Monday, August 4, 2008

Perilla as an insect repellent?

I was reading with great interest this article at Clean Air Gardening to plant feverfew as a natural way to repel insects, when it occurred to me to check what plants I may already have as possible deterrents to the pests that plague my asian greens. I noticed that our green perilla stands proud as a peacock with not a blemish from hungry insects. Why is that? Perilla - imho - has an odd smell. Its scent reminds me of sour...bread starter that has gone from a good sour to being just plain stink. At one point I even declared that it reminded me of my husband's armpits after a long morning of toiling away in the garden. I didn't really mean that of course; it was a rash statement! To this day when I stick my nose in the plant for a deep whiff, my olfactory senses do a short circuit and I am left confused. Perhaps that in itself is the answer. The last thing a bug needs is to be bewildered before a meal.

13 comments:

  1. Hi Rowena, a good and interesting post. I plant feverfew, but I didn't know Perilla. I plant Nasturtium under citrus trees to keep away aphids. (It also looks pretty with their fresh, colourful flowers.)

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  2. hmm, didn't know that shiso would be a good insect repellent or that is smells stinky...interesting!

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  3. Uhm... your hubbie's sweat armpits look more like attracting mosquitos, instead... how comes? :-)

    MotH

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  4. Titania, Nasturium really works against aphids? We have our peach tree infested by those bugs, i wonder if to plant nasturium under it....?!?

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  5. Titania, I just noticed that my husband has focused on that bit of info regarding nasturtiums. We will surely have to try growing some next year. Thanks!

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  6. Kat, honestly, the plant has a funky, pungent smell. It isn't on the level of that putrid lattice mushroom {gag!} but like garlic and cilantro, has a very strong odor that you either like or don't like.

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  7. The person who bakes for your sweet tooth!August 5, 2008 at 9:00 AM

    MotH, the mosquitoes like you because you ate too much blueberry crostata. And gelato. They just wanted to satisfy their sugar cravings....through you!

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  8. I've never heard of Perilla. I checked your link. Do you use it as a herb? Does it flower?

    You've actually touched on something I'm interested in. I try to grow organically. Here is one theory. If you plant certain plants next to others, they either attract the pests to themselves, or repel them altogether.

    Geraniums on your windowsill should repel flies. So does Rue. Marigolds in your veg patch look pretty, but also keep away the beasties. And, I know how much you love your tomatoes - try planting Calendula amongst them!

    The double bonus with Titania's Nasturtiums is that the leaves and flowers are edible. Great in salads - used sparingly - the leaves have a very strong the taste. (I've rambled on - sorry.)

    Here's a good link: http://www.rexresearch.com/agro/comp1.htm

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  9. Perilla is used much like basil, mint, and all those flat-leaf type of herbs. It also flowers (purple I believe) and even they can be used as an edible garnish.

    I absolutely believe in your theory, but didn't take this into consideration when I envisioned the garden! Flies haven't been too much of a problem since we installed zanzariere, but next year I'd like to add some to the terrace for color.

    Calendula? Edible nasturtium leaves? And all this time I thought it was only the flowers. On the contrary, you can never ramble on enough in my book. Knowledge equals more plants in the garden!

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  10. I've been checking in for a while now so just thought I'd let you know how much I like your blog. I'm trying to make a garden in a wild French place - so far I'm just giving the locals amusement but when they see my sock tethered tomatoes they'll be in awe of me.

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  11. Maybe that is nature's way of repelling insects. Your hubby's armpits, huh? lol Now that is vivid description that I won't soon forget. Love you blog and I am adding you to my list of places I like to go. Thanks for visiting my blog! :)

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  12. Very nice blog you have here! I had never eard of perilla, if it works as a insect repelent that is probably a good companion plant for many veggies. Thank you for visiting my blog (I will try that tip about using milk for the oidium).
    Its nice to see that more and more european gardeners are starting to blog :-)

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  13. Very bountiful veggies and herbs. The eggplant flowers look lovely.

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