As a professional landscaper, I can provide you with a list of plants and herbs that are known to help keep insects away in the Annapolis, MD area. These plants contain natural compounds that repel certain insects and can contribute to a more insect-free outdoor environment. Here are some natural insect repellent options to consider planting in your garden:

  • Lavender (Lavandula): The fragrant flowers of lavender repel mosquitoes, flies, and moths. Plant them in sunny areas of your garden or containers near outdoor seating areas.
  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis): This aromatic herb is effective in repelling mosquitoes and flies. You can plant rosemary in the garden or grow it in containers on patios or porches.
  • Basil (Ocimum basilicum): Besides being a delicious culinary herb, basil has insect-repellent properties that deter mosquitoes and flies. Plant it in sunny locations or use it in container gardens.
  • Marigold (Tagetes): The strong scent of marigold flowers repels various insects, including mosquitoes, aphids, and nematodes—plant marigolds in flower beds or as borders around your garden.
  • Catnip (Nepeta cataria): While it attracts cats, catnip repels mosquitoes, ticks, and ants. Plant it in areas away from where you want to discourage cats, or use it in hanging baskets.
  • Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis): The lemon-scented leaves of this herb act as a natural insect repellent, especially against mosquitoes—plant lemon balm in containers or as a border plant.
  • Geranium (Pelargonium): Certain geranium varieties, such as the citronella geranium (Pelargonium citrus), have a lemony fragrance that repels mosquitoes. Plant them in pots or use them as bedding plants.
  • Lemon thyme (Thymus citriodorus): This herb releases a strong lemon scent that deters mosquitoes. You can plant lemon thyme in the garden or in containers.
  • Mint (Mentha): The strong aroma of mint plants, such as peppermint or spearmint, helps repel mosquitoes, ants, and flies—plant mint in containers to prevent it from spreading aggressively.
  • Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum cinerariifolium): This flowering plant contains pyrethrum, a natural insecticide that repels mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, and other insects. Use potted chrysanthemums on patios or plant them in the garden.

Remember that while these plants can help deter insects, they may not provide 100% protection. It’s also essential to consider factors like proper maintenance, good drainage, and eliminating potential breeding grounds for insects to have a comprehensive approach to insect control in your landscaping.

Natural Insect Repellent: Discover the Top Garden Herbs and Plants that Keep Insects Away

Additionally, Claire Ratinin organic grower, suggests that the solution lies in companion planting. In her book, “How to Grow Your Dinner,” she explains that companion planting involves growing plants alongside each other based on their complementary characteristics. By mimicking nature, you can create a diverse ecosystem in your container garden, ensuring the thriving of every seedling. Moreover, it acts as a natural insect control system.

For instance, placing chervil or coriander next to plants suffering from aphid attacks can be beneficial.

The onion scent emitted by chives serves as a deterrent for aphids, keeping them away from tomatoes.

Calendula is an excellent companion plant because it attracts beneficial insects like ladybirds, lacewings, and hoverflies. These insects also help pollinate fruiting crops such as zucchini, peppers, and tomatoes.

The pungent aroma of mint confuses and repels pests, including flea beetles that cause damage to brassica varieties like mustard greens and arugula.

Growing French marigolds (Tagetes) near tomatoes can discourage whiteflies.

Dill plants that have bloomed attract aphid-eating insects like hoverflies and predatory wasps.

The fragrant and beautiful purple flowers of lavender are enticing to various pollinators, including bees and butterflies. Lavender also makes a soothing tea that promotes relaxation and sleep.

The strong scent of thyme is a deterrent for black flies that may bother your bean plants. When thyme is allowed to flower, it also attracts pollinators.

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