living a well tended life... at any age

favor-“ette”: mosquito plant

Me.

Summer.

Mosquitoes.

We are quite the threesome each year – me being the one covered in bites.  And I’ve tried everything, in the hopes of avoiding both DEET and itchy uncomfortable bites. Candles, “natural” repellents, you name it.

So you could imagine my reaction when I saw these at the nursery:

mosquito plant

They were literally labelled “Mosquito Plants”. And I scooped up a few without thinking twice.

They are actually scented geraniums, whose lemony fragrance closely mimics that of citronella. The nursery owner told me to take a few leaves and rub them on my skin to release the oils.

I figured I had nothing to lose, and the other night I gave it a try. I rubbed the leaves on my forearms, but not my legs. And whaddya know – NO bites on my arms and several on my legs and feet!

mosquito plant

Now thoroughly intrigued, I did a little research on-line and discovered several plants that are reputed to have insect-repellent properties (a few I even have in my own gardens!).

Have you tried this? Do you have any sure-fire methods for keeping pesky bugs at bay? Let’s share!

Note: You’ll want to do a “test” on a small patch of skin, to make sure to avoid any potential allergic reaction.

10 Comments

  1. meredith on July 10, 2013 at 10:09 am

    we had an outdoor space in the last place we lived and we had an amazing number of mosquitos. We found these through a friend and planted them around the outdoor space. Every time we went out we rubbed the leaves to let the sent out and wouldn’t you know it…no more mosquitos. I can never find them up here though, do you a recommend a place locally that sells them?

    • sherisilver on July 10, 2013 at 10:24 am

      Carlson’s, on Dobbs Ferry Road!

  2. Jodi on July 10, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    I had one of these plants last summer but didn’t know about rubbing the leaves on my skin. No wonder I still got bites! Every year I go through 2 cans of Deep Woods Off, stink to high heaven, and still get bitten up. I will try the plant again!

    • sherisilver on July 10, 2013 at 5:01 pm

      Oh good – let me know and check out that article with the other plants – maybe you have some in your garden already! xo

      • Jodi on July 12, 2013 at 8:30 am

        The herb and plant farmer at my local farmer’s market recommended lemon verbena. I bought one, rubbed it on my feet, and proceeded to get 3 bites! I have lavender, catmint, rosemary and basil in my garden. Tonight’s task: rub EVERYTHING all over. Worst case, I’ll smell heavenly!

        • sherisilver on July 12, 2013 at 5:28 pm

          You certainly will – good luck! xo

  3. Jackie on July 10, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    The basil really works. Years ago we had a friend with a porch table with several basil plants on one side. We noticed that anyone sitting in the seat next to the basil was free of bites, but everyone else was covered!

    • sherisilver on July 11, 2013 at 6:36 am

      Really? And basil is one of the plants listed in the article I linked to. Good to know!

  4. Katherin on July 25, 2013 at 11:32 pm

    Taking Vitamin B1 or a B complex is supposed to work.

    Neem oil or cream works too!

    • sherisilver on July 26, 2013 at 7:05 am

      I’ll try anything! 🙂

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