Ah, Those Summer Nights! Grow These Bug-Repellent Plants to Keep Your Patio Pest-Free

We’ve all been there: you barely break out the cheese plate at your patio party and someone (maybe you) runs inside due to an impromptu mosquito attack. Summer soirees are ruined before they can start because of these party-crashing pests, and aside from donning a citronella suit, what can you do? Enter this arsenal of plants-turned-bug repellent that you can grow in your garden, window boxes, and planters to keep bugs at bay so you can enjoy your rosé all day (or night).

Do Plants Really Repel Bugs, and How?

Yes they do, and I’ll explain. The secret lies in an insect’s sense of smell, essentially. Or, more accurately, their receptors. Certain types of plants block the receptors that insects use to find us—they do this by masking our scent with the plant’s natural fragrances. It stands to reason, then, that planting more plants (and the right kind) makes for a stronger defense against these little rascals.

Which Plants Should I Grow to Repel Bugs?

Rosemary

Nemesis of: mosquitos and flies

Know before you grow: This herb is perfect for container gardens, and it’s relatively low-maintenance, provided it gets enough sunlight (six to eight hours). It does best when you let the soil dry out between waterings.

Lavender

Nemesis of: mosquitos, moths, flies, and fleas

Know before you grow: Insects may be repelled, but you’ll love the smell of this fragrant perennial. Lavender thrives in full sun (at least eight hours) and a dry, arid climate. Well-drained soil is important, so choose a planter that has drainage holes.

Mint

Nemesis of: mosquitos

Know before you grow: Since this plant tends to take over and spread easily, it’s the perfect plant for pots and window boxes, which keep it contained. For optimal growth, add a thin layer of compost or organic fertilizer every three to four months.

Basil                                                                                                         

Nemesis of: mosquitos and flies

Know before you grow: Basil requires a lot of sunlight (at least six hours a day). Water it evenly when the top soil is dry to the touch. This herb makes the perfect companion plant, as you can grow it with other herbs, like fellow bug-repellent chives.

Chives

Nemesis of: flies, aphids, and Japanese beetles

Know before you grow: Easy-to-grow herbs, chives are also versatile when it comes to where they are planted (as long as they get full sun for at least six hours per day). Plant them in containers, window boxes, or in the ground in your outdoor area. Chives are the triple threat of plants: they repel insects, bloom with gorgeous violet flowers, and can be picked at will for use in your favorite recipes.

Lemongrass

Nemesis of: mosquitos

Know before you grow: Purchase a lemongrass plant at the nursery or simply buy some stalks from the grocery store. This plant loves the sun and well-drained soil. When growing in container gardens, re-pot the plants to larger containers when needed, as the roots can become easily crowded.

Nasturtiums

Nemesis of: beetles, aphids, whiteflies, and squash bugs

Know before you grow: These flowering beauties are perfect for your summer garden. Plant in pots, window boxes, raised gardens, in the ground (they are a great ground cover for poor soil), and anywhere that gets full sun. Water only when the soil dries out, and then water directly around the roots.

Bee Balm

Nemesis of: mosquitos

Know before you grow: Also called wild bergamot, this perennial comes in blooms of red, purple, pink, or white. Plant it in full sun and keep the soil evenly moist when watering. As part of the mint family, this fragrant flowering plant will spread quickly, and will need to be trimmed back regularly.

Marigolds

Nemesis of: mosquitos and aphids

Know before you grow: Plant them as ground cover, bedding for your garden, or as a container garden plant. These bright beauties thrive in full sun, and grown best in dry or moist soil. Be sure to deadhead any dried, dead blossoms to extend the blooming time and increase the amount of blooms.

Citronella Grass

Nemesis of: mosquitos

Know before you grow: Citronella grass is easy to grow, and grows best in full sun (six hours or more) conditions. A low-maintenance plant, it can be planted directly into the ground or in large planters. Prune away yellow or dying leaves to keep it healthy.

Which Planters Should I Use for Bug-Repellent Plants?

Large planters and window boxes are perfect places for bug-repellent plants; planters can be placed where you want to grow them (around an outdoor seating area, for example) and window boxes prevent pests from flying into open windows during hot summer days.

Our wrought-iron window boxes are powder-coated so that they are rust-resistant, and come with liner options that include real copper (a natural insect repellent). Available in several decorative designs, these window boxes are easy to mount directly to your home’s exterior, and also on porch, balcony, and deck railings and fences.

For All Your Gardening Needs…

Visit us at www.windowbox.com or call us today: 1-888-427-3362.

Photo credits: Rosemary photo courtesty of Glen MacLarty.

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