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At least in my part of the world, this seems to be a particularly bad summer for mosquitoes. Lots of different flowers and herbs are said to repel mosquitoes. Try planting some of the following:
In regards to marigolds, it has been said that mosquitoes (and other insects) are repelled by their strong smell. To that end, my advice would be to find the smelliest marigolds you can get your hands on!
Here are some other tips for keeping bites to a minimum:
I plant a lot of marigolds throughout my garden as leaf eating bug repellers. Not sure about biting insects. Citronella plants work for repelling biting bugs though, as does Avon's skin so soft. It smells good and is good for the skin too. :0)
Maggie O in Bloomington, MN
I am reading feedback to your question, and the answer is yes! I just placed a couple of pots around my front porch (which is almost unbearable because of mosquitos). While I was potting them up, I noticed zero mosquitos!
We lived on the Erie Canal when we lived in NY. We had tons of mosquitoes! One year, a friend told me about planting Marigolds to keep them away so we tried it the following year. Every spring after that, I planted Marigolds on each side of the sidewalk leading to my side door, which was the door we used all the time. We never had problems with mosquitoes after that! It doesn't matter what kind you get, large or small...they all smell! You don't smell them but the insects do. Plus, you can get them in variations of light to dark yellow and light to dark orange colors. Just dead head them when the flowers dry out and they will spread like weeds. I live in GA now and I still plant Marigolds in the spring. We no longer buy them, though, because we dead head them all the time and save the dead flowers to plant again in the spring. This is where the seeds are. Try it...you'll be pleasantly surprised how they keep mosquitoes and other flying insects away.
This is a guide about repelling mosquitos with geraniums. Certain plants work well to repel various types of insects, both the ones that attack your garden plants and those that like to nibble on you.
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I am looking for plants that are good at repelling mosquitos in the tropics.
Try citronella, which is a type of geranium. This is what they use in mosquito-repelling oils and lamps. The best thing is prevention, find out where they are breeding and get rid of the water!
Marigolds! Save the seeds and replant next year, also... they'll come up in mixed vibrant colors of the sunset, which you can enjoy without being bitten by mosquitos. We plant in a long planter just in front of the porch. Not a fragrant flower, but beautiful and a good mosquito repellant, for sure.
PS: I'm in the Northern part of the country... I just re-read your message about Tropics, which I'm clueless about. Maybe something else would work better in your climate. Marigolds are hardy and can withstand lower temperatures right into the fall here. Sorry, but I'm sure someone can give you better advice for where you live unless the Marigolds grow well there, too.
I know this is going to sound weird, but it works! One day sitting on the patio at one of my favorite El Salvadoran restaurants, I noticed gallon size baggies of what appeared to be water hanging in the trees. I asked the waiter what they were there for and he said they kept the mosquitoes away. He did not know how, but he said that was what they did at home (in El Salvador). Sure enough, I, whom my family refers to as their mosquito repellent, did not have a single bite! I hung bags in my back yard and had my first (nearly) bite free summer!
I have seen a lot of tips on catnip as a mosquito repellent, but, if I plant catnip somewhere in my yard, won't I have all the cats in the neighborhood pokin' around in it?
I really don't want cats in my yard!
I planted catnip for my cats, and all the cats in the neighborhood rolled around in it so much they almost killed the plant. So I had to put it in a hanging basket way out of reach. Now the cats don't notice it unless we pick a leaf for them to eat. That's solved the problem.
But, I haven't noticed any reduction in mosquitoes, either! What are you supposed to do with the catnip to make it a mosquito repellent?
I found this quote about catnip as an insect repellent, it talks about the active chemical in catmint-
'Nepetalactone is one of the major components (~ 40%) of the essential oils from Catnip, Nepeta cataria (photo above), a member of the mint family Labiatae. Other compounds found in the oils are common plant compounds like citral, geraniol, citronellol, nerol and limonene. When they inhale it, many (but not all) cats show a response lasting for a few minutes; symptoms include a head-over roll, body rubbing and kicking. Eating it has no effect, the vapour of the nepetalactone has to reach a receptor above the palate in the vomeronasal organ. The behaviour is believed to be an inherited characteristic related to an autosomal dominant gene. Nepetalactone has also been shown to be an active repellent for cockroaches, and recent tests on yellow fever mosquitoes showed that it was a more effective repellent than DEET (N,N diethyl-m-toluamide), the most popular synthetic insect repellent.'
If you put a sturdy cage around your catnip patch, the plants can grow strong & not be broken or trampled down. You can harvest plenty of catnip yet the neighour cats can still enjoy it. If anyone is handy, this isn't too hard to make, Or get a neighbour to make it for you since their cats use your catnip! I wish I could show a diagram but I hope this gives you the right idea.
Use some sturdy wire racks from on old fridge or from old stove ovens & tie together with metal wires so the finished cage will fit over your catnip patch & is 1-2 feet high from the ground. It will have 5 sides to it with the open end over the patch at ground level. The plants can grow through the wires & the cats can still roll on top the cage but not damaged the plants. If one is specially handy, you can build one with 2x2 inch boards & tack fencing wire over the frame. You need to anchor down the cage on the corners into the ground or the cats could tip it over in their eagerness to get at it.