There’s something about those long summer nights that make you want to sit on your patio, look at the stars and swat away those pesky bugs…wait, what? Our warm, wet weather has Mother Nature in overdrive—but relief can be found at your nearest garden center.
Here are 10 plants that will have you enjoying your patio again in no time!
Lemon balm: Mosquitoes. Lemon balm grows in clumps and spreads vegetatively as well as by seed. The stems of the plant die off at the start of the winter, but shoot up again in spring. Lemon Balm grows vigorously and should not be planted where it will spread into other plantings.
Peppermint: Mosquitoes. Peppermint generally grows best in moist, shaded locations, and expands by underground stolons. Young shoots are taken from old stocks and dibbled into the ground about 1.5 feet apart. They grow quickly and cover the ground with runners if it is permanently moist. For the home gardener, it is often grown in containers to restrict rapid spreading. It grows best with a good supply of water, without being water-logged, and planted in areas with part-sun to shade.
Catnip: Aphids, Squash Bugs. Plant in full sun most places. Water frequently to start. Also, try to keep your cat away from the plant until it grows a bit more. (this may be a little challenging) Sometimes cats will eat the whole thing, or simply lay on top of it, causing it to not grow as quickly as it could. Putting up a plant support/fence thing could avoid the problem, especially if there are a lot of other cats in the neighborhood.
Rosemary: Mosquitoes. Rosemary is an herb that loves a full, hot sun and requires a little bit of room because of its root system.
Garlic: Aphids, Mosquitoes. Garlic needs a lot of full sun, but it might tolerate partial shade provided it’s not for very long during the day or growing season. The soil must be well dug over and crumbly. Sandy loam is best.
Thyme: Mosquitoes. Thyme grows best in full sun in well drained soil. If your soil does not appear to drain well, then add some compost, sand, or organic material to help improve drainage.
Mint: ants & mice: Mint comes in many different varieties, each of which is easy to maintain and lasts for many years if cared for properly. The plant is fairly invasive, however, and may compete with surrounding plants for resources if allowed to grow without restriction. In order to grow mint, you either need to plant it in containers or find a method of restricting the growth of its roots below ground.
Bay leaves: Roaches. Decide whether you want to grow the bay tree in the garden or in a container. It will do well in both places but the container bay tree will need to be given continuous repotting and renewed soil to ensure best growth. Spring is the best time to plant a young bay tree.
Basil: Flies. Basil does not tolerate frost so don’t plant out too early. It’s best to put basil somewhere where it will get a good deal of sunshine. To plant into the garden, pinch off the bottom two leaves. Turn container upside down and gently squeeze container until plant falls out into your cupped hand. Bury roots and stem to just cover spot where leaves were pinched off. Pat down soil around the plant to eliminate air pockets.
Geraniums: Japanese Beetles. Geraniums will grow in almost any type of soil if well-aerated and porous. Heavy clay soils should be improved by adding organic matter each year. An inch of coarse sphagnum peat moss, partially-rotted manure, or compost spaded in when preparing the beds is ideal.