How to Plant & Grow Citronella: Complete Guide

how to grow citronella

Sorry to break it to you, but contrary to popular belief, Citronella plants and grass don’t repel mosquitos, even though they are commonly referred to as the “mosquito plant.” However, don’t let that deter you; there are many other citronella plant benefits that will make you want to have one, or ten, at your home.

In this article, we will discuss all things Citronella, including all of your questions about how to grow Citronella. While there are two types of Citronella, the one about the Geranium family and Grass Citronella, we are mainly discussing geranium today. You’ll be a pro by the time you get to the end.

Is Citronella Easy to Grow?

Yes, growing Citronella is quite easy! For a beginner gardener, this is a great plant to start with. It can be grown in many different environments and climates.

Depending on your space, the explanation of how to plant Citronella will greatly differ.

Can You Grow Citronella Plants Indoors?

If you are struggling to decide where to plant Citronella, your indoor home garden is a great option. This versatile plant can be grown inside quite easily. You will want to position the plant near a sunny window that will allow it to receive about six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day.

If you’re wondering how big does a Citronella plant get, it depends on the care you provide. Ideally, it should be grown in a pot that is 10-12 inches wide. This will allow enough space for the roots to expand and anchor, producing large, thick, fluffy leaves.

Planting a Citronella plant indoors is a great way to spruce up a dull corner.

Can Citronella Be Grown From a Cutting?

The good news keeps on coming. Yes, you can grow Citronella from a cutting. To make more plants without the monetary investment, you can easily learn how to propagate Citronella.

  • Find a healthy stem and make a snip about 3-5 inches down the shaft. Ensure there are at least 2 nodes (bumps on stem where leaves grow out of).
  • Trim the leaves from the bottom of the stem. Leave only 2-3 leaves.
  • Make your life easier by using a rooting hormone. Dip the cut end of the stem in the rooting hormone and plant it in rich potting soil.

Now that you know how to grow Citronella from a plant cutting, you will never need to buy the seeds or plants again.

Can Citronella Be Rooted in Water?

I have more good news for you here. The answer is yes. Perhaps deciding where to plant Citronella is the most difficult task because it can be grown in so many different environments, as long as it has sunlight and is properly cared for.

One thing about rooting Citronella in water is that you must be patient. It usually takes at least one month for the roots to grow. Once you can see the root system thriving in the water, you should plant the cutting in rich soil.

How Long Does It Take for Citronella to Grow?

A well-taken care of citronella plant grows quite rapidly. If you are propagating Citronella, using a rooting hormone will speed up this process. Also, knowing where to plant Citronella is key.

This plant grows quickly and lusciously once you’ve found the sweet spot. With proper sunlight and watering, they can grow approximately two feet tall and two feet wide within a month or so.

Does a Citronella Plant Keep Mosquitoes at Bay?

Even though we debunked this myth at the beginning of this article, let’s get into the details. There are many citronella plant benefits, but being a mosquito repellent plant is not one of them. Nope, not even a flowering citronella plant is an insect repellent.

There are two types of Citronella. There is Citronella Grass and Citronella Geranium. Both have a wonderful citrusy scent. Citronella oil, which does repel mosquitos, is extracted from citronella Grass. The grass or geranium on its own, as a plant, does not give off enough of this oil to deter mosquitos.

7 Tips for Caring for a Citronella Plant:

Growing Citronella is quite rewarding. A flowering Citronella plant is not only beautiful, but it also smells great. Luckily, the process is pretty simple. Here are a few guidelines to follow:

  1. It is best to plant Citronella Geraniums in Spring and avoid the Winter months
  2. If you are planting multiple potted plants, plant each one 18-24 inches apart.
  3. Use a rich soil/potting mix, possibly with compost or organic matter mixed in.
  4. Ensure the plant is in an area that receives 6-8 hours of full sun a day.
  5. When the top inch of soil becomes dry, water the Citronella.
  6. If potted, check that there are drainage holes, so the roots don’t rot.
  7. Prune the leggy leaves and stems for a fuller and more fragrant houseplant.


As you can see, learning how to grow Citronella is not very difficult. It is a versatile plant that can flourish inside or outside and is easily propagated.

While it does not repel mosquitos, growing Citronella has many other benefits. It smells amazing (lemony scent), it adapts to different environments and weather, it produces beautiful flowers, and it can even be used in cooking, hair care, and skincare (think soaps!).

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