It’s a Bug Eat Me and Plant World

It has been an exhausting summer of heat, low moisture and visits from every insect imaginable in our Zone 5 home landscape.  We pick, we prune, we squish and squash them, we spray and they keep coming.  They are oblivious to the fact that it is your garden and you planted it for your enjoyment.  You can incorporate a few of these “stinky” to insect plants in and around your garden and patio as deterrents to the bothersome bugs.  Some are annuals (one season plants) and others are perennials (multiple growing season plants).  

  1.  Marigolds ~ At this time of the year they will be hard to find, but do put it on your list for use in your 2017 garden.  They are colorful and have a distinctive smell that repels mosquitoes and other garden pests, including squash bugs and tomato hornworms.  Marigolds contain a natural compound used in many insect repellents.
  1.  Lavender ~ Bees love this plant, but other bugs stay away!  Most humans

love the scent which comes from the oils in the leaves and the bugs hate it.  Dried lavender can be placed in areas where clothes are stored to deter moths.  This herb is a perennial and drought resistant.

  1.  Lemon Grass ~ This decorative grass can grow up to 4 feet tall and the leaves contain citronella – the main ingredient in many mosquito repellents.  The actual plant has a stronger smell than the products that contain the ingredient.  In our climate it is treated as an annual, but can be overwintered in a pot indoors.
  1.  Garlic ~ Another mosquito deterrent, but you probably wouldn’t want to use it as your new body splash.  You can spray an extract of garlic freely on garden plants without damage to the leaves.  Planting garlic in and around the garden will also keep away other insects.
  1. Rosemary ~ A wonderful herb for cooking, it repels flies and mosquitos.  Its pungent aroma also repels other bugs and cabbage moths.  This perennial does well in hot weather, but keep evenly moist.  Some gardeners have success overwintering rosemary outside, but is a good herb to dig up, replant in a container and keep it in an area with bright light.
  1.  Basil ~ This herb’s strong aroma keeps mosquitoes away.  Use a grouping of different varieties in decorative patio table arrangement because flies don’t care much for the smell, either!
  2. Catnip ~ Some studies have shown this herb is 10 times more effective than the chemically formed DEET.  So, if you don’t mind rubbing a few of the leaves on your skin to release the oils, the bugs won’t bother you but the neighbor’s cat might.  Keep in mind this plant is a very aggressive and invasive grower.  Plant several in containers and place around the garden.
  3. Petunias ~ A tried and true garden favorite due to their bright colors and sun-loving qualities.  The funnel-shaped blossoms possess a licorice-like scent which aphids, tomato hornworms and squash bugs detest. Keep an eye on petunias because slugs and petunia budworms find them tasty.
  4. Mint ~ Although this plant (like catnip) is aggressive and invasive,  it can be grown in a container to stay in bounds.  The smell and taste we enjoy, mosquitoes, ants, and mice stay away.

Quantities and varieties may be limited, but do plan on placing some of these bug repelling annuals and perennials yet this summer around your garden and patio. Then you can sit back and enjoy a less buggier time as summer winds down.  Come into Creek Side and check out our bug repelling annuals and perennials.  We have petunias, catnip, several mint varieties,  lavender, basil, and rosemary.