When you hear the word citronella, you probably think of citronella candles or citronella oil and what a great insect repellent citronella is. But before either of those things can be made, you first have to grow a citronella plant – an easy to grow garden plant that has many benefits! Below are my 7 benefits of growing citronella. See why the citronella plant should be on your growing list this season!
A few things about citronella: it is a warm weather plant. Citronella is considered a perennial. It grows best year-round in zones 9-11. However, people in cooler growing zones can grow citronella. You would either dig up the citronella from the ground at the end of the season, and then plant it in a pot to bring inside, or grow it in a large pot keeping it outside in the summer, inside in the cooler months. (Citronella will die if exposed to frost.)
Citronella needs 6-8 hours of full sun each day. If you are growing it in the ground, space the plants 24 inches apart. Citronella plants can grow to 3 feet high and spread up to 4 feet, so take that into account when planting.
Note that in cooler climates citronella can be grown as an annual (you’d replace it yearly as it will die with a frost).
Now on to the good stuff:
7 Benefits of Growing Citronella
Citronella is easy to grow
You can purchase citronella plants from your local gardening center, or if you have a friend who already has citronella plants, propagate from those! Stem cuttings will root in perlite or potting soil, Keep the rooting evenly moist spraying leaves with water every day. Roots should form in two weeks. You can transplant when larger.
As everyday care, citronella plants require basic watering and nutrient-rich soil, 6-8 hours of sun and warm weather. Even if you don’t have a green thumb, you can handle citronella plant.
Citronella repels garden pests
This might be the number one reason to grow citronella! Citronella repels biting pests such as mosquitoes and flies. If you grow citronella in planters or containers around your patio, you can enjoy less biting pests in the area. The scent (while lovely to humans) is repellent to these bugs and will keep them away.
Citronella smells amazing
As mentioned, the smell of citronella is very satisfying. It has almost a lemon balm smell (they are in the same plant family) and can add ambiance to your deck and patios when placed in containers. If growing in the garden you can cut some and place it in centerpieces to keep the table smelling great and keep pests away when barbecuing or picnicking in your backyard.
You can use citronella foliage indoors
Snip foliage from the citronella plant and keep them in vases, places strategically around your home to keep biting bugs away. If you enjoy the scent you can even place bundles of the plant around the home for air freshening purposes.
Citronella can be added to your DIY beauty products
Did you know that people claim the oils from the citronella plant can help reduce inflammation and acne? There are all sorts of recipes online for DIY beauty products that use dried citronella, so this is worth looking into and considering. As a start, check out these Homemade Bug Repellent Bars1
Citronella will not repel beneficial yard critters
While citronella repels biting bugs such as mosquitoes, it won’t harm those beneficial bugs like bumble bees and it does not seem to repel spiders, which can help keep your pests in check. It also won’t keep away butterflies or hummingbirds which are so pleasant to have around.
You can easily grow citronella indoors once the weather shifts
When the growing season ends, bring those citronella plants indoors if you live in an area that gets frost. They will continue to grow and flourish for you so when the growing season returns, you can place your even bigger and better pots outdoors.
As you can see, there are many reasons to grow citronella plant. Consider these benefits of the growing citronella and see why this is the perfect plant for you.
If you enjoyed this citronella gardening post, you may also enjoy these bug and pest repellent posts:
• Best Essential Oil Mosquito and Bug Repellent Recipes – With beautiful warm weather comes the not so awesome side effects – insects. When you are trying to enjoy a summer picnic or a day by the river, the last thing you want to deal with are mosquitoes, flies, and other creepy crawly insects. Of course, you can bring along a commercial insecticide spray, but sometimes you don’t necessarily want to spray that on your skin. One of the best attributes of quite a few essential oils is their ability to ward off unwanted insects. Check out these easy pesticide recipes to keep the little buggers at bay.
• 5 Pest Repelling Plants – While pesticides or insecticides may have their place, most gardeners would prefer to keep insects and rodents out of the garden as naturally as possible. There are natural, organic methods, and better yet, plants that repel pests.
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