Citronella Grass: Planting, Growing and Care

Citronella grass is one of the most effective natural ways to repel mosquitoes. Not just mosquitoes, but it also works on many other insects and pests. Various natural and even chemical insect repellent products use citronella as an ingredient.

But, it’s not just an efficient mosquito-repelling tool. Citronella grass also looks great in any home or garden. So, here are tips on how you can plant, grow, and take care of citronella grass in your garden.

Uses of Citronella Grass

Besides being successful at repelling mosquitoes and insects, citronella has additional valuable features. Citronella grass is a great ingredient in medicine as it relieves migraines, tension, and even depression. Not only that, citronella oil can help when trying to reduce fever or as a muscle relaxer. 

Overall, it has many antispasmodic, antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antifungal features. These are widely used in medicine. Citronella is also a valuable substance for the production of cleaning products.

Growing Citronella Grass

Weather and Temperature Requirements

Citronella grass is very beneficial in many areas. The good news is that taking care of it is very easy and doesn’t require a lot of effort. You can plant it both indoors and outdoors.

citronella grass

sarangib/Pixabay.com

But, if you live in a climate with harsh winters, you should move the plant indoors before the first frost. So, even though citronella grass is generally quite adaptable, exposing it to long periods of cold weather can damage it.

Soil Requirements

These plants are tolerant and can adapt to various circumstances and weather conditions quite well. The only requirement for the soil is for it to drain well. You’ll have to water and fertilize your citronella grass often, so the soil has to absorb a lot of liquid. That said, citronella will grow the best in moist, loamy soil.

Sun Requirements

You can place citronella plants in direct sunlight, which they will tolerate. But they do prefer and will grow better in a slightly shaded area with six to eight hours of sunlight per day. So, even if you’re growing your citronella plant indoors, you should make sure that the sun can reach the plant every day or as often as possible.

The best place for citronella grass is near the patio wall or anywhere surrounded by trees or shrubs. If you notice that your citronella grass looks scorched or withered, you might want to consider moving it to an area with more natural shade.

Citronella Grass Plant Care

As citronella grass is naturally found in humid regions, it requires a lot of water.

If you expose it to direct sunlight for the majority of the day, you’ll need to water the plant more often.

Similarly, if you’re keeping the plant indoors, the dry air might make the citronella grass dry out faster. This means it will need more water. So, if you have a lot of sunlight or if the air is comparably dry, you’ll have to water the grass as much as once per day.

Citronella grass isn’t considered invasive. It won’t spread all over your backyard once planted as it reproduces from seeds and through division rather than by grass runners. Despite this, it’s still an aggressive grower and can uproot other nearby plants. So, if you’re planting the grass outdoors, it’s best to plant it in a grass container or in an enclosed area.

22 Comments

Chandra Nath Dutta

How can i get the grass for planting at my home? An early response is required.

    Karen

    You can either get citronella grass seeds and sow them in your garden. Or get citronella grass cuttings and plant those. Alternatively, you can also get lemongrass seeds, cuttings or grown plants and use those instead of citronella grass.

joe catapang

does citronilla have flowers?

    Karen

    Citronella grass does not bloom, but the citronella geranium does and therefore has flowers.

Al Coelho

I got cintronella seeds and planning to plant them indoor as I live in UK and the weather is cold. Questions for you:
1-Should I plant indoor or outdoor?
2-how long does it take to grow?
3-are they annual plants?
Urgent reply will be highly appreciated.
Cheers,
Al

    Karen

    You can grow citronella grass both indoors and outdoors. But, since it’s cold in the UK and therefore the plant won’t get enough warmth if grown outdoors, growing the citronella grass in a large pot indoors sounds like a great plan. And citronella grass is a perennial so it’s not an annual plant, rather it lives more than two years, usually 4 to 5. Yet, a lot of gardeners, especially in northern climates, grow Citronella grass as an annual plant, since if not brought inside it will die during the winter.

Bill

I bought some citronella seeds but there was no instructions on planting/sowing them. These are the plant type seeds not grass. How do I sow the seeds in container pots? Thank you.

    Karen

    Chose a decent-sized pot (around 10 inches in diameter) that has a drainage hole at the bottom. Purchase soil for the pot, citronella plants will grow best in soil that has some fertilizer added into it. Then plant the seeds in the pot, water the soil and set the pot in a sunny or partly shady area that receives a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight. Afterward, water the plant whenever the top of the soil has dried out and watch your citronella plant flourish.

Pauline

Trying to find out if citronella plant is safe for dogs to ingest. Right now I have them on my deck but noticing one of my yorkies is obsessed with the plant. Just want to be sure it isn’t poisonous to them.

    Insectcop

    Not exactly an expert when it comes to pets, however, I have read in some sources that citronella is not safe for dogs. Either way, I suggest you talk to your vet about this.

April Jones

I just bought the plant not the grass can I purchase the grass already grown a little bit like the plant?! And what is the difference between the 2!!?? I’m just starting plant therapy and I’m a little clueless lol I also live in South Louisiana where mosquitos are super bad!!?

    Insectcop

    Yes, you should be able to buy a grass that’s been grown out a bit already. If you want to get a better insight in your plants and their differences, I would advise you to look up ‘’Cymbopogon’’ (citronella grass) and ‘’Pelargonium citrosum’’ (citronella) on the internet.

Casey

How much Citronella grass do you need to repell mosquitos? Is there a ratio per square foot?

    InsectCop

    Citronella grass isn’t too effective at repelling mosquitoes on its own. What gives the effect are the oils in it, which work much better being used by rubbing directly on the body, clothes, etc. I would question the efficiency of planting a garden full of citronella grass. But, since it won’t hurt, I suggest you plant it wherever you would find it aesthetically pleasing.

cherrie

I have citronella grass here and Im just wondering where can I use the grass? I try boiling them and put it on the container and spray. So what are the use of the grass?

    InsectCop

    Thanks a lot for the question! You inspired us to make an article about using citronella grass! Check out this article to find out about its uses.

Sherry G Moran

How big of an area will a plant cover?

    InsectCop

    It’s possible for the plant to spread up to 4ft. wide.

Minie Portucela

Can i share this to my page? Im asking a permission to post.if its ok or not.thank you

    InsectCop

    You can share quotes from the article with a disclaimer that the quotes are from our article and a link back to our post. However, please don’t copy and repost the whole article.

Rossini

I just started my potted garden as I live in a condo, I have purchased 3 potted citronella grass and they have grown so much. The thing that bothers me is that its too tall now that they are starting to bend so much and has been drying out. Any recommendation on how I can lessen the drying or possible propagate it?

    InsectCop

    Are you watering it enough? Citronella grass requires quite a bit of watering, especially if it’s located in direct sun. As for propagation, we’re not experts in the gardening field, however, I found this article that explains the process well and is easy to understand.

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