Is Citronella the Right Plant for Mosquito Control?
The early 1990s brought us the Citronella Plant. Researchers developed to answer to help repel pesky mosquitos in our backyards. Regardless of where you are in the United States, you have likely encountered the pesky bug while trying to enjoy the outdoors in the spring and summer. There are more the 3,000 species of mosquitos all around the world, and these disease-carrying insects can seriously ruin your camping trip or peaceful morning run.
The citronella plant promised us relief from constant mosquito bites and was marketed as a solution for backyard enthusiasts in South Florida and the rest of the United States. The plant’s lemony-scented leaves disrupt the mosquito’s sensory apparatus, so it was labeled a repellent. You can find Citronella Plant used in natural or synthetical products such as candles, aerosols, lotions, and more. After many years of use, the question now is: how practical of a repellant is it?
Some Facts About Citronella Plant
Let’s begin the conversation with facts about the citronella plant itself. It is a very beautiful component of your home or garden. Its fuzzy leaves emit a pleasant lemon scent, which can help naturally deodorize your space and increase your indoor air quality without harmful chemicals. These plants also sprout adorable little lavender flowers to help bring color into the home or your garden. Other facts about Citronella include:
- It’s listed as “hardy” in the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone. In some climates, the plant can be brought outside in the summer and returned inside before the first frost.
- Six hours of sunlight, regardless of whether it is outdoors or indoors.
- Well-draining soil to prevent flooding or overwatering.
- If grown outside, Citronella must be watered and fertilized with all-purpose plant food.
- If grown outside, the plant is somewhat drought-tolerant and can grow anywhere from two to four inches high. To keep the plant bushier and full of new growth, we recommend pruning and pinching.
Putting the Citronella Plant to the Test!
Once the marketing campaign took off for the citronella plant, many types of research began to focus on the plant. Researchers wanted to study it further to get a better understanding of how the plant’s leaves worked to repel mosquitos from your backyard and beyond. Scientists began by placing their hands into Plexiglas boxes filled with live mosquitos, which unsurprisingly resulted in numerous bites. But the real test came when they introduced a natural citronella plant in the box with them. Initially, the plant helped keep the mosquitos and their bites at bay. After an hour, though, the bites increased to more than the control amount. After the plant was in the box for an entire day, the number of bites rose even higher! Scientists actually noticed a more significant decrease in bites when using lemon thyme on their hands as opposed to the citronella plant. Multiple studies done across the country using different species all found similar results.
Other Effective Plants for Moderate Mosquito Control
While it is a useful plant to consider when growing your garden or buying mosquito protection supplies, the citronella plant is not the greatest, and there are other plants that may protect you better while also serving different purposes. The lemon thyme mentioned in the study and lemongrass have been proven as useful as citronella, and you can also use these plants in recipes. Even the synthetic versions of citronella are only effective with continuous re-application of sprays or lotion. While these products are easy to apply, your supply may run low quickly and become a costly method of protection.
Platinum Mosquito Protection Offers Effective Mosquito Control
Platinum Mosquito Protection can also offer another way to help keep your yard as mosquito-free as possible. South Florida summers are meant for nights in the backyard with friends, fire pits, games, and grilling. Our team utilizes automated mosquito control devices to send a mist of pyrethrum, which is created from chrysanthemum flowers, to safeguard your backyard. There is also a synthetic version known as permethrin, which will also repel and kill the insects bothering your party. These devices can be inconspicuously located throughout your yard so that they don’t disrupt the aesthetic of your décor. Our system’s timed-release feature means you never have to worry about spraying the mists yourself. Simply leave the devices to perform their functions while you enjoy the outdoors.