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

red maple bark damage by squirrels
April 15, 2011 - We have two acres of land, largely covered by various oaks and cherry laurels -and, after many hours of cutting down chinese tallow trees..finally some red maples. Our problem is that we also have a s...
view the full question and answer

Live oak trees buzzing in Taylor TX
October 20, 2012 - Is it possible for live oak trees to make a buzzing sound? We have heard this sound under our live oak and were worried it was bees but we don't seem to see any. I also heard the buzzing under my mot...
view the full question and answer

Pests on Fan Tex Ash
July 30, 2015 - We planted a Fan Tex Ash last year on our property. It's doing very well, but there are a lot of large stink bugs, yellow jackets and red wasps on it daily. We cannot seem to find any information on ...
view the full question and answer

Turk's Cap and Pavonia insect problems
June 27, 2015 - My Turk's cap and Pavonia lasiopetala (rock rose) plants both have quite a few leaves that are skeletonized in appearance. I do not see any insects on the underside of the leaves. What could be cau...
view the full question and answer

Cultivar of Cercis Canadensis from Haskell OK
May 16, 2012 - We have a Hearts of Gold Redbud that first had dark edges to many of its leaves (about 2 weeks after planting). It now has multiple leaves w/ medium-dark brown spots on them. Are we looking at some ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center