Various essential oils derived from plants have been used for centuries to repel insects with the best known being citronella. Plants that have lemon scented leaves are supposed to be the best at repelling insects. In particular a pelargonium called ‘Mozzie Buster’ and a tea tree called Leptospermum liversidgei ‘Mozzie Blocker’ reputedly have much higher concentrations of citronella than other lemon scented plants.
The trick with this idea is to release the oils from the leaves when they are needed. This can be done by hosing the leaves down or crushing them underfoot. I have found that I still get bitten by mossies in spite of growing a range of these plants, but I do enjoy the lemony perfume anyway.
Perfumed plants will also add atmosphere and beauty to your entertaining area. Gardenias are richly scented, and are generally hardy and reliable. Frangipanis add tropical flair, and come in a wonderful range of colours from white to pinks to rich reds. Star jasmine is a popular and hardy climber with strongly fragrant white flowers, and can also be used as a groundcover. Heliotrope is a low growing shrub with mauve to purple flowers and a heady vanilla scent. Some native plants that are beautifully pefumed are Randia, Boronias and the lovely Hymenosporum, the native frangipani.
Find a range of perfumed plants with my plant search page.