En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - February 08, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Medicinal Plants
Title: Possibility of native plants as natural mosquito repellants
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in Austin Texas and have what I would consider a mosquito infestation in my garden for most of the year. Are there native plants to this region that are proven to be naturally mosquito repellant?

ANSWER:

If you are looking for plants that repel mosquitoes from living in your garden, I am afraid you are out of luck. Ads for a plant called Citrosa (Pelargonium citrosum), described as a genetically engineered plant, claimed it was "guaranteed to repel" mosquitoes. It was found that simply as a plant growing in the ground it does not repel mosquitoes. It does offer some repellency (about 30-40% of that of the chemical repellent, DEET) if the leaves are crushed. Catnip (Nepeta cataria) is also thought to be effective against mosquitoes; but again, it is the oil from the crushed leaves that does the job. Additionally, neither of these plants is native to Central Texas or North America. There is one plant native to far western Texas (El Paso and Hudspeth counties) called the Mosquito Plant (Agastache cana) that is said to repel mosquitoes; but once more, it is the oil of the plant rubbed on the skin that is an effective repellent.

Your best bet for ridding your garden of mosquitoes is to consider one of their breeding requirements—availability of water in which to lay their eggs—and follow the recommendations for ridding your garden of mosquito breeding sites in Mosquito Control in Your Neighborhood from the City of Austin Health and Human Services Department and Solid Waste Services Department.

 

More Pests Questions

Snails in the ice plants in California
May 31, 2011 - Ice plants and snails. Every morning when I go outside I see at least 20 or more snails. Is there a certain way that I should have planted them that would have prevented them from destroying my plant?...
view the full question and answer

Control of invasive sandburs in Austin
May 05, 2014 - My attempts to control / eradicate Sanbur with pre-emergent corn gluten twice yeary for the last three years have been unsuccessful. My post emergent pulling weeds for 15 years has also been unsucces...
view the full question and answer

What insect eats Alamo Fire blue bonnets from League City TX
June 10, 2013 - What insect eats Alamo Fire blue bonnets? Something seems to be eating new seedpods.
view the full question and answer

Sticky material dripping from tree in Austin
July 22, 2012 - The tree in my backyard is dripping what I surmise is sap - a thick,fdrake1@ sticky substance in July. What kind of tree is it and is there anything one can do prevent this from happening? Thank you...
view the full question and answer

Bare spot in Prairie Phlox in Austin
February 25, 2009 - I have Prairie Phlox in my garden that I have had for about 4 to 6 years. I got the original plant from the NPSOT at their booth one year at the Wildflower center. It is really lovely in the spring wh...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center