How to plant citronella

Updated April 17, 2017

The citronella plant is a warm weather favourite for porches, patios, decks, and flower beds. It's known for deterring mosquitoes and other pesky insects. Citronella is an annual plant with lavender blooms, and it has a vibrant fragrance of citronella when the leaves are rubbed or crushed. It can grow to up to two feet tall, and it is the distinct fragrance of citronella that purportedly repels mosquitoes and other insects. The following instructions are for planting citronella in a flower bed.

Plant citronella in the spring after all danger of frost. Although citronella is a hardy plant, frost exposure can kill citronella even when well-established.

Select an area where the soil is well-drained and receives at least six hours of full sun each day.

Dig a hole twice the size of the container that the citronella plant is in.

Place the citronella plant in the hole and cover with one part dirt and three parts potting soil that have been well combined. Promix potting soil (available at most garden centres) comes in an organic mix (Promix Ultimate Organic Mix) if one wishes to avoid synthetic ingredients.

Water thoroughly.

Remove yellow leaves as they occur. Citronella does not require a lot of extra care. However, watering may be necessary if dry periods are experienced.

Remove citronella in the fall before frost. Return it to the indoors in a pot or other container.


Citronella grows best in nitrogen rich soil. Yellow leaves are symptoms of low nitrogen levels. If this occurs, treat with an organic fertiliser.

Things You'll Need

  • citronella plants
  • shovel
  • potting soil (Promix recommended)
  • water
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About the Author

Patricia Hill is a freelance writer who contributes to several websites and organizations, including various private sectors. She also contributes to the online magazine, Empowered by a need to reveal that unhealthy food and diet is a source of health-related issues, Hill is currently working on a cookbook and website for individuals with Crohn's disease.