The “Mosquito” plant, citronella geranium is in fact just one in a long line of scented geraniums that are on the market these days. Other scented geraniums include ones that smell like apple, apricot, carrot, cinnamon, eucalyptus, ginger, chocolate mint, lime, nutmeg, orange, peach, peppermint, pineapple, strawberry and a few other scents. I have had many of these “geraniums” on hand and I can testify that the aromas of each are quite strong and true to form.

These plants are very easy to grow and to propagate. Most of them do not require full sun and are happy to go dry between waterings. Simply fill any old pot that might be laying around the garage with some good potting soil, water, then stick in one or more cuttings and you will have a good root system within 3 weeks. A cutting can be made with any part of the stem, top, middle or bottom. Picture a stem that is 10” long then simply cut it into 4 pieces and stick them into your pot. They will root 98% of the time without fail. Once they perk up and start to grow, either snip off the top portion to encourage branching and either toss the cutting or start more plants. I like to use 3 tops in a 6” pot or 3 middles in a pot but you can mix them up. Be sure to stick them right side up.

You may be surprised to know that there are many other “common” plants that repel mosquitoes including most of the available herbs such as sage, rosemary, thyme, mint, basil, lemon grass, catnip and lavender. Note that catnip is rated to be 10 times stronger than deet! Annuals that you are familiar with such as marigolds and especially ageratum keep mosquitoes away, as well as other insects. It is not recommended rubbing ageratum leaves directly on your skin. Bee balm (horse mint) is a great perennial that thrives in full sun, dry/sandy soil and even grows well in the salty sands near the ocean.

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Doug Hackbarth

Doug's is the former owner of Broadview Florist & Greenhouses in Waynedale. He authors a garden & landscaping article in the newspaper. In his adolescence he attended Hillcrest, Kekionga and Elmhurst HS. His expertise has been shared in print, tv and radio. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer