and spiders. Additionally, peppermint is said to be useful in battling the always unpopular cockroaches. Mint is also another easy plant to grow, often so veracious it will overtake gardens in weed-like fashion. Grow it in pots where you can, or create tinctures (or buy essential oils) that can be dripped in pantries and shelves to help with creepers.
Why stop listing culinary herbs when we’ve got a good thing going! Another plant with a strong scent and fantastic flavor, rosemary is a herb that mosquitoes do not particularly approve of. For that matter, it is also useful in deterring many garden pests that might be after the veggies. It can be grown in pots and trimmed into attractive shapes, not quite bonsai-style but not far off. Plus, it is just so much more appealing to repel pests, including ticks and fleas, with something we can eat rather than a chemical that we shouldn’t be putting on our skin or breathing in. Boil it to make a spray or simply put dried bouquets around the house.
Not typically used in the kitchen, though some creative chefs do so sparingly in sweets, lavender is another pest pestering plant that has added attributes to justify growing it. Obviously, there are beautiful purple flowers, but more interestingly, the scent of lavender is known to calm us, helping to melt stresses away. Oddly enough, that same soothing scent has the opposite effect on moths, fleas, ticks, flies, and mosquitoes, all of which find it utterly insufferable. It can be grown in pots or garden beds with good drainage, and it would also be a good idea near doorways. Just clip lavender and put in vases around the house for a useful and beautiful display.
More fun and fascinating than exceptionally effective, Venus flytraps are curious plants to keep around the house, and as we all know, they aren’t so much bug repellents and bug consumers. They are a bit of a novelty plant, though extracts from Venus flytraps have been used to treat several chronic diseases, such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, AIDS, and herpes. However, it would probably be best to consult a trained professional for such endeavors. In the meantime, keep one in the house to naturally handle the pests that are already there.
It’s a win in many ways. Growing some plants to help with household pests equates to having all sorts of healthy organic ingredients around, creating a soothing and sweet-smelling environment and avoiding harmful chemicals. What a deal!
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