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The citronella plant is certainly familiar to you. There is a good chance you have one sitting on your patio right now.
Mosquitoes are said to be scared of this plant’s lemony aroma, which is why it’s so popular.
Is this supposedly mosquito-repellent plant, in fact, effective? Find out more about mosquito plants, including how to grow and care for them, by reading on.
Citronella Plant Info
Citronella plant, mosquito plant geranium, Citrosa geranium, and Pelargonium Citrosum are all common names for this plant.
A typical element in insect repellent, citronella, isn’t actually found in the plant’s name.
It’s a variety of common-sense geranium, which simply releases the aroma when its leaves are crushed.
Genes from Chinese citronella grass and African geranium were combined to create the mosquito plant geranium.
In other words, the key question remains. Citronella plants claim to repel mosquitoes, but is this true? It is believed that crushing and rubbing the leaves on the skin, which releases the citronella perfume, works best as an insect repellent because mosquitoes are said to be offended by the scent.
This plant’s effectiveness as a mosquito repellent has been proven to be a myth, according to the latest findings in the literature.
As a mosquito plant grower and caretaker, I can vouch for this. Mosquitoes don’t care if it’s lovely or fragrant; they’ll still bite. Bug zappers are a blessing!
Citronella plants look like lemongrass, but this imposter is much bigger and has parsley-like leaves. In the summer, it also bears lavender blossoms.
How to Care for Citronella
Mosquito plants are easy to grow and maintain. Also, despite the fact that it isn’t really a mosquito deterrent plant, it is an excellent houseplant.
The plant can be grown outside during the summer in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 9-11 but should be brought inside before the first frost in all other areas.
At least six hours of sunlight a day is required for these plants, regardless of whether they are placed outside or near a window.
As long as the soil is well-draining, they will grow.
Keep mosquito plant geraniums well-watered and fertilized with all-purpose plant food if you’re growing them inside. Outside, the plant can withstand some drought.
Pruning or pinching the new leaves of the citronella plant, which generally grows to a height of 2–4 feet (0.5–1 m), is recommended to encourage it to bush out.
Citronella Plant vs. Citronella Grass
Citronella grass and the citronella plant, despite their similar names, belong to two distinct genera.
Saltiel argues, “They’re not even remotely linked.” A geranium in your flowerbed is like one, and your grass is like the other.”
Citronella oil, which can repel mosquitoes for brief periods of time, is the only thing they have in common, according to Pollak, who notes that the fragrance of citronella plants can be used to fend off some insects.
Using a product containing citronella oil made from citronella grass is the best way to keep bugs at bay.