35 Plants That Repel Mosquitoes

Who doesn’t like to appreciate the fruits of their labor, cool drink in hand, watching the kids play in the yard, enjoying the yard lighting you worked so hard on, swatting away the mosquitoes…

One of my favorite things to do year round is delight in all the hard work I’ve put into my yard and garden, weather permitting, and take every opportunity I can get to sit back and relax, or entertain around a firepit. Which is the next thing to impossible after a mosquito hatch.

But relief is on the horizon! Read on for a list of the best plants that repel mosquitoes whether you plant them amongst your garden, or use them dried, crushed, or hung for effectiveness.

Cultivate These Plants For Perennial Relief

Perennial plants that help repel mosquitoes seem too good to be true, but they aren’t- and if planted with an eye towards placement in both garden beds and porch planters, you have a great start to keeping those pesky mosquitoes far away.

#1 Cinnamon Basil

Containing cinnamate, the chemical that gives cinnamon its flavor, this variety of basil brings you the best of both worlds. Although regular basil will aid in repelling mosquitoes, this particular plant is worth having for its multitude of uses. Used in a vegetable patch, it repels many insects and enhances the flavor of nearby fruits, especially tomatoes. It also helps keep bugs away from roses.

Whether planted nearby, or freshly cut and placed strategically, it helps keep that pesky whine of awful winged bugs away from your yard space, will stop flies from landing on food, and tastes great in many beverages!

Technically an annual, this plant will reseed itself in warmer growing climates if allowed and come back year after year- but is incredibly easy to cultivate indoors as well and can be kept alive year round if taken in before temps drop below 40 Degrees Fahrenheit.

#2 Cloves

You’ll only be able to grow this mid-size tree in USDA zones 9b-12, but depending on the cultivation, it may also be grown in large pots and moved indoors during inclement weather. The awesome news is, if you aren’t interested in growing the plant, clove buds and oil themselves are easily found in stores and can be used to help with your mosquito problem as well since it is the smell that repels the insects.

This Asian native tree is an evergreen, and adds interest year round as long as temps don’t drop below freezing (although it can survive occasional frosts), and thrives in humid environments. The first 3-4 years requires consistent soil moisture for good root establishment and should begin to flower in about 6 years, although full harvesting capacity can take up to 15 years .

The cloves you buy in a store are actually the flower buds taken before bloom and dried. They have many uses due to their astringent properties, aromatics, and flavor, and so it’s well worth the plant enthusiast to take on the challenge of growing their own plant. Both dried buds, as well as well as living plants, exude the famous clove scent that repels a variety of insects.

#3 Lemon Balm

Think about keeping this little beauty in a container, as once it’s established can take on a life of its own! Mine has it’s own spot to go crazy in, but is hedged in by cement slabs so it doesn’t take over the rest of the herbs planted nearby. Popular due to it’s many health benefits and lemon scent, this is one plant that is useful in more than one way in your garden beds and well worth taking the time to cut back if it tends to proliferate.

Used fresh, dried, or pressed for oil, lemon balm will help repel mosquitoes no matter how you decide to use it. Plus, it’s long list of added perks is worth considering having around.

Used in the Western world as far back as the early middle-ages, lemon balm can be used as a natural sleep aid, stress-reducer, digestive aid, and as a mild astringent on top of repelling insects. Considered non-toxic and a non-irritant, many people enjoy the leaves of this plant in their teas, as well as a topical oil. Although, because of its sedative like properties, consulting a doctor concerning drug interactions is a responsible choice.

#4 Rosemary

Evergreen in most climates, this woody shrub call grow to heights of 3-4 feet and 5 feet wide, so be sure to plant it in an area where it can have some space! It also does well in large planters and is a sun lover, so place it in a southern direction so it can receive the light it craves. Hardy and tolerant of drier soils, this plant is popular due to its heady scent, and flavorful aromatics it lends to cooking.

Rosemary does well through the winter, but in northern climes above zone 6, you may want to bring plants indoors if winters are harsh and have consistent deep freezes, and your plant is unprotected.

Propagate new plants using growth from existing plants, or use seeds – although it’s much easier to grow from fresh cuttings. Personally I love having a few of these plants mixed into containers around my yard. Their scent keeps insects at bay, and having a fresh supply of Rosemary to cook with and dry for the winter saves a lot of money since it’s a fairly costly herb to purchase.

#5 Lavender

This garden favorite thrives in hot, sunny, dry climates once established and is a must for all garden enthusiasts. Fragrant foliage and summer blooms repel many types of insects, and harvested blooms can be easily dried and placed in closets, drawers, and linen cupboards to help keep moths, spiders, and other pesky nuisances away. Plus it makes your clothes smell great!

Easy to propagate, I prefer my lavender in pots, although depending on the variety and your planting zone, you may want to plant yours directly in the ground. Lavender can grow into quite a large mound, and so ample space (4-5 feet) should be given for each plant. Although they will begin to produce flowers in its first year, it takes at least 3 years to get really established, and most plants will produce 1000 or more flower stems for you to harvest!

Tough to kill, be sure not to allow good drainage, and even mix in some rock to your soil to allow roots to get a good amount of oxygen. My dog even laid in the middle of my plant at the height of the summer heat, and within a week new growth was beginning to fill in the broken stems, so don’t ever give up on these if they have taken a beating of some kind.

#6 Bee Balm

Also called Wild Bergamont, this attractive plant is tolerant of almost every soil type depending upon the variety. Late summer blooms not only repels mosquitoes, they attract butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees! An added benefit is the tea you can make using both leaves and flowers, as well as it’s many other medicinal properties.

Preferring a sunny, to partly shaded area, this is a plant that can become somewhat invasive once established, and so you should take care to separate the plant as it begins to die out on the inside. Cutting back during its dormancy also can help keep it within the boundaries you have set for it.

Attractive and bright blooms begin early through mid-summer in pink, purple, white, and red hues. I love seeing their bright blooms poking through my perennial foliage, and let them grow at will. Some varieties can grow up to 4 feet, so be sure to plant the type you prefer for your space, and then sit back and enjoy mosquito free evenings!

#7 Marigolds

Both the annual and perennial versions of this North American native repel mosquitoes and many other critters considered a nuisance to your yard and garden. The most popular strains of these bright flowers are annuals, but depending on your climate, are often self sowing and will come back year after year with no effort on your part.

Because of their sunny yellow and orange blooms that continue spring through frost, these flowers have been a popular color choice for gardeners for many years- and have the added benefit of a strong fragrance that repels deer, rabbits, and practically every insect in existence. When planted as companion plants around your fruits and vegetables, you also have just created a natural insecticide barrier.

If you want to be sure to have these little beauties where you want them from one year to the next, simply collect the seed heads after the flowers are spent, and start them indoors in a sunny spot before transplanting after your last frost, or simply sow them directly into your garden.

#8 Peppermint

This hardy, rapid grower can quickly take over your garden through self-pollinating runners, so be sure to keep it contained! The effort is well worth it however as this fragrant plant does much more than keep mosquitoes away. Also popular to repel spiders- peppermint can be used in teas and cooking, and has been used as a digestive aid for thousands of years.

Runners are easy to spot, but quickly propagate, so be sure to dig them up, or cut them before they take hold. If you aren’t interested in having them in pots, using simple garden edging, or bricks to slow down it’s spread is recommended.

Used fresh, dried, or pressed for oil-, peppermint is versatile in its many uses. I personally keep a large clump growing near my porch door to repel insects, use fresh cuttings in both cold and hot teas, use dried for lamb and pork recipes, and keep oil on hand for tummy troubles when fresh cuttings aren’t available.

#9 Lemon Verbena

This plant will have the best lemony smell of anything you have growing in your garden. Winter hardy only through zone 8, you may want to keep this plant in a container and bring it in before your first frost to allow it to go dormant, but not die out completely.

Leaves also have such a strong lemon flavor, that it is often used to replace actual lemon in many recipes and drinks. Best started from cuttings, in tropical zones these plants can grow to 14 feet or more, but often stay much smaller in temperate zones where they need a cool, but not freezing, dormant season before sending out new growth.

It’s these lemon scents that help repel mosquitoes, making this the perfect container plant for your outdoor sitting areas. If you are lucky enough to live in a tropical zone, plant these along a fence or trellis as they grow to cover more area, and enjoy their lemony fragrance, and ‘whine’ free zones!

#10 Feverfew

These little, cheerful daisy like flowers are a happy addition to any garden and also has a variety of uses as well. Small and compact, it’s easy to find space to plant a few of these amongst your existing plants to add a bit of summer and fall color, as well as to help rid your garden of mosquitoes, which are repelled by their fragrance and presence of pyrethrum oils.

Used for centuries medicinally, feverfew is also a popular herb to relieve migraine symptoms. Although it can be ingested, usually as a tea, care should always be taken to consult a doctor before introducing it into your diet.

#11 Floss Flower

Depending on your growing zone, these pretty little flowers may act like an annual, but are self sowing and will come back year after year in any zone if the seeds are allowed to drop. They also are incredibly hardy, and fairly frost tolerant in sunny locations, putting out blooms well into late fall and early winter in mild-climates, making them an ideal container plant.

The long lasting blooms typically come in blue and purple shades, but have been cultivated to show pinks, reds, and even whites. Plant in containers with other sun-lovers, or amongst your perennial gardens for a splash of color later in the season.

Because of their strong fragrance, they repel mosquitoes and biting flies, but a note of caution, they also have spiny stems and leaves, which act as an irritant and can cause an allergic reaction in some people.

#12 Snowbrush

Source

A native to the western states, this evergreen shrub is found growing in the wild through the at 3500 feet and above, and is easy to propagate in your garden given the correct conditions. Partial to rocky, well drained soils, snowbrush does best in sunny locations, and blooms beautiful white clusters of flowers spring through late summer.

Easily propagated from both wild cuttings and treated seeds, snowbrush can grow either as a woody shrub or be trained to have a trailing effect. Both flowers and foliage give off a sticky, sweet balsam aroma which repels many biting insects, and also keep deer and rabbit at bay.

Despite its growing preferences, this shrub is very tolerant of a variety of soil types, and can be grown almost anywhere, creating a beautiful backdrop to your yard edge, or mixed in with other border shrubs.

#13 Pennyroyal

A highly potent plant, the use of anything other than as a decorative plant to help repel mosquitoes, ants, gnats, and fleas should be done with caution. I should note, however, that using fresh cuttings in pockets and in hat brims is most effective in keeping nasty hiting bugs away, and is completely safe as long as the plant, or plant oils, are not ingested unless under supervision of a doctor.

Used along walkways, house entrances and foundations, and near pet quarters- when pennyroyal is stepped on or brushed against it will send up fresh bursts of scent that staves off the worst of our annoying insects as well as mice.

As an insect deterrent, these low growing plants can be extremely helpful in the vegetable garden as well, and wards off many types of beetles that will quickly decimate your crops. Simply plant under or around susceptible plants to keep them pest free, but be sure to either transplant them into a container for the winter, or rip them up to replant in the spring as they are in the mint family can become invasive if not kept in check.

#14 Thyme

Used fresh in cuttings, dried, or in oils, thyme contains a toxic aroma to many insects, and is beneficial to use as a natural insecticide. These properties also make it a popular plant to have around roses and other blooming perennials that have a tendency to attract destructive bugs. Sporting a small attractive flower, thyme is worth having within your garden beds to deter insects, and to reap the natural relaxing and detoxifying properties it also contains.

Growing thyme from seed is a slow, tedious process, so if you are able to purchase a plant for your garden- you are much better off when getting started propagating this small, woody shrub. Proper cutting is important to keep shoots tender and harvestable for use, and plants should be cut back in early spring to influence new growth. After a few years the plant may get too woody to use and may need to be replaced.

#15 Pitcher Plant

Often thought of as a tropical plant, these North American natives can be found growing from Canada all the way to Texas, and with the correct soils, make a beautiful, albeit deadly addition to your garden. Blooms arrive in spring before sending up colorful pitchers that last through the growing season. It’s these pitchers that send up a sweet smell that attracts insects and lures them to their death.

Wet feet in sandy soils, dry stems, and lots of sunlight are a must to be successful in growing these plants, but once established should be pretty much left alone to do its thing. They are self-fertilizing and should be left out of your fertilization schedule as well since this mistake is what often kills off a mature plant.

The pitcher plant doesn’t exactly repel mosquitoes, but it will digest the occasional mosquito, as well as many other bothersome insects- and is fun and colorful to have around for garden variety.

#16 Cadaga Tree

Part of the eucalyptus family, the cadaga tree is a native to Australia and does best when grown in zones 9-11. Tolerant of frosts, this particular tree can become invasive in the correct environment, so growing in a contained area is suggested as it can reach upwards of 40 feet.

As with other members of this plant family, the oils found in this vegetation are highly effective in it’s use against biting insects, and when placed in community areas will aid in keeping an area clear of mosquitoes. It also is a very interesting plant to look at, putting forth soft red leaves in the summer as new growth, and has a peeling bark that increases in interest as the tree ages.

#17 Incense Cedar

Not to be confused with a true cedar native to parts of Asia, incense cedar is a western North American native evergreen that can grow to heights of 100 feet. One of my favorite scents, incense cedar is named such due to it’s fragrant fan-like needles. These are a popular tree to plant for shade and windbreaks, and are easy to keep trimmed and shaped as well for decorative use.

Slow growing, trees only put on approximately 6 inches a growth for its first 10 years until root systems are established, but can grow to 5 feet in width quickly- hence its popularity as a privacy screen when planted together. Added benefits come from it’s spicy fragrance, long popular with woodworkers for its natural insect repellent and decay resistance. When planted as a hedge, or yard border, you have the extra protection against wood boring insects, as well as many biting insects as well.

#18 Lemongrass

A tropical plant, lemongrass does best when grown indoors or transplanted outdoors after the last frost. Considered mature at 4 to 8 months of age, the plant can be harvested every 3 to 4 months by cutting the stalks and using both fresh and dried in teas. New plants are easy to grow by removing new stalks and putting them in water until new roots form.

Because of its high level of citral, the oils used to repel insects, both the fresh plant, as well as the oils, are effective in using as a natural insect repellent. Oils should be avoided by children however, as they are often too strong for sensitive skins.

Another perk to this plant is it’s use for flavoring rices, stir-fries, soups, and smoothies while fresh. And since it grows well indoors, you can have a fresh, green element year round in your kitchen!

Dry And Hang Through Your Yard And House

Whereas some plants repel unwanted pests naturally, others need to be harvested and dried to get the most out of them. Drying herbs and grasses is a simple process and doesn’t require anything but a pair of scissors, a little bit of string, a paper bag, and someplace to hang your plants. You can also dry your herbs on a screen, in a dehydrator, in the oven, and even in the microwave – but most herbs and grasses have very little moisture to begin with so hanging them is the best way to ensure their color and oils aren’t lost through the drying process.

For best results, be sure to harvest in the morning after the dew has dried, but before the sun burns off any newly formed essential oils. The following are a list of plants best used when dried to help repel those annoying mosquitoes.

#19 Pineapple Weed

Also called wild chamomile, this low growing wild plant is native throughout the world and has been used medicinally, as a preservative, and as a repellent for countless years. Mostly found in arid southwestern areas in compacted soil and away from perennial competition, this little plant can be cultivated from its petal-less flowerheads and planted where you can get at them easily for harvest.

Good to seep into teas fresh, once dried, the pineapple weed can be crushed and rubbed into your clothing, or hung in areas likely to draw insects to help repel them. Fresh plants can also be rubbed on your skin.

#20 Sweet Fern

Another native plant, sweet fern is found along the eastern coastal states, north into Canada, and into the Mid-west. It is a small shrub that can reach 5 feet in height, and spreads underground though its root system in poor soils, making it a popular contender for commercial nursery sales.

The leaves have a sweet smell, hence it’s name, and when dried has historically been used in teas as well as for stomach troubles. My favorite use of it is when dried and bundled into a tight ‘smudge-like stick’, sweet fern can also be burned to help repel mosquitoes. Simply bundle tightly with thread after drying and place on a non-flammable surface. Once lit, it should burn slowly, releasing a fragrant and steady stream of smoke.

#21 Tansy

Although tansy is a pretty and easy to grow plant, it can be toxic when consumed in large quantities, and reports of livestock animals ingesting the plant and falling ill, or even dying, have been reported. If you are growing tansy be sure to keep it in a contained area as it spreads easily and rapidly through its roots, and that your livestock cannot get at it. Despite the warnings, it is a nice plant to have, especially to harvest for homemade insect repellents.

Although fresh leaves can be used for this recipe, dried leaves create a more potent spray since the oils will be more concentrated. The concoction is easy enough and requires steeping the plant in hot water before cooling and straining and placing in a spray bottle. When using to spray in plants use a little oil soap so it adheres to the plant. When using on yourself, spray your skin and clothes as you would with any other type of OTC insect repellent. Plus it smells so much better!

#22 Vanilla Leaf

Vanilla leaf is very particular about its growing habitats, and is found as a native plant along the northwestern Pacific coast in moist soils in shady areas. Once established they can tolerate drought conditions, but cultivating them in a garden hasn’t been met with much success.

Luckily, these plants can be found in abundance and harvested spring through fall in it’s native setting. Popular in tea due to its vanilla aroma, when dried in a dehydrator will fill your house with the heady scent of vanilla, and repel insects as well. Although you can rub the fresh leaves on your skin to help as a natural insecticide, when dried and bundled it serves as an effective smudge stick, similar to sweet fern.

#23 Wormwood

Known worldwide as absinthe, this plant has a historical significance in medicine dating back over 3000 years. Traditionally used for stomach ailments, once dried and stored properly it is used in small, controlled amounts to for a variety of different discomforts.

Wormwood is easy to grow and is a beneficial plant to have in your garden. The leaves contain the resinous particles which can be used as a natural insecticide. When dried, bundles of the herb can be placed in doorways, closets, etc – or even worn on hat brims or in pockets to help ward off the whine of mosquitoes.

Despite its many uses, only external applications are without caution. If using this plant in anyway other way, be sure to both consult an herbalist and doctor to avoid any side effects.

Extract Oils As A Rub, Or To Use In A Spray

Even though all of the plants listed in this article are somewhat effective in helping keep mosquitoes away, when extracted for oils they become much more potent. The plants listed below need a release of oils in order to work at all in repelling mosquitoes. As with drying techniques, be sure to harvest your plants at the optimum time to get the most oil out of your plants.

Some of the plants listed only need to be crushed in your hands to release the oils and be rubbed into your skin, but if you are looking for more long-term effects, or want to optimize on all your plant has to offer, follow the link below to extract your own oils.

Primitive oil extraction is not as difficult as it sounds, and you can easily complete the process with little fuss. Please note that by using the linked methods you will not be getting 100% pure oils and they should not be ingested. But they are perfect to use in homemade insect sprays and certain topical applications.

#24 Lemon Thyme

Grown just like it’s ‘big brother’ thyme mentioned above, lemon thyme has a light citrus flavor, and sometimes benefits from being grown indoors in a container despite being hardy to zone 5. Useful in many recipes, lemon thyme is popular for its subtle flavors with chicken and pork, and should be harvested regularly to encourage new growth.

Alone, lemon thyme is not a good insect repellent, and the oils of the plant can be rubbed onto your skin after picking and bruising the leaves in your hands to release the insecticidal properties. On it’s own, this is a quick relief, but to make it more effective, extract the oils and mix with others into a spray. Eucalyptus and Catnip are two choices that have shown to be effective with lemon thyme, and when mixed into a coconut, or soybean oil base, extend the life of the repellent.

#25 Citronella

Citronella plants are native to Southern Asia, and are commonly grown in frost-free zones within the United States as ornamentals. Once mistaken to create mosquito free zones wherever planted, studies eventually proved it was only the oils from the plant, not the actual plant itself, that proved effective in warding off biting insects.

A large grass, it can also be planted in a container and brought in when no fear of frost is present. Since it is an ornamental plant, its aesthetic properties only compliment the mosquito warding efficiency it holds within its leaves.

Breaking off a frond and rubbing it on your skin can give you a few hours relief. If you are looking for something stronger, extracting the oils and mixing it with vanillin (extract from the vanilla bean) provides long term relief comparable to deet. Furthermore, the oil also has antibacterial and antifungal properties, making this a worthwhile plant to have around!

#26 Lemon Scented Geranium

Scented geraniums are part of the ‘window-box’ variety that we plant in our porch containers and summer gardens. Often, when we find one we truly like we can overwinter it in a sunny window, but generally these hybridized aromatics die out with the first frost.

A joy to grow, these scented varieties are also popular to dry for potpourris, seeped in bath waters, or even use in baking, jams, and jellies! There are many varieties of scented geraniums, and no few than 6 lemon scented choices to pick from- although the citronella variety quickly became the most popular during the 1980’s due to a horticulturalist’s claims to have engineered a mosquito repelling geranium through genetic modification of a rose-scented geranium and citronella grass.

His selling point was that when placed around a property it would repel mosquitoes. After a decade of popularity, and little proof of it’s effectiveness, some scientists stepped in to examine these claims. Alas, this wasn’t to be so, BUT what was created was a citronella scented plant, that, when crushed and rubbed on your skin, not only smells great, but does aid somewhat in helping to repel mosquitoes.

Further studies revealed that all lemon scented geraniums contained a small percentage of citronella oils, and that all were mildly effective in staving off insect bites for a few hours when rubbed on the skin, so in the end it wasn’t a total loss of marketing!

#27 Catmint

Because of it’s chemical compounds, which include citronella, catmint has a mildly sedative effect, and has been used medicinally for cold and flu remedies. Steeped into a tea it also aids in digestion and relieves bronchial problems. Furthermore, extracted oils have proven to be ten times more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET.

These easy to grow , drought-tolerant, heat- tolerant, and long -blooming perennials come in a variety of heights and colors, as well as having a showy silvery, green foliage. Once they have bloomed, if they are cut back ⅓ of the stems, you will encourage another flush of blooms later in the summer. Beware though, they aren’t called catmint for nothing! Not quite as enticing as catnip, young plants should be covered with a wire dome as felines will roll in it!

Perfect to grow in tandem with roses, it covers bare rose stems perfectly without the finickiness of many other types of companion plantings. Overall this is a must-have plant for your garden for a variety of winning reasons.

#28 Garlic

Like most bulbs, garlic needs to be planted in the fall after the first frost to ensure a healthy crop the following summer. Be sure to harvest, cure, and dry correctly to ensure long storage life, leaving it’s papery covering on to keep both rot and sprouting away.

Garlic is considered one of the world’s most healthy foods, and contains high amounts of essential vitamins, aides in heart health, has anti-inflammatory properties, and lowers blood pressure, to name a few. If these aren’t enough reason to have them as a staple in your garden, then consider that squeezing and rubbing the juice on your skin will also keep mosquitoes far away for the better part of an hour (and possibly everything else).

#29 Eucalyptus

This Australian native is closely related to the earlier mentioned cadaga tree, but can grow more than twice asb large in a tropical environment, occasionally reaching 130 feet in height. Because of this a variety of species that do better in pots and are fairly easy to care for.

Famous for their silver-dollar foliage and heady scent, eucalyptus trees conjures up images of the Australian outback, fuzzy koala bears, and kangaroos, but this tree is much more beneficial that a series of happy media images. Eucalyptus oil is derived from the leaves, and has a multitude of health benefits, is often found in mouthwashes, dental solvents, cough lozenges, and decongestants. But most important to this article is that the U.S. officially registered it as an insecticide and miticide in 1948.

As effective as DEET, or even more so, eucalyptus oil should be applied consistently to maintain protection. If you should get bit using this oil, it doubles as an antibacterial agent and will help keep swelling to a minimum.

#30 Mint

A variety of mints have been discussed previously in this article, but not in relation to the added benefits of using mentha as an oil. When people hear about mint, they often automatically think peppermint, but as seen above, many plants are part of the mint family- and gardeners have a choice of the fragrances they would like to smell in their gardens. All mints are aromatic either fresh or dried, but the extraction of their oil really brings about their true properties, and potency.

The health benefits of mint add up quickly; everything from curing hiccups to boosting memory has been attributed to this bountiful plant through using fresh leaves in cooking, to distilling oils into topical ointments.

Many recipes using mint around the house are also in existence. MInt oils are incredibly effective to help repel insects around the house, and as a natural insecticide and mosquito spray. SImply mixing oils with a carrier oil (such as grapeseed oil) and water and sprayed around the house will repel a variety of insects. Rubbed into your skin it is also very effective in keeping off mosquitoes.

#31 Nodding Onion

A few discrepancies exist concerning the native habitat of this particular plant, but research has shown that it has shown up historically throughout Canada, through the Great Lakes region, and well into the northern regions of the Southern states. Most likely cultivated by early settlers, it can nosw be found throughout the Western states as well. Although it has similar properties to garlic, this wild onion isn’t often gathered for cooking anymore due to its strong flavors.

When pressed for both juice and oils, this plant can be effective in repelling mosquitoes when rubbed on the skin.

#32 Catnip

Almost identical chemically to catmint, catnip isn’t of the same ornamental value of catmint due to hybridization, but does attract cats much more readily. Once believed to draw in cats to keep rodents away, European farmers planted catnip around the foundations of both house and barn. But catnip did muchybh more than attract local kitties- catnip repels termites and cockroaches, two other nuisances definitely not welcome in any home, and these boundaries of plants helped to keep a tidy home.

Like catmint, extracted oil is incredibly effective as a mosquito deterrent, and as a natural remedy is worth the effort it takes to extract the plants oils.

#33 Pyrethrum

Also known as a hybridized painted daisy, this non-native perennial looks like a harmless flower, but hides an important secret. Originally white, these flowers are grown and harvested for their toxic properties used in pest control.

There are many commercialized versions of pyrethrum available, and has been deemed one of the most effective insecticide available. However, using this topically is definitely a no-no as toxicology reports have shown data that there may be negative human effects through skin contact, so the handling of extracted pyrethrum should be done with care, and should not be used on the skin. Instead, a misting spray used once or twice a day has proven to be effective in managing lingering mosquitoes in your yard.

Home production is as simple as soaking the flowerheads in warm water for a few hours to create a spray toxic to all insects in comes in contact with, including beneficial pollinators. Sprayed around windows and doors can help in keeping mosquitos away, but be sure not in inhale the mist as you spray.

#34 Stone Root

Another member of the mint family, this tall, straight stemmed plant bears a pale yellow flower and smells of lemon, giving it the nickname richweed. As with most of the mint family, the stone root plant has a variety of health benefits, and was used to heal wounds, aid in digestion, and put to use as a mild antiseptic by early settlers. Currently, many studies are being done in its use as a diuretic and to treat kidney stones.cult

Found natively within the eastern states, stone root can be cultivated within the garden as long as it has a moist, acidic environment.

Due to its mint properties, stone root oil can be extracted from leaves and used as a spray to repel mosquitoes. Like the rest of it’s family, it doesn’t have any warnings concerning topical applications, and both leaves and oils can be rubbed into the skin.

#35 Tea Tree

Tea trees are incredibly easy to cultivate within a container, and are favorites of greenhouse enthusiasts. Easy to grow and prune, this fast growing tree can be cut back to keep small, or let loose to grow as large as you will allow. The only major catch is to allow this tree to have a lot of water and not be allowed to dry greenout. It is an ideal plant for self-watering containers, and is very forgiving of overwatering.

Evergreen needle striations and variable flower colors, combined with an interesting, papery bark, creates a favorable interest to add to your indoor plants. But the interest shouldn’t end there. Harvesting a select number of needles to soak in either water or a carrier oil will produce a lovely insecticidal spray. Or if you like, you can skim off the oils to take advantage of their antiseptic, antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties to use in household cleaning solutions and topical ointments.

Tea Tree oil is especially useful as a natural bug spray, and once sprayed on should be rubbed into your skin, as well as sprayed onto your clothes for maximum effectiveness. If you do happen to get bit, apply the oil directly to the bite for immediate relief.

Anything to Add?

Hopefully this list has exhausted the many uses of the many plants you possibly already have, or have been thinking of planting in your yard space. But more importantly, your brain should be flooded with all-natural mosquito repellents, and their effectiveness at keeping those whiney little insects at bay.

Everything from specific groupings of plants, to hanging dried sprigs, and oil extraction makes living pest free this summer a possibility. I’ve already had very little interference from biting winged insects after some strategically placed plants and oils are used in tandem.

So experiment away and share your experiences with what works, and what doesn’t’ below! Questions? Feel free to ask, and as always, share this article to help spread the word!

The above blog post 35 Plants That Repel Mosquitoes was first published to Back Yard Boss

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The Importance Of Classroom Farming

As both a teacher and mother I have seen the wonder and amazement of a job completed and well done on the faces of children. Introducing ownership of a task both begun and finished is a productive and responsible way to foster a sense of integrity and accomplishment that can be applied to every walk of life: and growing a classroom garden is an amazing way to illustrate this point.

“The single biggest prognosticator for a child’s success in life is having access to one kind [and] caring adult,” and Stephen Ritz, a long time Bronx, New York resident and teacher, is determined to be that person to his students and to his community.

Stephen found himself teaching in one of the most violent high schools in New York shortly after personal tragedy stuck his own family. He became inspired in his journey of influence after hundreds of neglected and forgotten daffodil bulbs he had stashed behind a radiator bloomed into existence and were discovered by his students – motivating him to recognize a symbolic lesson to use within his classroom. And thus, was born the Green Bronx Machine.

In an area that held thousands of people per building with no supermarkets, and where sustenance came from 20 foot by 20 foot buildings stocked with “manufactured, edible, synthetic substances”; Stephen realized the importance of needing something of worth moving both in and out of the community.

Starting with simple gardening and landscaping, his students and community volunteers quickly moved on to food production and job opportunities- all driven by his students year after year who were required to be part of some sort of gardening project to open their minds, and see more than what was marketed to them on the streets of New York.

This successful project has not only highlighted the determination, growth, and resilience of the many gardens growing within this concrete city, but of his students and community citizens as well.

The blog post The Importance Of Classroom Farming is republished from http://backyardboss.net

28 Super Unique And Easy To Make Fence Planters

Fence planters are one of the best ways to brighten up a backyard and bring the colors of flowers and shrubs up from the ground and at eye level. It can really bring a garden to life and is a great way to add some personality to your backyard.

Some people, those handy dandy ones, can whip up homemade planters from just about nothing while others prefer to purchase pre made ones. Regardless of what you choose, these 28 awesome and unique fence planters are sure to inspire!

1) A Spoonful

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It doesn’t take much to pretty up your backyard and line your fence with planters. No need to run out to the hardware store and load up with materials to build elaborate boxes. Most of what you need can be found around the house. Here we have basic mason jars with a wire handle and hooks made from bent spoons. Genius, I say!

2) Plants in My Pocket

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This is a great idea for small gardens and short fences. You can pack a lot of flowers or herbs into these hanging pockets without taking up hardly any space at all. It would even be a great idea for a small apartment balcony

3) The Right Angle

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This is a prime example of how you can create beautiful fence planters out of basically nothing. Regular rain gutters, screwed onto the fence on certain angles give a cool esthetic and are the perfect size for flowers.

4) Ripple Effect

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This is a more permanent approach to a fence planter. If you’re dedicated to it and prefer to have something that will last longer and actually contributes to the architecture of your backyard, then this is a great idea!

5) Rollin’ in Style

Unique Flower Pots Tire

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Growing up, my grandfather reused everything, especially old tires. Everything from swings to lawn figurines and even cool fence planters. Leave them black or paint them bright colors to add a little pop of personality.

6) Hang it Up

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If you’re not totally sold on the idea of installing a bunch of planters to your fence boards or siding, then consider hanging one on a hook like this. One small hole is easier to patch up than a dozen or more. It’s definitely great idea for people who are maybe renting the property but want to spruce it up a bit.

7) Inside Look

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Here’s the before image of how you can use the full length of an old metal rain gutter for a new fence planter. You could grow tons of flowers, herbs, and even berries in this bad boy.

8) For the Birds

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What a super cool and fun idea to take care of two backyard necessities. Sweet little fence planters to show off some color and style, but also a way to attract some beautiful birds to your home. That is, unless you’re one of those people who are terrified of birds, then…maybe not.

9) A Unique Angle

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Here’s a step-by-step guide to build this cool angled, three tiered fence planter. Leave it a natural wood color to age in the sun, or stain (or even paint) it to match your house. It’s the perfect way to introduce a bit of your own style to the backyard.

10) A Colorful Pallet

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There’s next to no effort required to pull off this design. An old used pallet, a few coats of paint, and place where you please. When turned on their side like this, a shelf of sorts is created where you can plant flowers and other things.

11) A Concrete Idea

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This is innovation at it’s finest. This picture shows the planters actually built in to the fence, but you could easily have it separate. And how easy is it? Well, if you can flip over a cinder block then you’re covered.

12) Modular Fun

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How cool is this idea? It would make a great fence planter for a modern home but still fit with a tradition setting. All you need are some PVC tubes, a bit of wire, and some free time. Voila! Modern tubular planters to show off some unique flowers.

13) DIY Privacy

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Some of you may not have a fence to hang pretty planters from. But that’s okay! Where there’s a will, there’s a way and you can just build your own! This nifty little infographic shows how you can make your very own privacy fence/divider with a built-in planter to boot!

14) Tall and Slim

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This is a really cool idea for two reasons. One, they’re nice and narrow so they can fit along any space, even a small apartment balcony. And two, my favorite, is that you can literally create a fence with these. Join them together and line your backyard with them. Talk about multi-use!

15) Light It Up

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I love this idea! Yes, this image shows the planters on the side of a wall, but my thinking is that you can easily incorporate it to work with a fence. Why not? But the reason why I think this is so great is the added lighting. Battery or solar powered lights would add some beautiful ambiance to your patio or backyard.

16) Staggered Simplicity

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If you look closely, this idea is so basic and super easy to recreate. It’s merely four long boards used as sides and connect with narrow slats to create “baskets” to use as planters. It’s genius and looks fabulous.

17) ABC’s

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How awesome is this idea? So unique and a really great way to add some character to your backyard. You’d simply construct a few letters from wood, creating them with a hollow, then fill with soil and moss to keep everything vertical, and flowers.

18) Ladder Up

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This is a really good idea for just about any outdoor area, mostly because it’s so versatile. It doesn’t have to install to the fence boards so it makes the perfect planter for a rental property. And it can be placed anywhere along your fence so mix it up, play around with placements, even switch it up every now and then just to refresh your backyard.

19) Framed Perfection

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This is a cool project for those of you who are avid DIYers. Rally up some old pallets, clean them up and separate the boards. All you need are six pieces per frame; two sides, top, bottom, and two slats for the back to install onto the fence. Easy as that. Stain or paint them to give a more polished look and match to other things in your yard.

20) Hooked on Planters

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So, this one is shown on an interior wall but I liked this idea because I see how easily it could be adapted to fence planters. Shop around for some cute buckets or pots with a handle, attach some hooks to your fence boards and hang them on. So easy, it’s ridiculous. And you could make patterns, stagger them, etc.

21) DIY Heaven

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Now here’s a project for you to do this weekend! The great thing about it is that you can make it as big and long as you want. Line the whole fence if you choose. Whatever floats your boat…or plants your flowers.

22) Classic Style

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These simple and classic fence planters hang along the railing of your deck or along the top of your fence, whichever works. But they’re gorgeous and simple, fitting in just about any setting. This helpful source even gives advice as to what plants work best.

23) Indexing with Color

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Recognize these colorful gems? They’re card index boxes turned on their sides and given a new purpose with a coat of paint and some cool flowers. The beauty of this idea is that you can use other things, too. Old drawers, tins, rain gutters, etc. Whatever you can think of!

24) A Window of Ideas

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The next time you’re at a yard sale, don’t pass on the old windows. Scoop them up and bring them home to make these unique fence planters. It may require a fresh coat of paint and some Windex, but who cares? They probably only cost a dollar.

25) Camouflaged Couture

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We already visited the idea of using rain gutters for fence planters, but we never spoke about doing them this way. Try and match the color of your gutters to the color of your fence (you may need to paint them) so that all you see is the pop of colors from the flowers you plant. Gawgeous, dawling!

26) Back to Basics

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This may appear like a complex structure but it’s really not. All you need are four long boards, a few triangle pieces cut with a 90-degree angle, and then some basic wooden boxes. Leave it natural or stain/paint to your liking.

27) Delicate Delights

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So you went a little overboard at the nursery this week and now you’re stuck with a ton of hanging plants with nowhere to hang them? No worries, all you need are some pretty hooks like these. Attach them to your fence posts to brighten up your yard and create a place to hang those extra planters.

28) Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

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This is such a fun project! If you’re looking for some great DIY projects you can do with your kids this weekend, then try this out. Save some soup cans and such, clean them up nicely, and cover with different colors. Add some sparkles and other fun stuff to liven up the backyard, too.

Are You Ready!

So what did you think? Any of these great fence planter ideas strike your fancy? Are you revved up to tackle a cool DIY project this weekend? I hope so! Comment and share your project with us!

The blog post 28 Super Unique And Easy To Make Fence Planters was originally published on Back Yard Boss

Everything You Should Know About Lawn Care Maintenance

You can try and teach someone how to do something until you’re blue in the face. But a lot of people (like myself) are simply more visual. We learn much better through detailed images and videos and absorb the information. This could be anything from Game of Thrones trivia to how to bake a pie.

If you’re looking for good and helpful information regarding lawn care then look no further, I present to you the ultimate infographic. Everything is broken down by months and seasons so it’s sure to teach you everything you need to understand about proper lawn care maintenance and help you to maximize your efforts.

Everything You Should Know About Lawn Care Maintenance was originally published to http://backyardboss.net

31 Attractive and Easy Sun Loving Perennials: A to Z

Have a sunny, dry area that would look great loaded with flowers, but you are unsure what could survive there?  Look no further, a huge selection of blooming perennials that are both sun loving, and heat tolerant are readily available for you to choose from to fill that space.

Living in Southeastern New Mexico, I am constantly looking for plants to bring life and color to my yard, and have found a lively selection to add to my many sunny garden beds.  Read on to keep your garden in bloom from early spring through frost with our A-Z collection of flowers below.

#1 Azalea: Spring Blooms Kick Your Season Off

Heat tolerant, cold hardy, and evergreen, not much can stop these beautiful woody plants that add year-round interest in just about any climate. Pick the color of your choice, and watch them bloom in mid-spring and again mid to late summer for many varieties!

#2 Agastache: Bring in the Hummingbirds

Multi-colored, long flower spikes bloom all summer and into fall, attracting a bountiful of both hummingbirds and butterflies! Disease and pest resistant, these make a beautiful, hardy backdrop for any garden or walkway.

#3 Blanket Flower: A Variety to Choose From

Choose from a variety of red, yellow, and orange hues to brighten up your garden! Native to many Southwestern areas, these plants will grow prolifically in almost every zone, and are easy to separate for controlled transplanting. Blooms last for months through the summer and well into fall.

#4 Buddleia: Bring on the Butterflies!

Apptly nicknamed the butterfly bush, these purple hued flowers bloom from early summer through fall, and can fit any sized space you want! Compact, as well as towering, bush versions are available- and are sure to be a crowd pleaser. Once established they hardly need any watering! Plus, the butterflies love them!

#5 Crape Myrtle: Reblooming Magnificence

Dense and disease resistant, these heat tolerant beauties have an intensely large and vibrant bloom twice a year (especially if deadheaded). Plus they have unique fall foliage and winter interest! Be careful of the variety you buy as some can reach 20 feet or more! For small areas, 2-3 foot varieties are available.

#6 Clematis: Twine Through Your Garden

Although the roots of these vining plants like a shady spot, they thrive in sunshine and once established, add height and delicate interest throughout your garden. Add a ground cover plant or larger perennial to shade the roots, and let this beauty twine into your roses and up trellis and arbors, or even meander horizontally along a fence. A variety of colors, single blooming, and reblooming varieties are available for any garden need!

#7 Coral Bells: Stunning Foliage and Delicate Florets

Double the interest, these sun lovers have stunning light green, purple, red, or orange foliage that doesn’t fade through the season! Plus they send up graceful blooms of tiny stalked, bell-shaped flowers all summer long! These reliable plants do well in both sun and shade, and often keep their color through the winter in protected areas.

#8 Daylilies: Kick off Your Summer Blooms

A true and timeless classic, daylilies add interest and depth to both borders and garden backgrounds. Available in a variety of rainbow hues, stalks explode with short lasting blooms through the middle of summer. Drought tolerant, poor soil forgiving, disease and deer resistant, these plants do it all in any growing zone.

#9 Echinacea: Bursting with Possibilities

Commonly called a coneflower, these multi-petaled must haves are bursting with color through the summer and early fall without deadheading. Attractive to bees, butterflies, and a variety of birds for both nectar and seed heads, they are a fail safe addition to your sunny areas.

#10 Floribunda Roses: Heady with Scent

Most people don’t like time it takes to care for roses, but what’s a garden without a rose? Roses aren’t as difficult as people think, and hardy floribunda have been cultivated as reblooming carpet, climbing, and bush varieties that are easy to grow, and once established are both heat and disease resistant. A gardener’s dream come true!

#11 Geraniums: Hardy Picks

Not your mother’s container flowers, these hardy varieties will come back year and after year in shades of blue, lavender, and purple for added summer and fall interest in your sunny spots. Typically mound shaped, these beauties can also add a low trailing interest along borders, and are wonderfully deer and pest resistant.

#12 Hydrangea: Add in Unique

Acid loving, these variable flowers open white, pink, and a true blue with the right soil conditions. Don’t want the added responsibility of the correct soil pH? No worries! Your flowers will still bloom lighter shades in the spring and fall, and can even handle poor soil conditions once established. They also are a perfect addition to your flower arrangements and dry beautifully as well, adding winter interest and height to your garden.

#13 Iris: Lavish Color All Spring

Mix a variety of different iris for bountiful, colorful blossoms all through the spring and into early summer. These beauties can handle almost any growing conditions and thrive in every zone possible. They almost seem like the worse the growing condition, the better they do! Easy to separate, these tubers can even survive out of the ground for extended periods of time, and get right back to growing once replanted.

#14 Jovibarba: Succulent Beauty

A sunny spot isn’t complete without a variety of succulents for added interest and color. Hens and chicks are among the most popular and grow excellently with a minimum of care or watering in both garden bed settings, as well as within planters. Extremely heat and cold tolerant, these unique plants will be happy wherever you plant them.

#15 Kniphofia: Dramatic Depth and Color

Part of the lily family, these are also often called torch lilies due to their tall, torch like stalk with bright flower heads that bloom in early summer. Hardy in all conditions, these dramatic plants are often a staple in Southern and Western xeriscaping, but many varieties handle much colder climates as well and are underestimated in the Northern clime.

#16 Lupines: Fast Action

Evergreen foliage in warmer climates, Lupines add height and depth quickly each spring to your garden as it grows new foliage and tall spires loaded with abundant blooms late spring through mid-summer. Divides easily every few years to add further interest and color to your garden!

#17 Lavender: Heady Scent and Mosquito Repellant

Charming and fragrant, these low mounding plants help repel mosquitos when planted around your yard in both the garden beds and planters. Stalks of versatile flowers appear in summer, and are excellent when cut and dried to add to lemonades- as well as in drawers and closets to keep clothes smelling fresh!

#18 Monarda: Bring In the Bees with This Balm

The vibrant reds and purples of bee balm will bloom all summer, and attract pollinators to your garden in droves. Hummingbirds and butterflies are also attracted to the abundant colors of this plant that is a must have for all sunny garden spots.

#19 Nemesia: Spring and Winter Southern Interest

This small purple and white flower carpets your garden borders and adds interest during the cooler temperatures of early spring, fall, and winter depending on your hardiness zone. In the heat of summer the plants may not bloom as much in full sun, but never fear! The flowers will come back with a vengeance. This is also a very popular plant for planters and do well in all summer zones.

#20 Oriental Poppy: Delicate and Divine

The large, papery flowers of the poppy are a favorite in all gardens. Their showy warm hues are a fantastic compliment to roses, and do well as a cut flower in bouquets.  A cooler climate flower, the poppy will survive fine in Southern zones, but will bloom earlier in spring and for a shorter duration before going dormant during the heat of the summer.

#21 Phlox: Easy Loving

Floriferous all summer and into fall, the cool shades of phlox provide a fabulous creeping cover, or a spectacular backdrop to your summer foliage depending on the variety you choose. These are a must have for the perennial garden, and it’s not hard to see why! These cheerful little clusters wake up your summer garden early, and add in the deep violets and purples often not seen until fall by other blooming plants.

#22 Peony: Mid-Spring Eruptions!

You know summer is fast approaching when these dashing flowers burst upon the scene! Rich in colors, with velvety looking petals, the large blooms seem too delicate to handle the variety of poor soils it can withstand. Just cut back to the ground each fall to have another spring of show stopping drama.  

#23 Russian Sage: Long-Blooming Classic

The more you ignore this long standing classic, the better it grows. Tolerant of basically every condition, Russian sage sends out silvery purple stalks of flowers all summer long. Adored by hummingbirds, it is completely ignored by other garden pests, deer included, and makes a perfect deterrent to garden predators.

#24 Rose of Sharon: Exotic and Hardy

The perfect tropical bloom, but made to withstand a variety of growing zones and conditions, these hardy hibiscus look like they belong on an island paradise. Easy to grow and cultivate, these varieties include small shrubs, and tall, spreading bushes – so be careful of the choice you make! Once you see these spectacular blooms, you won’t want to dig it up!

#25 Shasta Daisy: Time-Honored Blooms For Any Space

Deadheading this perennial must-have will keep you in blooms mid-summer through frost. In fact, the more you pick to display, the more this plant will flower! Depending on your zone, these sun lovers will also tolerate some shade, and even stay evergreen to the south – but are hardy enough to bounce back from the most wicked of winters.

#26 Sedum: Take Your Pick

Extremely drought tolerant, these perennials can grow practically everywhere. Available in both mounding and ground cover type varieties, they stay evergreen in everything but the most chilled environment- and are easy to use in rock gardens for added seasonal interest.

#27 Turtlehead: All Around Keeper

These small clumping plants tolerate most conditions, but in the most arid of climates you may want to provide it with afternoon shade in order to better appreciate a longer flowering life. Neer invasive, this little plant will slowly spread over time, and allow you to transplant into new areas, or even containers, easily. Tolerant of wet soils, this is a great choice for pond edging as well.

#28 Viburnum: Add Year-Round Interest

Huge blooms, showy foliage, and vibrant berries make this a plant of choice for all season interest.  A woody plant, you may want to prune it, but be sure to do so after it blooms in spring since it flowers on the previous years growth.

#29 Weigela: Color Explosion Spring to Fall

Tame your weigela to mound, or trail, its dark foliage and blooms through your golden greens and and bright flowers to add contrast and drama to your sun loving beds. Bright wine colored flowers bloom in late spring, and purplish foliage turns colors through the heat of summer to keep interest all growing season.

#30 Yarrow: Saturation Your Space ALL Summer Long

These wide headed clusters of yellow, pinks, whites, and reds make for a stunning, long lasting display year after year. In love with the poorest of soils, these perennials do best in dry, hot conditions. Cut flowers also add interest and shape to your bouquets, and dry beautifully to show off indoors year-round.

#31 Zephyranthes: Late Summer Blooms

These low maintenance bulbs send up numerous blooms in response to late summer rains, hence their nickname ‘rain lily’. Tolerant of dry conditions through the spring and summer, these small plants will begin to send up grass-like leaves shortly after becoming established and weave their way through your flower beds year after year. To encourage late summer blooms, either water well, or wait for seasonal rains, sit back, and enjoy!

Ready, Set, Plant!

Hopefully I’ve provided you with a variety of sun loving, easy to grow perennials that will happily find a way into your flowerbeds – or perhaps you need to get busy making space for new ones!

As with all new plants they need a period of adjustment to get established. Water is a crucial element during this stage, so plants often do best when planted after the last frost while the weather is still cool enough to avoid quickly drying soils. Occasionally this isn’t conducive, but neither is standing outside hand watering your plants day and night. To plant your perennials anytime, and to alleviate any moisture concerns, try creating your own soaker hose to keep your soils moist and help your plants put down deep roots for healthy and strong blooms later on.

 

As always, share your experiences, add to the list, or ask a question below! Which plant are you putting in first? Let us know!

The above article 31 Attractive and Easy Sun Loving Perennials: A to Z is republished from http://www.backyardboss.net

Create An Ecosystem With Plant Guilds

We all have an idea of what an ecosystem is, right? It’s a contained, self sufficient group of elements all working harmoniously to maintain a perfect environment. Our planet is one of the largest examples of a successful (er…sometimes) ecosystem. The earth, air, water, and atmosphere all work in union to keep the circle of life moving in, well, a circle.

But did you know you can create your very own self sustaining ecosystem right in your garden? A plant guild is the perfect grouping of different plants that each contribute to the stability of the system. If done properly, you wouldn’t have to do anything to nurture the plants, they take care of themselves.

With this awesome and comprehensive infographic, you can easily see how anyone could create a plant guild and what plants to use when doing so. One attracts bees and birds, another helps keep the weeds in line, and so on.

Check it out! Create your plant guild and let us know which grouping you used!

Create An Ecosystem With Plant Guilds was originally seen on http://backyardboss.net