A hybrid plant created by crossing the citronella grass plant with African geraniums, the citronella plant known by some as Pelargonium citrosum geranium, is also called the mosquito plant, citrosa geranium, and deodorizer plant. It is not the true citronella grass plant that is known to repel mosquitoes. Whether or it actually repels mosquitoes is questionable. Many gardeners say it does, while studies show it does not.
It is an evergreen that has purple flowers in the summer. The citronella geranium is a smallCredit: Flickr: gina pina bush, growing up to 2 to 3 feet in height and 1 to 2 feet in width. They maintain the lemon/citrus scent of the citronella grass but have a bushy look with flowers like that of African geraniums.
The citronella plant does best in warmer climates in USDA zones of 9b to 11. If you live in a colder climate, where temperatures regularly drop below 77 degrees F, it will do better as a house plant. Depending on your climate, you may be able to keep it outdoors in the summer, but need to bring it indoors in the winter.
These plants like well-drained loam soil that’s high in nitrogen. Yellowing leaves can be caused by a lack of nitrogen in the soil. Once a month fertilizing with a fertilizer high in nitrogen is often recommended.
These are sun loving plants that need 6 to 8 hours of full sun every day. Pick a spot outside that has little shade or keep it near a window in the house. Lack of sun can cause yellow leaves and a lack of leaf growth. It prefers a soil pH of 6 to 7.
This is a drought tolerant plant with low water needs. How much water your plant needs will depend on the temperature it lives in. If the plant is dropping and yellowing, try watering more often.
Where to Plant Citronella Geraniums
This plant does well planted in a flower bed or pot. If you need to move it inside during the winter, keeping it in a patio pot makes this easier. Otherwise you can transplant it to a pot for the winter by digging around the width of the plant to ensure you get all of its roots without damaging them.
When to Plant
If planting or moving the plant outside, do so only after all danger of frost is over. Any frost can kill your citronella geranium plant. Move it indoors in the fall before the first frost.
Diseases common to the citronella geranium plant include bacterial leaf spot, grey mold, and aphids. It is a deer resistant plant.