Photograph: The New Paper
Plant nurseries are reporting an increase in demand for plants that are touted to have mosquito repellent properties. Several nurseries The New Paper approached said that more people are asking about and looking for the citronella grass since news of the Zika virus being locally transmitted here broke late last month.
Sales and marketing director of Far East Flora Peter Cheok declined to reveal sales figures, but said the company had to “more than double the usual order” for mosquito-repelling plants. It had a “few pots left” when TNP called earlier in the week. By Wednesday, it was stocking new plants.
Meanwhile, commercial repellent products are increasing using plant-based ingredients as they are commonly perceived as “safe” and therefore popular among consumers. Other mosquito-repelling plants include rosemary, lavender, lemongrass, peppermint and lemon balm.
Ms Joeann Chua, director of Hua Hng Trading, a wholesaler for plants and landscaping materials, said sales for Pelargonium graveolens, commonly referred to as the “mosquito plant”, were “higher than normal”.
She said: “The plant gives off a citronella scent and is effective in keeping mosquitoes away from a small room or space.
“We are currently totally sold out and our current incoming stocks for this week are only enough to cover some advanced orders.”
Apart from the citronella grass, there are other plants used to repel mosquitoes:
Most bugs do not like the smell and taste of peppermint. Plus, if you happen to get bitten, rubbing peppermint leaves directly onto the skin provides relief.
Apart from repelling mosquitoes, the scent of lavender also repels moths, fleas and flies.
When burned, rosemary may smell good to humans, but it is unpleasant enough to keep mosquitoes away.
Also called the “mosquito plant”, it is a cross between the Chinese Citronella and the African Geranium
The leaves, which resemble those of a fern, contain citronella oil, which repels mosquitoes.
The plant contains pyrethrum, an ingredient found in many insect repellents. It has an aroma that bugs find repulsive.
For a quick mosquito repellent, crush a handful of lemon balm leaves in your hand and rub them on your exposed skin.
Its strong fragrance makes lemongrass a natural insect repellent. To help deter mosquitoes, it is usually planted along walkways and close to seating areas.
This story was originally published in The New Paper.