There was an interesting article by Dr Jacqueline A. Soule that was entitled “Repel Mosquitos with Landscape Plants “ in the latest issue of Southwest Trees and Turf that seems worthwhile to paraphrase.
We have been hearing a lot about the Zika virus of late and its transmission by mosquitos. Cases have now been found in south Florida stemming from local mosquitos. These same species of mosquitos can also transmit West Nile virus, malaria, yellow fever and dengue fever.
While the Zika virus is not expected in Sonoma County, it is still a benefit to our community to do our part and help control mosquitos by removing any standing water on our properties. Some species of mosquitos can breed in as little as a cupped shaped leaf .
We can also do more. We can plant landscape plants that are natural mosquito repellents. Not by themselves – but when their foliage is bruised or crushed oils within are released that are contained in the plant cells.
There are many plants that have chemical compounds (think citronella) shown to deter mosquitos. Most of these plants are highly fragrant often with citrus like scents. Phytochemicals such as caracrol, citronellol, eucalyptal, nerol, gerabiol and thymol can be found in landscape suitable plants. Many of these plants are also suited for our Sonoma County climate and landscapes and as importantl are water wise.
Following is a list of potential mosquito repelling plants well suited for Sonoma County gardens:
Agastache foeniculum (Anise Hyssop)
Agastache cana (Texus Hummingbird Mint)
Aloysia triphylla (Lemon Verbena)
Nepeta mussinii (Catmint)
Nepeta x faassenii ‘Walkers Low’
Phyla nodiflora (Lippia)
Tagetes lemonii ‘Bush Marigold’
Thymus x citriodora (Lemon Thyme)
By the way, Phyla nodiflora can be used as a lawn substitute!
Once planted, mosquito repelling plants can become a conversation starter at your next party. Imagine asking your friends to bruise a plant to repel mosquitos!