Pretty Plants that will deter mosquitoes

Mosquito Season

It’s mosquito season and I for one hate rubbing DEET all over myself, not to mention my kids. And jumping in and out of the pool, the sprays can’t stay on anyway. The other common choice, Citronella in the form of candles, is a little less gruesome because it’s not all over me, but for that same reason, it’s not as effective. But there is a third solution that isn’t stinky or greasy and is even more effective because it deters the bugs for the season not just the day. What is it? Well, the best way to ramp up your repellent is to plant it, and just because the mosquitoes hate these plants, doesn’t make them repellent to humans. In fact, there are some beautiful and useful options.

Before I get into the list, it’s worth mentioning that any standing water areas (especially stagnant water, like old fountains, old planting pots, etc.) are like the Hilton of Mosquito World. Get rid of water as much as possible before starting your planting war against bugs.

For more info on catnip, visit

1. Catnip

Catnip has been found to be ten times more repellent to the bugs than DEET! The essential oil in the catnip is the same oil that attracts cats and drives them bonkers! Luckily it’s not so potent that you’ll end up with no mosquitoes, but the whole neighborhood’s cat population in your yard! To drive the cats crazy you need to smash the leaves (store bought catnip is dried leaves crushed). Strangely, catnip is a butterfly and bumble bee attractor, so you get the best of all worlds with this plant.

Catnip is good to grow in Zones 3 and 4, so for those of us in the south, catnip will only survive if we plant it in pots and keep it somewhat shaded and watered. If you are growing from seeds, keep cats away until it’s hardy enough to withstand being rubbed!


Rosemary from

Rosemary from

2. Rosemary

Rosemary can grow into massive bushes with pretty purple flowers. It’s hardy, but doesn’t like being in cold weather or inside, which makes it perfect for summer bug season. Keep it near the barbecue and it can work double duty by seasoning your meat (Lamb and rosemary skewers anyone?) and keeping you bug bite free too!



Lemon Balm - found at

3. Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm is not quite as pretty as Rosemary (it looks kind of weedy, a little bit like mint), but it gives off a lemony scent (who’da thunk?) that is sweet and not too strong… and mosqitoes seem to hate it! There are a ton of different recipes using lemon balm so it’s just as useful as rosemary. This lavender lemonade recipe sounds so good after a day of lying in the sun or lazing by the pool.


Thyme - taken from

4. Thyme

Thyme is a Mediterranean herb, loved in Greek food and this idea alone conjurs up images of Santorini with cool breezes and tomatoes with feta cheese drenched in oil and vinegar. Nowhere in my imagining is there a mosquito biting my ankle.

Thyme does have a pretty scent which is a little stronger than the previous plants I mentioned, so you might want to use it sparingly, or plant it further away (think perimeter of your property) with the previous plants closer to your home. Yet again, thyme is a hardy plant. It likes warmer weather and full sun (all of these plants are perfect for summers, but may not last the winter in a colder climate.)

Thyme is pretty – it looks like lavender with little purple flowers.

Garlic plant. Image from

5. Garlic

Mosquitoes are vampires, vampires hate garlic therefore mosquitoes hate garlic. That’s logic right?

Garlic is not necessarily the prettiest of plants, and is probably the hardest to grow out of this list, but it has more health benefits and possibly more use than any of the others too.



It’s Spring! Here come the egg bearing bunnies!

Spring has sprung and in south Florida, it’s a joyous time of year! The weather is glorious, there’s no other word for it. Not too hot to sit outside, but hot enough to start enjoying popsicles and sand boxes! In just a few weeks, your yard could be crawling with little children searching for eggs, so we’d better take a look at what we need to do in April before those eggs are hidden! [Read more…]

Why choose indigenous plants

Many people, when deciding on plants and trees for their yard, choose those that offer to fulfill whatever needs they might have: shade or smell for example. Some might choose a bush that attracts butterflies or blooms with beautiful flowers, but often whether the plant is native to your area is overlooked.

Why is it important to choose indigenous plants?

The native acacia tortuosa

[Read more…]

Pythons are invading the Everglades. Are we in danger and what can we do?

Pythons have been a growing problem in the Everglades. They are a non native species (like parrots??), mostly Burmese Pythons derived from Asia. They tend to thrive in the Everglades because the ecosystem is perfect for them – they love wetlands, the temperatures are high, the human population is low and stays away from them and the wildlife provides plenty of food for them.

A Burmese Python can grow to 20 feet long and have weighed in as much as 250 pounds. “Pythons can live up to 35 years and have anywhere from eight to 100 eggs, with the average female reproducing every other year. It is estimated that there are tens of thousands now in the Everglades.” ( [Read more…]

Upcoming Event: UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Science Open House

This weekend, Saturday January 21st, University of Florida will be hosting an open house at its Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center (phew, that’s a mouthful!).

There will be a tour of the campus, information about UF’s programs and some invaluable info about nutrition, gardening, dealing with invasive species and insect management, and more:

UF's Scheduled Events

The event includes UF partners: Broward County Parks and Recreation Division, Broward County Environmental Monitoring Laboratory, USDA, and US Geological Society (USGS). The event runs from 10 am to 3 pm at the UF Davie Campus.

Tips and Tricks: A kid and pet friendly holiday season!

It’s the most wonderful time of year once again, but there are a few things you may want to consider before sitting back with a cup of eggnog to ensure a safe Christmas. If you have young children or pets, take a moment to follow these steps and save yourselves from being one of the approximate 11,000 people visiting the emergency room this Christmas.


Holly, Poinsettia, Mistletoe. Sadly poisonous

1. Don’t use poisonous plants to decorate.

Unfortunately, the beautiful and classic poinsettia bush has sap that is an irritant (there are disagreements on whether it is actually classified as poisonous) that can cause vomiting and mouth inflammation. It can be treated with simple soap and water, but considering the height of the plant and toddlers’ weakness for picking at things and eating things, it might be simpler to avoid altogether. Sadly, holly berries have a similar reaction as well as stomach irritation and mistletoe berries are extremely poisonous.

Overloaded Christmas Tree

2. Don’t overload your tree

My in-laws are a sentimental bunch. They save everything. I mean everything, including a plastic tube of candy that my husband played with as a boy on Christmas 1980. Every year a new ornament adorns their tree for each member of the family. That’s now 10 people, 2 dogs and one cat. I swear the tree looks frightened every year as the ornament boxes are dragged out of storage. Inevitably, two Christmases ago, the tree fell, some ornaments were broken and tears were shed. If this is a danger in your home, you could consider paring back the decorations, using them elsewhere or perhaps even branching out (that’s my pun for the day) and getting a second tree. Even solitary branches can be hung and decorated. Check out for some ideas.

kids eat cables

Yum, a cable! Image courtesy of

3. Hide the plug

My son is one year old and when he sees a cable he walks over to it, holds it between both hands, looks up at me and opens his mouth, ready to bite down on it. Take it from me, if you can hide the cable for the lights behind the tree, do it!

Pine Needles everywhere

Image courtesy of

4. Sweep up pine needles

Pine trees smell so good, but if they aren’t watered enough, or as they reach the end of their winter festivities, they shed. Those little pine needles get everywhere, and while they aren’t poisonous, they can be irritating to little stomachs. They can cause dogs to throw up bile, and are irritating to the pads of their feet. Babies will eat them and they can scratch little throats, well I could go on, but I don’t want you yelling Bah Humbug, so I will simply say, sweeping can be a fun chore for toddlers! Make the most of it!

Ok, now you can enjoy the egg nog!

Merry Christmas to one and all!



Mainlands Golf Club

  1. Mainlands: Landscape Maintenance ServicesPALM provides arbor services and maintenance to Mainlands, a residential condominium development in Tamarac, Florida.
  2. Mainlands: Landscape Maintenance ServicesPALM provides arbor services and maintenance to Mainlands, a residential condominium development in Tamarac, Florida.
  3. Mainlands: Landscape Maintenance ServicesPALM provides arbor services and maintenance to Mainlands, a residential condominium development in Tamarac, Florida.
  4. Mainlands: Landscape Maintenance ServicesPALM provides arbor services and maintenance to Mainlands, a residential condominium development in Tamarac, Florida.
  5. Mainlands: Landscape Maintenance ServicesPALM provides arbor services and maintenance to Mainlands, a residential condominium development in Tamarac, Florida.

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