Mosquitoes are one of the insects most feared by man, for its proverbial ability to annoy with its bites and buzzing, which take away sleep, ruining the hot summer nights and putting the nerves to the test.
Many are the remedies usually used to counteract the problem of mosquitoes, from spirals to insecticides up to the most effective mosquito nets, very used in areas where the infestation is more marked.
In recent years in Italy there has been an aggravation of this problem, because in our country the deadly species called tiger mosquito has arrived, of small dimensions but extremely aggressive towards man and able to survive until the end of September, becoming so a real summer obsession for many people, who sometimes also see the serenity conquered in the vacation spots compromised because they are forced to engage in real struggles against the hated insect that, in the years of reclamation of the Agro pontino, cost the lives of thousands of people (due to the mosquito Anopheles).
Not everyone knows that there is a natural alternative that often proves to be more than valid for solving the problem of mosquitoes at the root: it is possible to keep them away thanks to the geranium plants, well known for their decorative qualities, less for other very virtues important.
Geranium is a particularly easy plant to grow and this is one of the secrets of its remarkable success. It belongs to the Geraniaceae family, order Geraniales, and is native to the southern area of the African continent. It has a fleshy stem and presents alternate fragrant leaves. The word geranium derives from geranos, which means crane, and refers to the shape of the head of this typical marsh bird. It has flowers with five sepals and five petals.
The flowering period is from spring to autumn. It is a plant that, contrary to popular belief, can grow enough: it can reach the meter and a half. Growers or simple enthusiasts can reproduce geraniums by resorting to the simple operation of the cutting, which is carried out by planting a branch of 10 or 15 cm into containers full of sand and peat, which must then be placed in environments with a temperature of 18 degrees not directly exposed to the sun.
The months of March and April are the most suitable to perform the cutting, but you can also proceed in the summer ones.
The type of this most suitable plant is Pelargonium odoratissimum, that is the so-called odorous geranium, which has leaves capable of giving off a rather pungent aroma.Followed by the imperial geranium or Pelargonium grandiflorum, the zonal geranium and the geranium ivy or Pelargonium peltatum.It must be emphasized that during the coldest months the geraniums must not be kept in places with temperatures over 10 degrees, while the fact that they tolerate high temperatures well is one of the secrets of the remarkable diffusion of this plant on the balconies of villas and palaces, excellent to grow geraniums also because these plants need to receive a lot of light.The fertilizer should be administered in the months between April and September, every 15-20 days, while in spring the classic repotting operations can be carried out.The danger of pests
To keep mosquitoes away, it will not be sufficient to place the geraniums on the balconies. The latter will also need to be well kept and cared for, also because it is a plant that can be attacked by parasites such as the deadly brown scale insects, which can easily be detected even without being experts in the field, given that they appear as small excrescences of color brown.
In these particular cases it is necessary to treat the geraniums with specific products that are easy to find, that is the anticoccidials. If you do not have the possibility of resorting to them, you must proceed manually, equipping yourself with water and alcohol and gently cleaning the leaves infested with this very common pest.
If the stem of the geranium suddenly becomes yellow it means that the plant has been placed in an area too in the shade. If it turns black, reduce the amount of water that is obviously given in excess.
The presence of a characteristic gray powder is a symptom of gray mold, which must be fought with fungicides. Virosis is more serious, a disease that forces us to get rid of the plant. It is highlighted by the presence of some light-colored stains on the leaves.