Growing Herbs for Mosquito Season?

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Are you growing Mosquito Plant at your house?

“Mosquito plants” are a popular seasonal plant at garden centers and lots of people buy them every year to repel those rotten blood sucking beasties.

Here’s a  little more info about them:

The crinkly leafed Mosquito plants you can buy at garden centers are also called a Scented Geranium, Citronella plant or Geranium citrosum.

Mosquito
Mosquito…ick

They are actually a Pelargonium.

So are your common garden geraniums, but that’s another tale for another time.

You remember that whole botanical name thing, no? Sure you do, the part where plants are classified according to their flowering structures? OK, well this may be another occasion where the plant was originally named one thing, but as botanists took a closer look at the flowers, they reclassified it as another. Happens all the time.

Cuttings and Young Mosquito Plant
Cuttings and Young Mosquito Plant

So, Mosquito plants…do they really work?

Sort of.

The plants emit the fragrance of citronella when the leaves are rubbed, broken, or crushed. Just planting them around your outdoor dining area will probably not do much in the mosquito repelling department, unless you and your guests roll around in the stuff before dinner.

If you like the look and fragrance of the plant, by all means plant it!

It can grow to 3′ tall in southern parts of the country, although mine are potted and never get more than 15′”-18″ or so-even in a large container.

Pelargoniums are not winter hardy, so if you want to grow a Mosquito plant and save it for next year, it needs room indoors to over winter.

You should also be aware that this particular Pelargonium is reported to be toxic to cats.

Although I have been unwilling to test this with any of my own cats I’m all for erring on the side of caution.  It’s probably best not to plant it where cats and little kids might get to it.

There are probably at least a squillion Pelargonium varieties and cultivars available. Some of the spice, citrus and rose scented Pelargoniums may do a better job of repelling varmints and you may enjoy their fragrance even more!

The scent from my rose and nutmeg Pelargoniums is very close to divine on a warm day.

Mosquito Plant
Mosquito Plant – Pelargonium citrosum

Are they pretty plants?

Well, let’s just say they can have unusual foliage and can have very pretty flowers, but in general these plants do not develop big, showy blooms. Theirs are usually smaller, pretty and understated.

A Pelargonium’s real beauty lies in its fragrance!

Source: Growing Herbs For Beginners

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