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MOSQUITO PLANTS There are two types of plants that are called mosquito plants. One is a member of geranium family that was genetically engineered to incorporate properties of citronella. Citronella only grows in tropical places, but it is a well known repellant for mosquitoes. This plant was created to bring repellant properties of citronella into a hardier plant. It will grow where any geranium will thrive. Many have questioned its usefulness as a mosquito repellant, but it is attractive enough to warrant planting for it's ornamental value.
The other kind of mosquito plant is agastache cana. Its common names include Texas hummingbird mint, bubblegum mint, giant hyssop, or giant hummingbird mint. As you might guess, hummingbirds are quite attracted to it. It is a New Mexico native, also found in parts of Texas. It is, in fact, a member of mint family and its leaves do have a pungent aroma when crushed. In its native habitat, it is perennial, and is usually hardy in USDA Zones 5a-9a. It blooms late summer to early fall, so it catches hummingbirds on their annual migration. The long, medium pink flowers reel in butterflies as well.
CATNIP One of most powerful mosquito repellant plants is ordinary catnip. Recent studies have shown that it is ten times more effective than DEET at repelling mosquitoes. It is a short lived perennial throughout most of United States. It is easy to grow from seed, and quickly reseeds. Aside from its intoxicating effects on cats, leaves make a very soothing tea.
With all of these plants, leaves must be crushed to release aroma. Otherwise mosquitoes can't smell them. And, with rosemary and catnip, you can simply crush a few leaves and rub on your skin and clothing to enhance effect.
So, next time you are revising your plantings, consider using some of these attractive plants to do more than just enhance landscape. You can have pretty ornamentals that also drive mosquitoes away.
Scottie Johnson is a life long mosquito warrior and freelance writer dedicated to eliminating mosquitoes from your life. She is also an organic gardener. For more information about mosquito control in your home and yard, visit her website at http://www.mosquito-kill-net.com/mosquito-plants.html Copyright 2004 All rights reserved.