Flies and mosquitoes can wreck an otherwise pleasant time outdoors. The good news is that there are some plants that naturally repel these insects. People who spend a great deal of time outdoors may want to consider placing certain plants in strategic spots to help repel unwanted pests. Flies and mosquitoes are not only nuisances, but they also can carry diseases. Using plants that repel insect pests is a natural way to decrease their numbers without the use of harsh chemicals.
Citronella candles are sold in stores as repellents for mosquitoes and other insects. Citronella oil comes from citronella grass, and growing this grass is an alternative to purchasing the candles. Citronella is a tropical grass that can grow as high as 6 feet. It's a perennial that does best in full sun. This type of grass may not survive cold winters. It grows in clumps rather than spreading by runners.
Catnip is a perennial herb that belongs to the mint family. According to Science Daily, the oil in catnip that gives it a characteristic odor is as much as 10 times more effective than DEET at repelling mosquitoes. Catnip plants grow to about 3 feet tall and have purple flowers. These plants are easy to grow, once established.
Basil is an herb that can be grown for cooking purposes and is enjoyed in salads and spaghetti sauces. An added advantage of growing this herb is that it repels both flies and mosquitoes. Basil can be grown in containers or placed near the front door. A pretty plant that's easy to grow, basil in a container can be brought along on a picnic to help keep flies away.
Rosemary repels mosquitoes as it grows. It's an attractive plant which can grow to a height of 6 feet. Rosemary is a hardy shrub with light blue flowers. Planting rosemary around the patio keeps the air smelling fresh while keeping mosquitoes away.
A variety of other plants repel flies and mosquitoes. Lavender can be grown in containers and placed anywhere that help is needed to repel pests such as mosquitoes, moths and fleas. Pennyroyal is a form of mint with fragrant leaves that helps keep away both mosquitoes and flies. Mountain tobacco is an ornamental plant that also acts as an insect repellent.