The final time you had been at a barbeque or out of doors perform did you get eaten alive by mosquitos? If not, there have been most likely repellants of some form. Repellants for mosquitos can take many varieties. Some are chemical, like bug sprays, Tiki Torches, and ‘foggers.’ Others will be all-natural – just like the mosquito plant. What is the mosquito plant? It’s a pure different to different bug repellants that we’ll take a look at in additional element!
What is the Mosquito Plant?
The mosquito plant – also called citronella – actually refers to a complete host of various crops. Plants which are mostly known as ‘citronella’ or ‘mosquito crops’ are typical of the genus Cymbopogon. This is a genus of crops that’s also called lemongrass. The species Cymbopogon citratus and Cymbopogon schoenanthus are oftentimes marketed as lemongrass in house enchancment and backyard shops.
To add to the confusion, the ‘species’ Pelargonium citrosum (in quotes right here as a result of it isn’t a sound scientific identify), can also be usually bought because the ‘mosquito plant.’ P. citrosum really belongs to the household Geraniaceae, additionally generally often called geraniums. The household that true lemon grasses belong to is Poaceae, generally often called the grass household.
Mosquito crops (these of Poaceae) are native to Africa, Asia, and Australia, and thus are used to dwelling in each sizzling and dry climates. They have blades starting from 1-10 centimeters (.5-Four in) and might develop in peak as much as Three meters (10 ft). Almost 25% of earth’s vegetation is made up of grass-dominated plant communities!
Uses of Mosquito Plants
Mosquito crops have many makes use of past simply appearing as a mosquito repellent. C. citratus particularly is thought for varied makes use of all over the world. To be clear, these are reported makes use of all over the world, not scientifically or medically validated and really helpful makes use of. Some of these makes use of embrace:
Brazil: in most of South America, mosquito plant is often infused to make a sizzling tea. It is believed to work as a diuretic, sedative, fever reducer, and to remedy muscle spasms.
India: on the Indian subcontinent, the plant has all kinds of makes use of. In its complete kind, the plant is believed to repel snakes. An important oil, citronella, will be distilled from the plant and used to remedy abdomen issues. Some Indians consider that bathing in sizzling water steeped within the leaves might remedy extreme fevers and complications.
United States: Laotian Hmong within the state of Minnesota use the new water extract of the entire plant for therapeutic wounds and bone fractures.
Egypt: extract of the dried leaves is taken orally to work as an anti-spasm medicine.
Thailand: whereas many cultures use the extract of the leaves and roots, Thai folks use all the plant as a garnish or condiment.
How to Grow the Mosquito Plant
Just like all crops, the mosquito plant requires a sure set of circumstances to develop and thrive. Let’s check out a few of the very best attribute of the proper mosquito plant rising habitat:
Hardiness: The USDA defines a ‘hardiness scale’ for what minimal temperatures a given plant can face up to. The scale runs from zone 1 at -51.1℃ to -45.6℃ (-60℉ to -50℉) to zone 13 at 15.6℃ to 21.1℃ (60℉ to 70℉). Plants which are ‘hardy’ to a decrease zone are subsequently thought of extra tolerant to colder temperatures. Mosquito crops are sometimes hardy to zones 10-12. This means they’ll begin to die if uncovered to temperatures beneath freezing (0℃/32℉). In the United States, this implies they’ll solely develop on or simply inland from the southern and western coasts. These crops ought to solely be planted after the final frost of the yr.
Water: Lemongrasses want waterfall within the vary of 150-300 centimeters (60-120 in), however can tolerate virtually one and a half instances that. For reference, Seattle receives about 37 inches of rain and New Orleans about 61 inches.
Sun and Soil: Mosquito crops want moist soil and full solar. The historic vary of the plant (Australia, Africa, and many others) implies that it’s considerably drought-resistant
How to Identify the Mosquito Plant
Now that we all know what the mosquito plant is and in addition the right way to develop it, let’s check out the right way to establish the plant.
Where: You can discover C. citratus and different lemongrasses in heat, semi-wet areas all over the world. They thrive particularly in Australia, India, Africa, and coastal South America.
When: It’s finest to reap leaves and stems when the plant is 120-240 days previous. This additionally means it is going to be close to its full measurement at this level. It will be harvested each 90 days or so. If you might be in an space that’s rising and harvesting the mosquito plant, it could be onerous to identify after a harvest.
Appearance: C. citratus will seem like a typical grassy plant you can discover in your yard or a neighborhood park. Look for a clump of grass that grows taller than the encompassing crops. They sometimes may have blades between 1-10 centimeters (.5-Four in), and the plant itself sometimes can be 1-2 meters (3-5 toes) tall.
If you might be nonetheless having hassle figuring out lemongrass, Poaceae, mosquito crops, or another flora, strive utilizing PlantSnap! It’s a cell plant identifier that may enable you to establish all of the helpful crops round you to maintain these mosquitos away.