Summertime is almost here and what better way is there to spend it than soaking up some sun and enjoying the beauty of fresh, fragrant flowers? Two things that can ruin your good times are sunburn and mosquitos. But there are some plants that you can enjoy in the shade and use to fend off those bloodthirsty bugs. Here are eleven of our favorite shrubs that will get the job done:
A perennial herb, they are orb-shaped, and each biodegradable flower contains up to one hundred small florets. The Allium genus includes other species like chives, onions, and garlic. Its pungent odor and insecticidal compound make it resistant to insects and small animals. Be sure to plant them deep in the soil along the edges of the flower bed.
There are four compounds that irritate and confuse mosquitoes in basil. It can grow in partial shade but should be given at least six hours of sunlight per day. Place it in the right spot to catch the morning sun but be shaded later in the day. An annual plant, it is frost-sensitive and should be grown in warmer temperatures in light soil that drains easily and has a steady supply of water.
Although the best way to grow catnip is in the full sun, it is capable of surviving in partial shade. It contains an odorous essential oil called nepetalactone that attracts cats but is more powerful than the insect repellent, Deet, in warding off mosquitos.
Catnip can be invasive, so reduce seeding by cutting it to the ground after it has flowered. The soil should release water well and be kept moist.
This plant is commonly confused with the citronella grass added to candles to fight off mosquitos. This flower is known for its pleasant aroma. Depending on the location, Citronella can be a perennial or an annual and must be planted in rich, moist soil. Be sure you are not confusing it with citronella grass as the latter is not shade-tolerant.
This flower is an annual and a part of the daisy family. They are bright and vibrant when in bloom, and the mass of hair-like petals makes them look like pom-poms. It has a naturally occurring chemical, coumarin, often used in insecticides. This plant kills 100% of larvae and repels adult mosquitos. It is toxic if ingested by people and pets, so use caution. Keep the floss flower hydrated. Once mature, this plant can survive droughts.
This perennial herb from the Allium family can be used for several purposes. Many turn to garlic when in search of a natural way to keep mosquitos at bay. Extracts from amino acids produced by garlic bulbs are even sprayed on other plants to upset the senses of invasive insects. In warm climates, it can live on as little as four hours of sunlight and adequate moisture. Garlic is an annual, so it will need to be uprooted and replanted every year.
Although most varieties of lavender love sunlight, there are some that are shade tolerant. The size and smell will be impacted by the lack of sun, but English and Spanish lavender will grow under low light. Make sure the soil drains and dries well to avoid fungus. The strong smell of the blooms tends to be avoided by insects and can be used to freshen your home.
Another perennial that derives from the mint family is Lemon Balm. The fragrant lemon scent is accompanied by a hint of mint, and it has little white flowers that bloom in the summertime, attracting pollinating insects while driving away pests. Commonly used in herbal tea, it can help with headaches and stomach issues and can help to heal after injury. Lemon Balm is receptive to shady conditions and should be trimmed regularly to maintain health.
The stench of the substance in the marigold plant called pyrethrum is unappealing, especially to mosquitos. An easy-to-grow annual, it can be sustained in partial shade. The soil should be loose and have adequate drainage. Plant them throughout the summer and keep them indoors when frost is present.
Perennial herbs of the Mentha genus, mint species vary in tolerance to shade by location but are easy to care for. They have a high rate of growth and can be very invasive. Planting them in a pot can keep them from overtaking other herbs in your garden. The menthol odor is pleasant to humans but repulsive to mosquitos, rodents, and cockroaches. Like Lemon Balm, it has medicinal properties and should be trimmed, harvested, and well-watered to promote growth.
The piney scent of rosemary will run mosquitos away. A highly effective way of using it is to put it on a grill and let the smoke that it emits keep the area insect-free while adding a hint of flavor to your food. It is a perennial, tolerant of some shade and cooler temperatures. The roots should be undisturbed, and moisture should easily dissipate from the soil. Use light, sandy soil and avoid those with clay.