Citronella geraniums, Pelargoniums crispum, are annual flowers that bloom in subdued colors of pink and lavender. They are renowned for the sharp citronella scent of their leaves when rubbed or crushed, and often are promoted as a natural mosquito repellent, although research has not verified this claim. Citronella geraniums prefer well-drained, slightly acidic garden soil and can be planted outside after danger of frost has passed. They need six to eight hours of sunshine daily for optimal growth. Space citronella geraniums 12 to 15 inches apart as they can spread to 15 inches wide and grow to 24 inches tall. Citronella geraniums also thrive when planted in containers.
Before purchasing your geraniums, inspect the plants first for insects or diseases.Potted geraniums require more frequent watering.
Citronella geraniums need adequate nitrogen to flourish.
Fertilize citronella geraniums monthly during the growing season with a water-soluble fertilizer, following package directions.
Deadhead spent blossoms regularly to promote sustained blooming.
Citronella oil in commercial products comes from citronella grass (Cymbopogon nardus).
Monitor citronella geraniums regularly for mites, aphids and caterpillars and treat if needed.
Avoid getting water on the plant leaves. If possible, water the plants with soaker hoses rather than overhead sprinklers.