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Growing Citronella Plants: Tips for Care & Maintenance – 2023

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tips for growing citronella plantsIt may come as a surprise, but citronella plants actually do more than just make your garden smell nice. These hardy little herbs are also believed to help keep pesky mosquitoes away if you know how to grow and maintain them properly.

From soil requirements to harvesting methods, here’s an overview of everything that goes into successfully cultivating these fragrant plants so that they can bring both beauty and protection into your outdoor space.

Key Takeaways

  • Plant citronella in fertile, well-drained soil and provide regular feedings with water-soluble plant food.
  • Ensure citronella plants receive enough sun exposure to prevent stretching and drooping.
  • Harvest young and tender leaves for culinary use or as a natural mosquito repellent.
  • Prune citronella plants as needed, taking care not to cut too much at once.

Soil, Planting, and Care

tips for growing citronella plants 1
You’ll enjoy the abundance of blooms from your citronella plants if you give them fertile, well-drained soil and regular feedings with a water-soluble plant food. Plant it in spring when the danger of frost has passed and space 18 to 24 inches apart in partial shade for optimal growth.

To ensure healthy development, improve your soil by adding aged compost or organic matter. Make sure to check moisture levels regularly and provide water when the top inch becomes dry.

Pruning is also recommended as necessary, but be careful not to cut too much at once – excessive trimming can stunt its growth! Furthermore, make sure that these herbs are getting plenty of sun exposure; otherwise, they may stretch out, which can lead to their branches drooping over time.

With all these tips for growing citronella plants, you’ll have beautiful foliage ready in no time!


If you’re experiencing any issues while growing your citronella plants, don’t despair! Here are some helpful tips for troubleshooting common problems:

  • Overwintering: Cut back the plant and mulch well if temperatures do not drop below 20 degrees.
  • Fertilizing: A mix of soil and premium food will help ensure proper growth. Regular feeding with liquid fertilizer is also beneficial for abundant blooms throughout summertime!
  • Pruning: Pinch off ends of the plant as needed to encourage bushier foliage, but be careful not to over-trim at once since this can stunt its growth.
  • Light Needs: Make sure that these herbs get plenty of sun exposure; otherwise, they may stretch out, which can lead them drooping over time.
  • Watering: Check moisture levels regularly by feeling 1 inch down into the soil and provide water when it feels dry or begins wilting slightly due to a lack of hydration.

With all these tips, you’ll have beautiful citronella plants ready in no time!

Harvest and Storage

Harvest and Storage
Harvesting and storing your citronella plants is easy! As summer comes to an end, you can start harvesting the leaves for use in culinary dishes or as a natural mosquito repellent. To ensure maximum flavor, harvest the leaves when they’re young and tender. If you plan on overwintering your plant indoors, pinch off any remaining flowers at this time.

Also, stop liquid feeding it and reduce watering significantly so that it goes dormant before being moved inside.

Storing harvested citronella is simple: dry out the leaves in a cool area away from direct sunlight or place them into an airtight container with some moisture such as paper towels or cotton balls to keep their freshness intact.

The Benefits of Growing Citronella

The Benefits of Growing Citronella
Grow your own citronella and enjoy its many benefits! Not only is it a natural mosquito repellent, but its aromatherapy properties can help reduce stress. Plus, the plant’s forgiving nature makes it suitable for novice gardeners. As an added bonus, you won’t have to worry about harming wildlife as citronella repels insects without killing them.

Citronella Repels Mosquitoes

Cultivating citronella in your garden not only adds a beautiful touch of color but also helps naturally repel pesky mosquitoes. For natural pest control, use liquid fertilizer and ensure the plant receives 6 hours of sun per day.

Prune regularly, and container gardening is an ideal way to enjoy its benefits all year round! With proper care – water when the soil is dry; feed with premium plant food – you can reap the rewards: lush foliage, a fragrant citrus aroma, plus insect-free outdoor living.

Citronella Has Aromatherapy Benefits

You can enjoy the fragrant citrus aroma of citronella and reap its natural insect-repelling benefits. Not only does it repel insects, but you can use its oil in scented candles to help set a calming mood.

Planting tips include using premium plant food with well-draining soil and six hours of sun per day for optimal growth.

Citronella is Forgiving

With its lacy leaves and citrus-scented aroma, citronella is an easy plant to care for – perfect for novice gardeners. To get the most out of your investment, feed it with premium plant food and water it frequently when the soil moisture dips below one inch.

Provide six hours of sun exposure daily to ensure lush foliage. Consider pairing it with other heat-tolerant plants like caladiums or coleus! Citronella’s natural benefits include repelling mosquitoes while offering aromatherapy benefits that bring calmness and joy into any outdoor space.

Citronella Makes a Great Companion Plant

Pairing citronella with other heat-tolerant plants in your garden creates a perfect harmony of natural fragrances and mosquito repellency. Companion planting is an excellent way to control pests while adding plant food that increases sun tolerance.

Natural repellents like citronella can be used to keep mosquitoes away without harming other wildlife.

Citronella Repels, It Doesn’t Kill, Making It Safe for Wildlife

Unlike other pesticides, citronella plants repel mosquitoes without endangering wildlife.

  1. Pest avoidance
  2. Natural deterrents
  3. Aromatic offerings
  4. Aesthetic enhancement for outdoor spaces! Citronella is an ideal choice to keep pests away while adding a pleasant scent to the atmosphere – all without harming any wildlife or the environment around it!

How to Grow Citronella From Seed

How to Grow Citronella From Seed
You can easily grow citronella from seed – in fact, one packet of seeds will give you up to 500 plants!

To get started, first understand the germination process. Plant your seeds 1/4 inch deep into well-drained soil and keep it moist but not waterlogged at all times. Citronella prefers a moisture-rich soil type and requires 6 hours of direct sunlight each day for best growth.

Water requirements include regular watering when the top inch of soil dries out; avoid overwatering as this might cause root rot or other diseases.

With proper attention to these things, your citronella plant will thrive: enjoy its lacy leaves and medium green texture along with citrusy scent that’s sure to fill your garden or container area in no time!

For added benefits such as repelling mosquitoes naturally without harming wildlife or using homemade insect repellents, pair it with sun-tolerant caladiums and coleus plus flowers like zinnias, dahlia shrub roses hibiscus vinca or black-eyed Susans for a beautiful summer border display indoors too if temperatures drop below 20 degrees Fahrenheit outside.

How to Grow Citronella From Seedlings

How to Grow Citronella From Seedlings
Plant your seedlings by digging a hole and placing the roots in it for the best growth. To propagate citronella plants, it is recommended to overwinter them through layering. They require well-draining soil and at least 6 hours of sun per day to thrive. Liquid plant food and regular watering will also help.

Fertilizing should be done once every two weeks during its active growing season, while pinching off the ends of the plant will encourage bushier growth. In more severe winters, you can lift up containers with rooted cuttings indoors and then replant them in spring when temperatures are warmer again outdoors.

Citronella is an easy-to-grow pest deterrent that repels mosquitoes without harming other wildlife. It makes a great companion for tomatoes, as well as many flowers like zinnias or hibiscus that are often found nearby.

It offers multiple benefits, including repelling insects naturally and providing aromatherapy advantages. Enjoy the lacy leaves with a medium green texture and a citrusy scent all summer long, as this evergreen perennial is a delightful addition to any garden.

How to Grow Citronella From Cuttings

How to Grow Citronella From Cuttings
To propagate citronella plants, try rooting cuttings in a nutrient-rich potting mix and watch them quickly take root for an invigorating addition to your garden. To ensure sun tolerance, place the containers outdoors in an area that receives at least six hours of sunlight daily.

Feed with liquid plant food regularly to keep the soil moist and rich with nutrients.

In more severe winters, overwintering can be done by lifting up rooted cuttings indoors before replanting when temperatures are warmer again outdoors.

Propagation is best achieved through layering or taking advantage of quick-rooting abilities from stems placed directly into a nutrient-rich potting mix.

Sun tolerant plants will require 6+ hours of direct sun per day.

Overwintering should be done by lifting roots out from cold ground temperatures.

Regularly feed containerized citronella with liquid fertilizer for optimal growth potential.

Citronella makes a great companion plant due to its impressive ability to repel pests without harming other wildlife nearby while offering aromatherapy benefits as well! With its forgiving nature towards novice gardeners, this evergreen perennial is sure to delight any outdoor space all season long – just don’t forget regular watering whenever the top inch becomes dry!

How to Grow Citronella in Containers

How to Grow Citronella in Containers
Grow citronella in containers for a natural way to repel pests and enjoy aromatherapy benefits while enhancing your outdoor space! When planting, use container soil that is well-draining and mix in aged compost or organic matter.

To ensure sun tolerance, place the containers outdoors in an area that receives at least six hours of sunlight daily.

  1. Space plants 18 to 24 inches apart.
  2. Feed regularly with liquid plant food.
  3. Water when the top inch becomes dry.
  4. Use harvesting techniques such as pruning or pinching off ends when needed.
  5. Mulch well if temperatures don’t drop below 20s.

With proper care, you can enjoy citronella’s fragrant foliage all season long! Regular watering helps keep its lacy leaves lush and vibrant green – plus, it adds texture to any garden composition or container arrangement without overpowering other elements like flowers.

Citronella may be finicky, but with the right planting tips combined with fertilizing methods using water-soluble plant food along with thoughtful watering methods, it will help your harvest thrive all year round without fail – making it a great companion plant option alongside tomatoes too!

Additional Citronella Growing Tips

Additional Citronella Growing Tips
With proper care, you can reap the rewards of fragrant foliage and natural pest-repelling qualities from citronella all season long! To ensure success in your garden or container:

  1. Feed regularly with liquid plant food for abundant blooms.
  2. Prune as needed to keep plants healthy and growing upright.
  3. Water when the top inch of soil dries out to maintain moisture levels throughout the season.
  4. Mulch well if temperatures don’t drop below 20s for overwintering protection against frost damage during colder months, or bring indoors into a sunlit area at home if possible!

Light is also an important factor when it comes to successful citronella growth – they prefer partial shade but may stretch and fall over without enough sunshine, so make sure they’re located where there’s plenty of light available daily! As a bonus, they can be used in culinary applications such as jellies, teas, and fruit salads too – making them not only attractive additions outdoors but useful ingredients inside your kitchen pantry as well!

With these tips incorporated into their maintenance routine, plus pairing them off with other insect-resistant favorites like caladiums or coleus among many others on offer – you’ll have no problem enjoying this evergreen perennial through summer until wintertime arrives again soon enough.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long does it take for citronella to grow?

It typically takes citronella plants about two to three months to reach their full height.

What is the best time of year to plant citronella?

Plant citronella in spring when the danger of frost has passed and the soil is warm.

What types of soil are best for citronella plants?

Citronella plants prefer well-drained soil, almost like a sponge – providing enough moisture while still allowing excess water to drain away.

How often should citronella plants be watered?

Water citronella plants regularly, when the top inch of soil is dry. Improve the soil with compost or aged organic matter for best results.

Are there any companion plants that work well with citronella?

Yes! Citronella works well with sun-tolerant caladiums and coleus, as well as various flowers like zinnias, dahlias, shrub roses, hibiscus, and vinca.


Growing citronella is a great way to add a unique and attractive element to your garden while reaping the benefits of natural mosquito control. You can enjoy the sweet aroma and green foliage of this hardy perennial for many years to come with just a little extra effort.

An added bonus is that citronella repels mosquitoes without harming beneficial wildlife. With proper care and maintenance, you can have a beautiful and fragrant garden while enjoying the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re also keeping the bugs away.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and agriculture expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of people make their yards lush and thick.