Very few people like bugs. Even if they do, there’s a limit to how many bugs can run with virtuous freedom before it’s time to call an exterminator. No one wants their home or office to smell like Raid or Off! People use plants in their offices, homes, and gardens for plenty of reasons. Primarily, curb appeal is a strong reason people will pick a home or not. If the front yard is dingy and dark, they expect the inside to be as well. If this spring you’re working on beautifying a property, make your front yard do twice the job for half the work. Which plants not only look beautiful but help ward off infestations? Perhaps not full infestations, but these pretty plants will do more good than harm instead of the other way around.
Marigolds are beautiful, bulbous plants that have been a garden favorite for ages. They have a brilliant orange to yellow pigment that bring light and joy to any dismal, dank room that could do with a bit of levity. They’ve also been used to keep bugs out by planting in between produce, according to the Farmer’s Almanac. Marigolds contain a natural insecticide called pyrethrin. According to the EPA, it affects nerve function to cause paralysis until death in pests.
Another flowering beauty, chrysanthemums also contain pyrethrin. Sometimes, the heads of certain species are dried and powdered to get pyrethrin. The dust can be dangerous, of course, as it is a toxin and therefore not recommended to try on a whim.
Mint is a devastating plant – taking permanent revenge on your kooky, gardening neighbor devastating. Mint does prevent mosquitoes and can be used as natural bug repellent by rubbing the leaves on your skin, or crushing into a spray bottle with rubbing alcohol and water (with a ratio of five to one). Mint is also a weed. Mint is invasive. If left on its own, it will take over a yard leaving only patches of unattractive dirt in its wake. Its root system is thick and unstoppable. While useful to stop bugs, keep it in a thick, non-cracked pot on a shelf where it will not harm anything else in a precious garden, or other shelved flowers.
One of the first things that comes to mind when thinking about natural bug repellent is citronella. The lemon-like smell comes from lemongrass, a pretty, silky texture with a spiderlike bush. Citronella doesn’t kill pests the way that other plants might, but instead repels them. Having lemongrass around means that bugs don’t want to go near you, which is why many people wear it or mix it in their lotions. There’s a reason that citronella candles are so popular, and the plant itself will do wonders when trying to fill out empty space in a yard. The plant can grow to be four feet tall and three feet wide. Potential tenants will love its triple use: beauty, repellent, and cooking.
Are you readying your properties for spring? What plants are you thinking of? Let us know in the comments below!