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Plants to repel mosquitoes

I would like to know if there are any plants that help to repel sandflies and mosquitoes. I am wanting to repel these flying insects from around my son's sandpit which is in the shade of a mature apple tree.


There are a number of plants reputed to repel mosquitoes, including basil, fennel, garlic, lemon ironwood, lavender, marigolds, spearmint, pennyroyal, rosemary, southernwood and 'Mozzie Buster' pelargonium.

The 'Mozzie Buster' pelargonium (Pelargonium citrosum 'Van Leenii') has been implanted with citronella genes, giving it a strong lemon scent that mixes with its orginal rose scent. It is the lemon scent that repels mosquitoes, so it is an ideal plant to position around outdoor entertaining areas and children's play areas. You could also hang bunches of the leaves from the apple tree or place around the sandpit.

Mints, especially spearmint and pennyroyal, deter insects by masking the smell exuded by humans that mosquitoes are attracted to. Plant around the area, or make an oil to rub on the skin. Oil: place several handfuls of spearmint or pennyroyal into a jar, cover with olive, sunflower or safflower oil, sit on a windowsill for six to eight weeks, shake ever now and then, then rub onto the skin.

Southernwood (Artemisia abrotanum) is ideal for planting around sandpits because it repels both mosquitoes and sandflies. Plant in a low hedge around the pit.

The leaves of fennel will also repel mosquitoes, as will lemon ironwood, so plant around the sandpit, or hang the leaves of lemon ironwood in bunches nearby.

UnitecAdvice by Dr Dan Blanchon from Unitec's Diploma in Sustainable Horticulture and Bachelor of Resource Management.

Reproduced with permission from NZOOM Home and Garden content,
from the previous website of  TVNZ News

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Last updated: June 27, 2005