Have you heard of the Mosquito plant? I picked one up from Home Depot the other day for about 8 dollars, I had never heard of this plant but living in Florida in what seems like mosquito headquarters I figured I would try it out.
I am always looking for new and safe ways to repel those pesky insects. The Mosquito Plant works similar to Marigolds in that the aroma should ward off pests in the garden.
What is a Mosquito Plant?
A Mosquito Plant is a perennial. Its leaves are similar in shape and size to Geraniums. It has the aroma of citronella within its leaves.
It is a plant that you can plant directly in the ground in warmer regions but is normally grown in a nice pot. Its other common name is a Citronella Plant. The Mosquito Plant is actually a combination of Chinese Lemon Grass and an African Geranium. A true Citronella plant resembles Lemon Grass while the Mosquito Plant resembles Parsley or the Geranium.
It is a gentle form of pest control but some people have reactions to citronella so before you go rubbing the crushed leaves all over your skin you may want to try a small section to test for allergies.
What the Mosquito Plant Does and Its Care
The citronella smell that the plant expels is supposed to ward off mosquitos and other pests outside. It is hardy year round in zones 9-11 but must be brought in during winter in all other climates. These plants prefer 6 hours of full sun but can tolerate some partial shade. It is fairly drought tolerant but prefers moderately rich soil. It grows 2 to 4 ft tall.
You should pinch off new growth to encourage becoming bushy.
These plants love a good pruning once in awhile. The mosquito Plant can be propagated by layering. Just force one of the stems into the soil and place a small rock on the stem to hold it down. Once the stem develops roots, simply snip it before the roots start and plant in a new pot.
When the leaves of the Mosquito Plant are crushed and rubbed on the skin it does help prevent mosquitos from swarming you while walking in the woods. I live on 15 acres with about 5 being wooded and I can attest that this works well.
Where to Place Your Mosquito Plant
It is recommended to place your Mosquito Plant where it will get the most use and where you will benefit the most from its placement. In zones 9-11 these plants can be added to the ground at the same time as when tomatoes are planted. Place them about 18″ apart.
Suggestions for placement:
- around the pool deck
- in the gazebo on a table
- an entrance to the home
- on tables on a patio
- near the grill or picnic table
- in pots near children’s play areas
- hanging baskets from the porch or deck
- in a border in the vegetable garden
Controversy Surrounding the Mosquito Plant
There are always two sides when debating whether something works. Some people say that having the plant does nothing and that the mosquitos swarm the plant like all other plants.
I can only speak from experience when saying that since I bought this single plant and placed it on the table on the deck, I can now sit and work or eat or just relax and I do not get attacked like I did before placing the plant there.
I also have crushed some leaves and rubbed it on my legs when I feed my chickens as I usually get attacked by mosquitos near the coop. With these plant leaves rubbed on my legs I successfully fed my chickens and walked around the outside of the coop and received absolutely no bites from mosquitos.
Opinions vary, but my opinion is that the Mosquito Plant works. It is the best 8 dollars I spent and I am considering buying a lot more plants this week.
Do you own a Mosquito Plant? What is your opinion?
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