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Gardener shares the unexpected houseplant that will keep mosquitoes away: 'It works every time'

"Guess I know what I'm getting next time I'm at the garden center."

the houseplant 'lemon balm' that will keep mosquitoes away

Photo Credit: @alongthemeadow / Instagram

As mosquito season picks up, many people are suffering from itchy bites — especially folks who spend time outside in their gardens. But gardeners may also have the answer right at their fingertips. One popular plant is also a natural mosquito repellant free of artificial chemicals.

The scoop

An Instagrammer named Melissa (@alongthemeadow) shared this profoundly simple hack in June. In her video, she asks, "Did you know? Lemon balm is a super effective mosquito repellent."

Lemon balm is an edible plant that many people add to salads or brew into tea. Its name comes from its flavor: It has a lemon-like taste, which is why it's so popular with gardeners. In the video, Melissa demonstrates how to rub lemon balm leaves on your skin to deter mosquitoes.

"Here's a little trick that I do when I'm outside in the garden and the mosquitoes are biting!" she wrote in the video description. "I go over to my Lemon balm patch, pick off a leaf or two and rub it on me to keep those little blood suckers away! Works every time!"

How it's helping

Aside from being itchy, mosquito bites can spread several serious illnesses, as the CDC warns. Preventing bites will help keep you comfortable and safe when spending time outdoors.

Herbal mosquito repellents are an especially good choice because they're practically free; you can easily grow lemon balm, lavender, rosemary, basil, mint, sage, marigolds, and more. Many of these plants are edible or produce beautiful flowers in addition to warding off mosquitoes with their scent, so you'll get major returns on your investment.

At the same time, using mosquito-repellent plants reduces the need for chemical alternatives. This helps minimize pollution in your environment, which is good for you and wildlife.

What people are saying

Commenters were excited to try Melissa's hack. "Guess I know what I'm getting next time I'm at the garden center," said one user.

Another commenter asked, "Is there any other way that we can make this, like mixed into a spray somehow?"

Melissa replied, "Yes! You can either dry the leaves and infuse into oil, or use fresh leaves and infuse it into witch hazel. Catnip is a great addition to bug sprays too!"

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