As the long days of summer quickly approach and we begin to spend more time outside enjoying suppers on the patio and relaxing fireside conversations, we are also noticing the arrival of uninvited guests; mosquitoes, flies, and moths, to name just a few. Of course, the presence of insects is a natural and essential aspect of a healthy garden. The challenge comes in managing the ‘pests’ – those ankle-biting “no-see-ums”, or the march-inside-the-house sorts of pests. Although they do no harm to the microcosmic health of our garden, or to ourselves, they can cause minor discomfort and disrupt our outdoor relaxation.
We, as organic gardeners, believe in treading gently when controlling pests by using natural solutions whenever possible. The following are examples of plants that can help repel, or at least deter, some common pests in a safe and natural practice. As is always the case when making plant selections, it’s important to understand the plant’s benefits and possible hazards. For instance, while rue may be effective at deterring pests it is toxic to both cats and dogs. Examples of plants that are toxic to pets are wormwood, eucalyptus, pennyroyal, citronella, tansy, and sweet bay, among others.
Plants to Repel Mosquitoes: Agastache cana (mosquito plant), catmint, rosemary, basil, lavender, scented geraniums, beebalm, mint, rue, marigolds, and Cedronella canariensis
Plants to Deter Ticks: lavender, garlic, pennyroyal, Pyrethrum, sage, beautyberry, Eucalyptus, and mint
Spring is a great time to be thinking about which pest-repelling plants would suit your landscape. Many of the plants mentioned in this article are available at the Nursery and can be planted now.