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SAGE ADVICE Q:

rubbed on your pet. (Now I don’t have to wear a flea collar.) While the plant isn’t native and grows best in zones 8-10, it can be treated as an annual in my garden and an honored guest along with its friends citronella and wild geranium--which also happen to deter insects.

Are there any anti-mosquito plants or gardening solutions for those of us who are mosquito magnets?

Inspired by an off-hand remark made by our guide while touring the 9th century Moorish fortress and palace gardens of Alhambra in Granada, I decided to research anti-mosquito plants. As we traipsed through the fountained and tourist-plagued gardens, our guide drew our attention to the myrtle bushes that created a boxwood-like parterre in many of the garden “rooms.” These myrtles may be a natural gardening solution for those of us who are mosquito magnets.

But let's get back to Google. My search for “anti-mosquito plants” listed some other great options: lavender, marigolds, citronella grass, catnip, rosemary, basil, bee balm, garlic, lemon grass, pennyroyal (not safe on skin), scented geraniums, floss flower, peppermint, lemon balm, mint, and sage. As I look at the choices, I figure, if they don’t work, there still is an upside: many of these plants are pollinator friendly or are edible herbs which can flavor my recipes much like the herb section of potager.

Unlike the unwelcome and annoying myrtle vines that a landscaper planted as ground cover in my flower beds 25 years ago, this Myrtus communis, myrtle bush, he claimed, is part of an ancient anti-mosquito recipe.

Also, these plants can double as a floral arrangement: stuff a bunch of sprigs in a jar for a BBQ centerpiece providing beauty and fending off ankle biters.

While mosquitos shun my husband (he can sit sipping wine on the patio for hours), they zero in on me and I end up retreating inside within minutes. Our guide may have come up with a horticultural cure for our separate tables.

Editor’s note: 2018 Freeman Medal winner Pycnanthemum muticum is also known to deter pesky mosquitos.

He insists that the myrtle, when planted near citronella and wild geranium, is a botanical mosquito deterrent.

Thanks to Sarah Fleming, Chairman Zone IV, Rumson Garden Club, for sharing her Sage Advice.

The Google definition of Myrtus communis  states that this wonder plant also deters fleas if

The Real Dirt

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Spring

Profile for The Garden Club of America

The Real Dirt, Spring 2019, Issue 51  

The Real Dirt, Spring 2019, Issue 51