Did you know mosquitoes are the deadliest animal on Earth?
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that every year, mosquitoes infect 200 million people with malaria and kill another 3 million. Every year. Tens of millions more suffer the debilitating and often fatal effects of other mosquito-borne diseases. These are sobering statistics and many have turned to toxic chemicals to control these mosquito populations. While this works to kill mosquitoes, it’s also known to cause cancer and other side effects. In poor Third World countries these methods are out of reach because they are so expensive yet these are the areas suffering the most. Because of this crisis, researchers started looking for non-chemical control methods . . . and they found it! The common flowering plant, Lantana Camara, repelled mosquitoes and protected people from these dangerous diseases.
A natural mosquito control method proven to repel mosquitoes.Research published in the Journal PLoS ONE (Public Library of Science) gives scientific proof that Lantana works to deter mosquitoes – specifically those known to carry malaria in Africa. Researchers were focused on finding a lower-cost mosquito control alternative to bednets or insecticidal indoor spraying. The hopes of the study was to find a method that would be simple to install and maintain, be cost effective, and would provide broad protection from dangerous disease-carrying mosquitoes. Several mosquito-repellent plants were considered but lantana was ultimately selected because of its “size and vigor, year round growth, and known repellency towards the African malaria vector Anopheles gambiae s.s.” Not only does the smell deter mosquitos, but those that do feed from the flowers have shorter lives and diminished reproductive success.
By the end of the study, researchers had data from 231 houses with lantana screens and 90 houses without. Those with well-growing screens (some reached as high as the home’s eaves) had significantly less mosquitos caught in traps compared to the non-lantana homes. (Full study can be found here).
Can Lantana be used here for the same purpose?Sometimes called Yellow Sage or Shrub Verbena, common Lantana has been a popular bedding plant for decades and is the go-to plant for many gardeners. Its lovely verbena-shaped blossoms emerge in multiple color combinations of pink, red, yellow, orange, and purple which last all summer long and make it an outstanding container or foundation plant. The medium green, leathery leaves grow in an upright and sturdy pattern and this plant has the outstanding ability to thrive in nearly all growing conditions especially poor soil, hot sun, and prolonged heat. Deer and other critters dislike the taste and smell but butterflies and hummingbirds love it so you’ll attract beneficial insects to your garden. Planted as a “mosquito fence” around high-traffic and outdoor living spaces, it really does help you better enjoy your precious outside time.
Kids & Pets Alert!: After flowering, some cultivars will produce a berrylike fruit which turns black when mature. These berries are poisonous to pets and humans. If you have curious little fingers or animals, plant in an area they can’t reach or trim off the berry clusters when they first appear in their green stage.
How to use Lantana to repel mosquitoes in your garden.
Planting this gorgeous plant really is as simple as making space for it in all your gardens. Place it near high-use areas such as decks, patios, and entryways – rub or crush the leaves as you walk by and they’ll give off a citronella scent. Cut sprigs to add to bouquets for super repelling power. Leaves can be dried by laying out in the sun for a few days, then crushed, and burned in a glass jar to repel mosquitos. It is not recommended to rub this plant on your skin as it can lead to irritation. Combine with other mosquito repellent plants such as Citronella Geranium and Lemon Grass in a deck planter for a real show-stopper that will smell heavenly all summer long. Plant en masse along the edge of your patio or doorways. Fill a windowbox with multiple colors and enjoy the hummingbirds coming right up to your window.
Start growing your Goodbye Mosquito Garden today!
The possibilities are endless but the supply of Lantana is not! With the renewed interest in its mosquito-control abilities, these plants are flying off the shelves so don’t wait to order! Besides, the sooner you plant them, the bigger they’ll get to fend off those pesky mosquitoes. When you order from Clovers Garden, we’ll include a handy planting instruction sheet so you’ll have everything you need to start. If you’d like to start reading up now on Lantana and all the other plants that work to repel mosquitoes, click here to get instant access to our ebook, Mosquito Repellent Plants. This great book has tons of planting info, recipes for making your own natural bug spray from the plants’ leaves, and even five original garden designs such as the one shown in this article. And you’ll get it FREE just for signing up for our newsletter.
If you’d like to order some Lantana right now, we have some gorgeous plants still available individually here. Or if you’d like to order the Mosquito Trio (shown in the illustration above), click here. We ship everything Priority Mail so you’ll get it quickly and in the garden in no time!
If you have any questions about gardening with mosquito repellent plants, we’ll be happy to answer them. Just comment here — we check posts often. Thanks for reading and Happy Gardening!