Sunday, June 6, 2010
The Mosquito Plant is a genetically engineered geranium hybrid with a unique characteristic: it repels mosquitoes! It is easily grown as a potted patio plant, and easily enjoyed for its attractive foliage and sweet lemony scent, as well as for its mosquito repelling powers. It produces a leafy, attractive, foot-tall plant during its first season.
The Mosquito Plant was created by a Dutch botanist, who genetically incorporated traits of the Chinese citronella grass into a scented African geranium. The resulting cultivar still had the growth and habit of the geranium, and its sweet lemony citronella scent. Citronella is the substance in citronella candles, which have long been used to deter mosquitoes. It doesn't harm them, but they don't like citronella and avoid it. It is most effective as a repellent if you crush a few leaves and rub them on your skin. This releases the citronella and a sweet perfume.
Like most geraniums, the Mosquito Plant is normally potted and grown outdoors during the warm season (after last and before first frosts). During the colder seasons the plants can be wintered-over indoors. In the warmer southern zones Mosquito Plants can be grown outdoors year-round where the plants can reach a mature size of 3 to 4 feet high and wide.