Helpful Plants For Outdoor Spaces

Living and entertaining outdoors in NE FL can at times be a challenge with the pesky gnats, and ants and mosquitos.  However, with so much focus on organics and natural vs pesticides, consider a small garden of herbs or a few flower pots place strategically around your patio.

Basil is one of the most versatile cooking herbs. It’s almost as invaluable outside, where it repels flies, mosquitoes and other winged pests with minimal attention from you. While some herbs require you to crush their leaves and rub them on your skin to reap protective oils and scents, simply having a healthy pot of basil on your patio table will do the trick.

Catnip got its name for a reason, so if you have a cat, you’ll need to limit your pet's  access if you want to keep your plant. While its namesake may be catnip’s greatest danger, catnip is bad news for many common pests such as ants, aphids, Japanese beetles, roaches, and stinkbugs.

Lavender,  one of my all time favorites, is another all-purpose herb, enhances any landscape with its purple blooms, silvery foliage, and classic, clean scent. That same fresh aroma scares away moths, fleas, flies, mosquitoes and stink bugs. 

Lemon balm and mint are two more all-purpose herbs. Lemon balm is an arch-enemy of mosquitoes and mint repels numerous insects. Crush the leaves of both plants to release their scents and oils. Lemon balm attracts bees, which helps both the bees and to pollinate other plants.  Plus it never hurts to have fresh mint for the summer mojitos and mint teas.