Citronella geranium, also known as mosquito plant, is an upright annual plant with ruffly, bright green leaves and pretty lavender blooms. When crushed, the leaves emit a fragrance similar to citronella grass. Some people believe that the pungent aroma of the crushed leaves repel mosquitoes. Citronella geranium isn’t difficult to grow, requiring only plenty of sunshine and adequate water and fertilizer. Citronella geranium can be propagated by taking stem cuttings in September or October.
Things You’ll Need
- Planting container with drainage hole
- Commercial potting soil
- Pruners or sharp knife
- Water-soluble fertilizer for blooming plants
- Fill a container with a mixture of half clean sand and half commercial potting soil. Wet the potting mixture, then allow water to drain through the drainage hole until the soil is moist but not soggy.
- Cut a 3- to 4-inch length from the tip of a healthy citronella geranium stem, using clean pruners or a sharp knife. Remove the leaves from the bottom half of the stem.
- Plant the bare end of the stem in the potting soil, then firm the soil lightly around the stem. Additional stems can be planted in the same container, but the leaves must not touch.
- Place the container in indirect light. Provide water regularly, and don’t let the potting soil become completely dry. Water lightly, as the potting soil should be damp but not saturated. Soggy potting soil will rot your stem cutting.
- Move the container into full sunlight when the stems display new growth, which indicates that the stems have developed roots. Keep the soil relatively dry, and water only if the new plants begin to look wilted. Semi-dry soil will reduce the possibility of rot and disease.
- Feed your new citronella geraniums every two weeks, using a water-soluble fertilizer for blooming plants. Mix the fertilizer solution according to the directions on the container.
- Plant your new citronella geraniums outdoors after all danger of frost has passed in spring. Locate the plants in full sunlight.
Tips & Warnings
Citronella oil does not come from citronella geraniums, but from citronella grass (Cymbopogon nardus).