Put the following plants next to the kitchen door or in your BBQ area and, rather than let them lazily lie around looking pretty, put them to work to debug your home.
1. Citronella geranium (Pelargonium citrosum)
A small, evergreen shrub with pretty, purple-pink flowers in spring and summer, it stands perkily above the lush, curvy, curly, lemon-scented leaves.
These leaves produce the citronella that is used in commercial products that ‘kill’ flies and mosquitoes but, in fact, it is not the fatal ingredient. Citronella only deters flies and mosquitoes, mainly because it masks the scents we produce that attract the insects in the first place.
It's not just for cooking - it's also a natural fly deterrent. Its gentle, soft leaves produce a menthol aroma that can be cleansing, intoxicating and heavenly, but it’s not something flies are interested in. In fact, they’ll stay away.
3. Pyrethrum daisies (Tanacetum cinerariifolium, sometimes called Chrysanthemum cinerariifolium)
The natural pest repellant pyrethrin is found in this plants, and it's used in commercial fly, mosquito and cockroach repellents.
In this case it’s the pretty, aromatic flowers that have the double workload: the white ‘petals’ surrounding the sunny centres add a bright spot to any garden, while quietly producing the goods to keeps the bugs at bay.
4. Any minty plant
Regarded as an ant deterrent because of its smell, pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium, sometimes called fleabane) has long been recommended as one of the best. But as many state and local governments in Australia now consider this an environmental weed, the native pennyroyal (Mentha satureioides) is a very pretty substitute. Its leaves are finer, its flowers small and white instead of lilac, but it is just as effective.
Put these plants to work, and you can really enjoy your outdoor leisure.
You might also like: