Angie’s List Report: Planting insect-repelling plants

While you can always cover yourself and your guests in bug spray, you could take a more natural approach by planting insect-repelling plants around your yard.

Mike Lafollette is a master gardener. He has had plenty of first-hand experience with mosquitos, and that has taught him the tips and tricks to keeping your yard pest-free. 

“My wife actually gets bitten a lot more than I do but we’ve worked hard to keep out yard free of mosquitos,” LaFollette said. “Making sure there’s no standing water and then investing in some mosquito-repelling plants can really help. 

“There are several plants that work well to help keep mosquitos out of your yards. Probably the best would be lemongrass and citronella. There’s also a plant called the mosquito plant which is actually a type of geranium but it also has citronella in it and those would probably be the most effective.”

Angie Hicks — Angie’s List founder — said, “If you’re limited on space, many bug-repelling plants like basil, rosemary, and mint do well in pots as well as in larger garden spaces.”

It’s not just what plants you’re using when it comes to repelling bugs from you and your family. Also, consider where these plants are growing. 

“If you have bug-repelling plants you really want them to be near where you’re going to be spending time in your yard,” LaFollette said. “So typically, you’re going to be sitting on your patio so you’d want them in pots nearby because they’re not going to be effective if you have them across your yard in a garden somewhere so most likely just keep them nearby where you’re going to spend the most time.”

While these plants can be your best defense against unruly pests, some of them — like citronella — can be dangerous if ingested by your pets or kids.  

“If you want to ensure that these plants are safe for your pets and children, the best thing to do is to go online and search for a reputable site, typically something that’s from a university or government site, there are plenty out there and they have good information about what’s safe for your yard,” LaFollette said.

If you still don’t know where to start, Angie says to talk to your local nursery or landscaping pro for some tips and advice on other ways you can naturally keep bugs at bay.

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