Try fly repellent plants for safe and economical pest control in the home and garden. Well-placed pots of these easy-care plants clear kitchens of annoying flies and naturally protect plants in the garden. According to an ABC television report, gardeners in Sydney's Palace Rose Garden reduced chemical usage from 800 litres a month to zero by planting insect repelling species next to roses.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
Rosemary is an evergreen perennial shrub with grey-green needle-like leaves and dark blue flowers. Rosemary is a tough but easy-to-grow plant, tolerating drought, heat and high winds well. Infrequent deep watering keeps it happy. These plants enjoy full sun, grow to a maximum height of 6 feet and are hardy in USDA zones 7 to 10. Rosmarinus officinalis, "Arp," is the hardiest of its many varieties. Rosemary attracts butterflies and bees, but insects, deer and rabbits are repelled by the strong-scented essential oils in the leaves.
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
Lavender is an aromatic perennial shrub with fragrant narrow grey-green leaves and pink, lilac, purple, blue or white flowers (depending on the variety) in the summer months. Bushes bloom between June and August, grow up to 1 1/2 feet tall and require full sun for maximum health. Lavender is tolerant of poor soils, if well-drained, and is hardy in USDA zones 5 to 8. Popular varieties include Lavandula angustifolia, "Rosea," which has pale pink flowers. Bunches of lavender hung inside the house discourage flies; planted outside in containers or beds, lavender plants repel garden pests like flies, snails and slugs.
Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
Basil is a small, aromatic, annual herb with bright green leaves and magenta flowers in the summer months. Plants enjoy full sun and those in containers must be brought inside during cold snaps, as the species is sensitive to frost. Basil plants in vegetable plots repel aphids; the lemon variety is said to improve the taste of the tomatoes when planted nearby. Basil does double duty when grown near a barbecue pit; the leaves flavour your meat dishes while the plants drive flies and mosquitoes away.
Mint (Mentha x Piperita f. citrate )
Mint is a fast-growing perennial herb with fragrant bright green leaves and lavender flowers in July and August. Mint likes plenty of water, enjoys partial shade to full sun and is hardy in USDA zones 5 to 9. Plants have a tendency to spread out, so containers, hanging baskets and large, wide pots are perfect locations for mint. Outside plants quickly form a dense and sweet-smelling ground cover when left to grow unchecked. Inside the house, a pot situated on a sunny kitchen window scents the room with a strong, fresh fragrance, particularly noticeable in the morning, and repels flies. Fresh mint leaves are useful for flavouring teas, adding to drinks like juleps; they also dry and store well when kept away from strong lights and humidity.
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