PLANTS THAT CONTAIN CITRONELLA, AND WHY YOU NEED TO BUY INSECT REPELLENT
Personally, I don’t think there is any plant purchase from your local garden center that is able to repel mosquitoes from your backyard gatherings.
There’s no such thing, so wake up to reality.
Perhaps, you read or heard something online that outlines a number of plants that have mosquito-repelling properties. Some of which include:
- Citronella Grass
- Lemon Balm
- Lime basil
The truth is that to get the mosquito-repelling substance out of these plants, you’d have to crush or burn some part of the plant. Simply planting it in a pot in your backyard will not do the magic of repelling mosquitoes.
However, you shouldn’t write them off as useless, growing these beauties in your garden will attract the envy of neighbors. Only that you don’t expect a mosquito-free backyard by growing these plants.
Undoubtedly, these plants contain a substance known as citronellal, containing insects-repellent properties. Even so, they don’t just release the substance into the air, repelling mosquitoes, they have to be processed to be able to do so.
Let’s look at the contribution of some of these lovely plants towards repelling mosquitoes in your backyard.
THE FAKE CITRONELLA PLANT
This plant can be purchased from big-box stores labelled as “citronella plant” or “mosquito plant.” if it is a lacy-leafed thing that looks like a geranium, then it is probably a Pelargonium ‘citrosum,’ or P. “citrosum Van Leenii,’ a geranium with fragrant leaves that smells just like the citronella.
The plant was once said to be an experimentation which combined the genes of two other plants-citronella grass and African geranium. It was however debunked as it is simply a variety of geranium.
The P. ‘citrosum’ contains less than 1 percent of the insect-repelling substance, citronellal.
You can add this plant to your garden. However, don’t expect it to eliminate the bugs.
THE REAL CITRONELLA PLANT
One of such real citronella plants is the Ceylon citronella grass-like plant (Cymbopogon nardus), and Java citronella grass (C.winterianus). They bear the resemblance to a well-known Asian cooking plant known as lemongrass (C, citrate).
They are clump-forming grasses, can be perennial in zones 10-12, but annual in other zones.
The Cymbopogon nardus naturally contains an average of 14% citronellal, while the other, C.winterianus, contains about 22% citronellal. The citronella gotten from these plants are used to produce commercial citronella products, example candles.
MORE CITRONELLA IN SOUTH AMERICA
Citronella mucronata also known as Chilean citronella is another efficient citronellal plant which we unfortunately do not have enough information in English for.
The Chilean citronella is a long-existing tree native to Chile, and can grow to be 30 feet tall. It is one of the estimated 25-30 plants in the citronella family.
ANOTHER OPTION: LEMON BALM
The lemon balm Melissa officinalis is another citronellal-containing plant you get for your backyard. It is said to contain as much as 38% of the citronella substance.
Native to south central Europe, the Mediterranean Basin, Iran, and Central Asia, the lemon balm is a herbaceous perennial that is often used to make teas that helps with indigestion issues and promote relaxation.
OR, JUST BUY A SPRAY
I’m certain you now know about some types of mosquito/insect-repellent plants, and the fact that planting them in your backyard does not eliminate the presence of these bothersome bugs.
To get the most out of these plants, you would have to crush the leaves or stalks and rub the content on your skin. However, it is advisable to do a “patch test” to ascertain the compatibility with your skin.