Often we have customers asking for the "mosquito plant" which leads to this dialogue.   The plant generally referred to that repels mosquitos is a plant called a "scented geranium".  It is not a member of the geranium family but actually originates in South Africa and is a "pelargonium".   The Scented geranium is known for it's fragrance, not it's flowers as a geranium is.  

    Mosquito Plant - Citroen Scented Geranium

    What you see advertised in print is a scented geranium that supposedly has enough of the citronella oil in it to repel mosquitos.  It is implied that one can plant the mosquito plant outside and it will repel insects from your yard.   The interesting thing is a scented geranium is not the plant with the highest concentration of citronella oil.  Lemongrass has a much higher concentration yet it still does not have the ability to repel insects from your yard.  Best way to use either of these plants to repel insects is to simply take some leaves from the scented geranium, or in case of lemongrass some stalk, and rub it on your skin.  The pressure from your hand and heat from your body releases oil from the plant and the residual left on your skin is enough to make mosquitos seek dinner elsewhere.

    The scented geraniums can be edibles as the leaves are put in the bottom of a bundt pan prior to pouring batter in to make cake.  As the batter heats the leaves on the bottom are baked into the batter and the scent is released also into the cake.  Once the cake is done then the cake is removed from the bundt pan, turned over and the bottom becomes the top revealing the leaf colors, textures and of course the fragrance of the scented geranium used.   As the cake is cut the fragrance that went into the batter will be present and the smell is delightful.
Category: Gardening with Herbs
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