What Trees and Plants Deter Mosquitoes?
Q.I've been told (whether it is urban myth or not I don't know) that eucalypus bushes and trees deter midges and mosquitoes, I have considered planting one near where we sit to benefit from this. My only concern is that this will then have a knock on effect to other wildlife that visit the garden. I don't think it is a native tree, and don't want the birds and bats that we do get, to not come near due to the addition of this type of tree.
Whilst eucalyptus trees are native to Australia, many UK gardeners successfully grow them too and it is said that they are effective in deterring mosquitoes. However, there are numerous native species which grow here in the UK that are also recommended by other gardeners.
Mint is commonly used as a deterrent for midges and mosquitoes. It’s better, however, if you grow it in pots and situate them around the garden as it has a tendency to grow wild if you just plant it straight into the soil. Furthermore, mint gives off a lovely smell in a garden and you can also use it for cooking. A member of the mint family called the ‘Pennyroyal’ is said to be particularly effective.
Rosemary is another herb used in cooking which is also reputed to be effective. However, you need to bring rosemary in during winter as it will wither and die if you leave it out in cold weather so make sure you plant it in pots which you can then bring indoors when the weather gets harsh.
Other people swear by marigolds which give off a smell that many insects, including mosquitoes find repellent. Actually, humans too can be put off by the smell of marigolds but they are said to be effective at repelling many insects that attack vegetable plants and aphids.
Catnip is another herb which is more commonly associated with being used to stuff toys. There have been claims that the oil given off by this particular plant is ten times better at repelling mosquitoes than DEET which is the most commonly used active ingredient used in mosquito repellent sprays.
Citronella scented geraniums are also used by some gardeners and any citronella candles are also effective if you can bear the pungent smell they give off.
Another more interesting way of getting rid of mosquitoes and midges if you’re not scared of bats is to buy or build your own bat houses if you live in an area which attracts bats.
There are also specialist ‘mosquito plants’ which you’ll often see advertised in mail order catalogues or via the internet although opinions about their effectiveness are very much divided.