Where to plant citronella?

Citronella Grass: Planting, Growing and Care

Citronella grass is one of the most effective natural ways to repel and fight mosquitoes and different insects and pests. It is widely used in making of different natural and even chemical insect repellent products. But, it is not only an efficient mosquito repelling tool, citronella grass will also look great in any home or garden. So here are tips on how you can plant, grown and take care of citronella grass in your home.

Besides citronella grass being successful at repelling mosquitoes and insects, it has other valuable features. Citronella grass is a great ingredient in medicine, as it relieves migraines, tension, and even depression. Not only that, citronella oil can be a great help when trying to reduce fever or as a muscle relaxer. Overall, it has many antispasmodic, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fungal features which are widely used in medicine. And citronella grass is also a valuable substance, which is widely used in the production of cleaning products.

Growing citronella grass

1. Weather and temperature requirements

Although citronella grass is very beneficial in many spheres, taking care of it is very easy and does not require a lot of effort. It can be planted indoors and outdoors, but if you live in a climate zone where you experience harsh winters, then during the cold seasons the plant should be taken indoors before the first frost. Therefore, although the citronella grass is considered to be quite an adaptable plant, exposing it to long periods of cold weather can damage the plant greatly.

2. Soil requirements

As these plants are tolerable and can adapt to various circumstances and weather conditions quite well, the only requirement for the soil is to be well draining. As citronella grass needs to be watered and fertilized often, the soil has to absorb a lot of liquids. But, it will grow the best in moist loamy soil.

3. Sun requirements

The citronella plants can be placed in direct sunlight and are tolerable to it. But they do prefer and will grow better in a slightly shaded area, which receives six to eight hours of sunlight per day. So, even if you are growing the citronella plant indoors, you should make sure that the sun rays can reach the plant every day, or as often as possible. The best places for citronella grass are near the patio wall, or in locations where it will be surrounded by trees or shrubs. If you notice that the citronella grass looks scorched or withered you might want to consider moving it to an area with more natural shade.

Citronella grass plant care

As citronella grass naturally is found in humid regions it requires a lot of water.

If you expose it to direct sunlight for the majority of the day, you will need to water the plant more often.

Similarly, if you are keeping the plant indoors, the dry air might be causing the citronella grass to dry out faster, so it will need more water. Therefore, if you have a lot of sunlight or if the air is comparably dry you will have to water the grass plant as often as once a day.

Citronella grass plant is not considered to be invasive and will not spread all over your backyard once planted, as it reproduces from seed and through division, rather than by grass runners. But, despite it, it is still an aggressive grower and can uproot other plants growing nearby. So if you are planting the grass outdoors, it is advised to plant it in a grass container or in an enclosed area.

Citronella Plant: Growing And Caring For Mosquito Plants

You’ve probably heard of the citronella plant. In fact, you may even have one sitting out on the patio right now. This well loved plant is essentially prized for its citrusy scent, which is thought to hold mosquito-repelling properties. But does this so-called mosquito repellent plant really work? Keep reading to find out more about this interesting plant, including information on growing and caring for mosquito plants.

Citronella Plant Info

This plant is commonly found under a number of names, such as citronella plant, mosquito plant geranium, citrosa geranium and Pelargonium citrosum. Though many of its names leave the impression that it contains citronella, which is a common ingredient in insect repellent, the plant is actually a variety of scented geranium that simply produces a citronella-like scent when the leaves are crushed. The mosquito plant geranium came about from taking specific genes of two other plants – Chinese citronella grass and African


So the big question still remains. Do citronella plants really repel mosquitoes? Because the plant releases its smell when touched, it is thought to work best as a repellent when the leaves are crushed and rubbed on the skin as mosquitoes are supposed to be offended by its citronella scent. However, research has shown that this mosquito repellent plant is actually ineffective. As someone growing and caring for mosquito plants myself, I can attest to this as well. While it might be pretty and smells good, the mosquitoes still keep coming. Thank goodness for bug zappers!

A true citronella plant closely resembles lemongrass, while this imposter is larger with foliage that resembles parsley leaves. It also produces lavender blooms in the summer.

How to Care for Citronella

Growing and caring for mosquito plants is easy. And even though it may not be an actual mosquito repellent plant, it makes an ideal plant both indoors and out. Hardy year round in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 9-11, in other climates, the plant can be grown outdoors during the summer, but should be taken inside before the first frost.

These plants prefer at least six hours of sunlight every day whether it is planted outside or indoors near a window but can also tolerate some partial shade.

They are tolerable of a wide variety of soil as long as it’s well draining.

When growing mosquito plant geranium indoors, keep it watered and fertilize occasionally with an all purpose plant food. Outside the plant is fairly drought tolerant.

Citronella plant typically grows anywhere between 2 and 4 feet (.6-1.2 m.) high and pruning or pinching is recommended to encourage the new foliage to bush out.

Citronella Geranium: Is It Really a Mosquito Repellent?

My ears have been fine-tuned to catch any references to natural ways to repel mosquitoes. Since the addition of four 50 gallon rain barrels to my yard and garden, it has been a constant battle to keep screens in place over the drainpipe openings and overflow exits, and Mosquito Dunks in all the barrels, to prevent the blood-thirsty little buggers from experiencing an unprecedented population boom.

Despite all my efforts, they seem to linger at every doorway and in every corner of my garden, just waiting for me to set foot out of my house. I keep DEET insect repellent near my back door, and have pondered the purchase of permethrin-infused clothing. Back in the early years of our marriage, nearly 20 years ago, my husband and I even drew smiles from our elderly neighbors for gardening late into the evening by the light of citronella tikki torches.

An acquaintance, a friend of a friend, mentioned that she had gotten rather carried away when she rooted cuttings of her citronella geraniums, and she didn’t know what she was going to do with them all. She cast her eyes at the welts on my neck and arms (which I thought I was so surreptitiously scratching), and at the rain barrels standing sentry under my drain pipes, and asked if I wanted a few starts.

“They’re called Mosquito Plant. The mosquitoes hate them! Plant them by your back door, and by where you grill out, and they’ll leave you alone! You should try it!”

I was intrigued. I’d heard of citronella candles, of course, and citronella grass, but citronella geraniums were new to me.

“Just planting them in the ground repels the mosquitoes? You don’t have to rub the leaves on your skin or make infusions of the oils or anything?” I asked. I have notoriously sensitive skin, and didn’t relish the thought of doing yet another skin test on my inner elbow to see if I’d develop a blistering rash.

Her eyes darted away, and she mumbled, “Oh, well, that works, too. They smell so good when you rub your hands on the leaves! Do you want some?”

I have to confess, I’m a little bit of a skeptic. I love to share plants from my gardens, and regularly give away starts of plants that I’m dividing or moving, but I also have a well-formed kernel of caution down deep in my heart. When given a start of a plant, I always do my research to be sure it isn’t invasive, or won’t become a thug. Too often I’ve found that if someone has more of a plant than they know what to do with, that means it won’t play nicely and stay where I’ve put it.

First, the good news. Citronella geranium, Pelargonium citrosum, is a tender perennial, so it can be grown either as an annual, or potted up and brought inside for the winter before the first hard frost hits. It is easy to grow in full sun or partial shade, and is fairly drought-resistant, though it does appreciate regular watering while it is getting established. It rarely requires fertilizer, though it does appreciate being cut back to promote a more bushy form. It doesn’t spread or self-seed prolifically, growing to a height and spread of around 24 inches. It has deeply lobed, lacy leaves, and the eye-catching pink and magenta flowers alone make it worth growing. Like many scented geraniums, you have only to brush against the leaves, or rub them gently between your fingers, to release their fragrance. When I sniffed at the leaves, they did, indeed, have a pleasant, lemon-citrus smell that was very reminiscent of ubiquitous citronella candles of my childhood camping trips.

Bad news was soon to follow, however. The plant was developed in the late 1980’s by a Dutch horticulturist, Dr. Dirk Van Leeni, who claimed it was a genetically engineered hybrid of an African rose-scented geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) and Chinese citronella grass (Cymbopogon nardus), which is the source of the citronella oil used in so many insect-repelling products. This was later exposed as a hoax. The plant was actually a scented geranium, with a fragrance that strongly resembled the familiar smell of citronella. The Herb Society of America publishes a Pelargoniums Guide in pdf format, which provides these telling details about the supposed mosquito-repelling citronella geranium: “The plant’s oil composition was very similar to rose geranium, including only .09% citronellal (one of the active components in citronella oil). The citrosa plant did not protect human subjects from mosquito bites more than controls, and in one field trial mosquitoes actually landed on the plant.”

A New York Times article from 1991, shortly after the public release of the highly-touted plant, also describes a preliminary study done to see if proximity to the plant would actually reduce the number of mosquito bites. Their results were disappointing, as well:
“Canadian scientists did a preliminary study at the University of Guelph in Ontario because there were so many inquiries from growers,” said Carl Schreck, an entomologist with the United States Department of Agriculture’s research service in Gainesville, Fla. “But they found that when they put their arms in a cage with the plant, the mosquitoes bit them just as readily as without the plant. The advertising is quite misleading, and there’s no scientific data to back it up.”

It seems many people are only too happy to believe the claims that these attractive plants will dispel the clouds of mosquitoes that descend as soon as we set foot outside. A quick internet search will yield many sources that still promote the false information about the parentage and effectiveness of the plant, despite the scientific and anecdotal evidence to the contrary. Even true citronella grass, Cymbopogon nardus, must be applied to the skin to be effective as a repellent. Simply planting them around your deck or pool area won’t discourage the mosquitoes from sampling the tempting array of humans gathered there. Lemon thyme (Thymus x citriodorus) and lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) are more effective as very mild natural mosquito repellents than the citronella geranium, and have the additional bonus of being perennial plants.

In the end, I didn’t receive any of the offered plants. Perhaps she was slightly offended when I gently questioned the amazing mosquito-repelling abilities of the offered plants, or perhaps she really did run out because she’d offered them to too many people, as she explained the next time our paths crossed. In either case, I was sorry, both because I hate to give offense when someone extends a genuine offer, and because I would gladly have added this pretty little plant to my borders, on the merits of its scent and blossoms alone.

American Herb Society Factsheet on Pelargoniums, found at: www.herbsociety.org/factsheets/pelargoniums_fact.pdf

Images courtesy of PlantFiles

Scented Geranium ‘Van Leenii’



Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


Grown for foliage



Foliage Color:

Unknown – Tell us


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


12-15 in. (30-38 cm)


USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers


Unknown – Tell us

Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown – Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown – Tell us

Bloom Time:

Blooms repeatedly

Other details:

Unknown – Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Unknown – Tell us

Propagation Methods:

From herbaceous stem cuttings

Allow cut surface to callous over before planting

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

By serpentine layering

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Merced, California

Seaside, California

Auburndale, Florida

Long Beach, Mississippi

Garden Myths – Learn the truth about gardening

The mosquito plant, Pelargonium Citrosum , also called the citrosa plant or citronella scented geranium, is highly recommended for keeping mosquitoes away. This plant is marketed as being specifically developed to continually give off a mosquito repelling scent. Turns out you can grow this plant in many gardens.

The mosquito plant has been confused by some in the horticulture industry, and falsely called the citronella plant. In Citronella Plant keeps Mosquitoes Away, I explained and clarified this mixup.

Mosquito Plant (Pelargonium’Citrosum’)

Mosquitoes and Fragrant Geraniums

Pelargonium Citrosum is a strongly scented geranium that is reported to be very effective at keeping mosquitoes away. The University of Guelph tested the mosquito plant to validate the stated claims.

The researchers placed human subjects in a wooded area containing lots of mosquitoes. They then counted the number of mosquito bites each group of people received. People were randomly divided into 3 groups. One group tested DEET, another control group used water as a repellent, and a third group used water and sat beside a mosquito plant.

The experiment had a variety of built in controls to ensure that they tested both males and females, both of varying size and age. Tests were repeated to produce statistically sound data.

Deet provided greater than 90% protection after 8 hours.

People sitting beside the mosquito plant had the same number of mosquito bites as people who were treated with water. That is to say – the plant had no effect.

The researchers commented that “during field evaluations, mosquitoes were regularly observed landing and resting on the mosquito plant, indicating a lack of repellancy”.

Mosquito Plant Does Not Work

The results were quite clear. The mosquito plant does not work.

Pelargonium Citrosum is quite fragrant, but it did not work at keeping mosquitoes away. What about other fragrant plants – do they work? I’ve discussed that in Mosquitoes Repelled by Fragrant Plants.

2) Photo Source: Mokkie

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Pest-repelling plants

Whether its mozzies, flies or ants, did you know you can stop pests in their tracks with a range of pest-repellent plants? The secret to these plants’ pest-repellent magic is in the oils they produce, which must be released in order for the plant to be effective against pests.

There are a few ways to release these plants’ pest-deterring oils. For a pest-free path, plant near a walkway where the plant will be brushed against. Cut a bunch and hang by a door or window. When doing your yearly prune, you can also dry the plant and place it in sachets or potpourri to repel insects in your home too.

No More Ants


Mentha pulegium

The smallest member of the mint family is a versatile, low-growing groundcover that’s hardy and easy to grow. The menthol in the plant gives it its typical minty aroma and the tiny mauve flowers appear in late spring.

Grows to a height of: 15 to 30 centimetres

No More Mosquitoes

Pelargonium citrosum ‘Valenii’

Pelargonium citrosa van leenii

This easy-to-grow perennial features mauve-pink flowers and a pleasant citronella fragrance that’s strongest when watered at dusk. It’s perfect for a hanging basket and as well as repelling mozzies, it will also deter other pests.

Grows to a height of: 1.2 metres

No More Flies


Tanacetum vulgare

This hardy perennial features exquisite fern-like foliage and clusters of bright-yellow button-like flowers. Tansy will help deter flies as well as fleas, cut worm, cabbage worm, ants, mosquitoes and fruit moth.

Grows to a height of: 60 centimetres

No More Dogs

Plectranthus ornatus syn. Coleus caninus

If you want to keep four-legged friends out of your garden, plant this small and quick-growing succulent shrub in the ground or in a pot. The fleshy leaves are complemented by blue-mauve flowers in spring.

Grows to a height of: 12 centimetres

No More Bugs

Passionfruit daisy

Tagetes lemmonii

This small perennial evergreen shrub is easy to grow and hardy. Masses of golden daisy-like yellow flowers – which smell like passionfruit – appear for most of the year, even in winter. The passionfruit daisy also releases a substance from its roots which kills soil nematodes, especially in roses and tomatoes.

Grows to a height of: 30 centimetres


Allium sativum

Garlic not only keeps vampires at bay, it keeps bugs away too, plus you’ll have homegrown garlic to enjoy. Plant near roses to help combat black spot. Learn how to grow great garlic.

Grows to a height of: 70 centimetres


Lavandula angustifolia

Lavender is a favourite in many Sydney gardens, but did you know its fine silvery leaves are rich with aromatic oils that are a deterrent for moths? Learn more about lavender.

Grows to a height of: 70 centimetres

‘Citronella’ Scented Geranium
Botanical Name:

Scented Geranium ‘Citronella’ is a large and robust plant reaching up to 90cm in height. It has an upright bushy, growth habit and a leaf structure similar to Pelargonium graveolens. The darkish green leaves are quite coarse and have deeply divided lobes, with crinkled and serrated edges. In some cases, the lobes are quite thin and lace like. The long blooming flowers are lavender to pink, with the top two petals being larger and decorated with a double ‘brush mark’ of deep crimson and bright pink. This plant can benefit from pruning since it may become branch and sprawl, becoming too ‘leggy’ if left to overgrow.

The scent is of citronella or a citrus lemon like fragrance and is released as the leaves are brushed against or crushed in the hands. Most gardeners are happy simply to have the plant for the gentle aroma that it brings to the garden setting. Although this plant does not have real value as an insect repellent, if the leaves are crushed and rubbed on the skin the essential oils may help to repel insects from the skin for a short period. Scented Geranium ‘Citronella’ does contain small amounts of citronella oil, but more is found in Geranium ‘Dr Livingstone’. If true insect repelling plants are required the Cymbopogon genus is the source of the true essential oil.

In some countries, particularly North America this plant is marketed as Pelargonium citrosa (citrosum), ‘Citrosa’ or Citronella Mosquito Plant. However, the former are not true botanical names and the plant does not repel insects. In the 1980’s Dutch scientist, Dirk Van Leeni, released this variety as an insect repelling plant. He claimed that it was a genetically engineered cross between Rose Scented Geranium – Pelargonium graveolens and the Cymbopogon species, Chinese Lemon Grass. However, this was later proved to be false with the plant analysed and found to contain no distinct genetic material.

It is likely that this is a variety or natural hybrid of Pelargonium graveolens, with a citronella like scent. Note that this plant is not the wild type Pelargonium citronella, which has oak like leaves, with large triangular shaped lobes. Many gardening writers still record this as a hybrid between two different species based on the earlier claims. However, due to the marketing name, many gardeners believe this to be ‘the citronella plant’ and buy it for use as an insect repellent. An internet search for citronella will often provide pages of geranium references. The citronella essential oil used for insect repellent is collected from the Cymbopogon genus, which includes commonly known lemongrass.

Further information on growing conditions and uses for Rose Scented Geraniums and related varieties may be found below.

Pelargonium General Notes

Pelargoniums are evergreen perennials, sharing many common characteristics with the Geranium species. They range in height from 30- 100cm and may be categorized based on varying leaf shapes, such as crinkled, oak or fern leaf shapes. The leaf colour may vary from deep to light green, with flowers generally held in loose clusters. Most prefer to grow in full sun and they are also drought and heat tolerant. However, some varieties do require some shade and moist conditions where possible. Many grow near streams in their native habitats, but generally ‘less is more’ is a good guideline for watering these plants. They do not like to be damp at all.

This group of plants were initially catalogued by Linnaeus into the same Genus as Geraniums, but were separated into separate genera in 1789. Pelargoniums were taken to England in 1631, but it is likely they were transported to Holland in the earlier 1600’s. Since early times various varieties have been developed and many are now cultivated commercially for the essential oils used in perfumery and aromatherapy.

The Pelargonium genus is one of five in the family Geraniaceae, which has over 800 species. This includes the separate Geranium genus, which often causes confusion since ‘geranium’ is also used as a common name for the many Pelargonium species and cultivars. There is thought to be 270 species of Pelargonium, with 219 being native to South Africa. Among these, there is a number of genera or subtypes of pelargonium based on features such as leaf type. Of this selection about 80% are native only to select areas in the southern regions of South Africa. The remaining 20% are found in Australia, New Zealand and a few select areas such as Madagascar and Eastern Africa. There are now cultivated varieties all over the world, most with origins in South Africa. The true Geranium species is a hardy group of plants native to North America and Europe.

The Geranium plant family is an important food source for certain Lepidoptera species in their native regions. For more information on our other Scented Geranium listings.

Growing Conditions

Most pelargoniums enjoy full sun, but Rose Scented Geranium is one variety that requires more shelter. Pelargonium graveolens grows very well in semi-shaded positions and is good as a filler plant in larger gardens. It requires a moist, but not damp environment, with well- drained soil.

This plant also grows well in containers and hanging baskets. In cold regions it may even be taken indoors, but may be better treated as an annual if this is not possible. Although, not very tolerant of frost some plants may die down and return when the weather warms in spring. It may be propagated by tip or stem cuttings taken in autumn or spring. Seed may be sown at almost any time of the year, especially in warmer climates.

Culinary Uses

Pelargoniums are usually suitable for culinary use, particularly the leaves and flowers. They may be used for herbal teas and to sweeten and scent desserts such as cakes and jelly. The most commonly used are those with rose, lemon and peppermint scents. Leaves may be cut and placed in ice cube trays for later use in iced tea or other suitable cold drinks.

A tea infusion may be made using 3 teaspoons of freshly chopped leaves, or 1 teaspoon of dried leaves, and 1 cup (250mls) of boiling water. Let the leaves steep, strain and then drink as needed. There are several varieties suitable for a tea infusion, but it may be a matter of taste.

Medicinal Uses

Many South African varieties of Pelargonium have a history of traditional medicine use by local tribes. General traditional use has included treatment for digestive and respiratory ailments, wounds, burns, ulcers and abscesses, cold sores and sore throats. The active chemicals are slightly astringent so they are good for skin care, oily skin and cleansing the pores. Overall the pelargonium species are seen as having value for creating a relaxing and uplifting feeling, while calming nerves, anxiety and aiding depression. There is also value for use in premenstrual tension and for those seeking an essential oil for creating a soothing and balancing effect on the body. Different varieties may have different effects.

The strongly scented Rose Scented Geranium, Pelargonium graveolens, is one of the best plants in this genus for traditional medicine use. Several active chemicals, in this species, have been determined to be beneficial for having antibiotic effects and nerve pain relief. Research has indicated it is helpful for nerve pain associated with shingles. It is thought to also have a soothing effect on the skin when used to bath rashes, skin irritations or simply used in bath water.

Other Uses

Many of the scented pelargonium species and varieties are cultivated especially for their use in perfumery, aromatherapy and massage therapy. Rose Scented Geranium is often used as a substitute for the more expensive Rose of Attar. The oil is extracted from the leaf and stems of the plant.

Mosquito Plant

A scented geranium, this is a great patio plant, especially in containers. Do not over-fertilize because too much nitrogen reduces leaf fragrance. Sometimes called citronella, but actually a citrus-scented geranium. Although crushed leaves do have some ability to repel mosquitoes, the plants alone are grown more for their refreshing scent than mosquito-repelling characteristics. Place them near a gate or path where you brush against the leaves as you walk by, or in a pot where children can rub the leaves to enjoy their fragrance. Plants are vigorous growers and drought tolerant. Move indoors before frost.

  • Type Tender perennial
  • Planting time Spring, after the last frost
  • Features Strongly lemon-scented leaves
  • Light Part shade
  • Soil Light, well drained, on the dry side
  • Spacing 18 to 24 inches
  • Plant size 24 to 36 inches tall
  • Garden use Herb garden, flower border, containers

Some Bonnie Plants varieties may not be available in your local area, due to different variables in certain regions. Also, if any variety is a limited, regional variety it will be noted on the pertinent variety page.

Categories: Herbs, Mint SKU: 715339012272

Summer means being outdoors with friends on the patio, near the campfire, or relaxing by the pool or lake. It’s also all about fresh food, delicious drinks, and making the most out of your outdoor space. Well, I’m sure we’ve all experienced some pesky, uninvited guests at these gatherings-mosquitoes. Whether they’re near the food, constantly buzzing in your ear, or eating away at you and your guests, there’s no doubt that no one wants them around.

How To Repel Mosquitos with Plants

Sure, bug spray like Deet, essential oils, and citronella candles can help repel mosquitoes, but there are also outdoor plants and herbs you can plant in your garden or keep near the table that are just as helpful. Check out some of these mosquito-repelling plants so you relax outdoors this summer. We’ve even included some links to our favorite seeds so you can plant them at home!

1. Lavender


Lavender has a very distinct strong fragrance that’s known to be relaxing and calming. Personally, I can’t get enough of it and you’ll find several lavender plants around my outdoor space at home. Not only are the purple flowers pretty to look at, but the aroma is also known to be a mosquito repellent as well as other biting insects, so it’s best to keep it close to your entertainment space.

Keep in mind that lavender is a fast-growing plant, so make sure you put it in a large pot or an area with a lot of space.

2. Citronella Grass

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It’s common to stock up on citronella candles for the summer, but oftentimes they’re filled with chemicals. A natural mosquito repellent would be to plant some citronella grass or citronella plants nearby.

You can even rub the crushed levels on your skin, which can act like a mosquito repellant. The aroma is nice, it has a lemon scent to it, making it a go-to mosquito repellent.

3. Marigolds


Marigolds are definitely nice to look at with their vibrant colors, but did you know that they’re great for mosquito control? Marigold flowers contain pyrethrum, which is a compound found in many insect repellents. Potted marigolds are great to have around a crowded space, but they also look nice as a diy border around the vegetable garden beds.

4. Catnip

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My catnip is starting to flower!! #thisiswhathappenswhenyoudatealandscaper #crazycatlady #mygirlsaregonnalovethis #catnip

A post shared by Jamie Wordell (@j_dub_93) on Jun 11, 2018 at 9:15am PDT

Sure the cats might have a hard time staying away, but the mosquitoes won’t with this mosquito repelling plant. Catnip is in the mint family and contains a natural chemical called nepetalactone, that’s both an insect repellent and feline attractant. Catnip is very easy to grow, however, if you don’t want to attract cats, this might not be the best option.

5. Lemon Balm


Not only is the strong lemon scent appetizing, but lemon balm, which is part of the mint family, is a mosquito repellent. Use the crushed leaves on your skin for a quick and natural mosquito repellent, but keep in mind that lemon balm is considered an invasive species. You can control it easily by planting it in a large pot outdoors.

6. Basil

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Green fingers 🌱🍅🍇

A post shared by Tobias Guldstrand (@tguldstrand) on Jun 11, 2018 at 10:16am PDT

Basil is a flavorful herb that’s most commonly used in pesto and other fresh dishes, but it also makes the perfect insect repellent. It gives off an aroma that mosquitoes can’t stand, without having to crush the leaves. You can grow basil in multiple pots and keep them on the outside table.

7. Mint


Of course fresh mint is the ideal ingredient if you want to bring clean and fresh flavors to cocktails and other dishes, but it also acts as a mosquito repellent plant. Another great thing is that mint essential oil is known to help soothe bug bites as well.

8. Scented Geraniums

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#ゼラニウム #geranium #sentedgeranium

A post shared by Herb & Aroma_Aranjia (@pochaki) on Jun 16, 2016 at 2:48am PDT

When it comes to Mosquito repelling plants, Lemon-scented geraniums are very effective and have a strong scent to keep pests away. They like warm, sunny areas and bloom into gorgeous flowers to decorate your outdoor space.

9. Rosemary


Woody, flavorful, and easy to grow, rosemary also acts as a natural mosquito repellent. Use it to add flavor to your dishes while keeping those pesky mosquitoes away. Make sure you place them in an area with a lot of space since they do tend to spread quickly.

If you’re sitting around the fire, you can toss in a bunch of rosemary and the strong scent will keep them far away.

10. Floss Flower (Ageratum houstonianum)

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Ageratum #cutflower #ageratum #flossflower

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Floss flowers are pretty effective for keeping mosquitoes out of the area and as an added bonus, they produce pretty purple flowers, which can brighten up any space. They give off an aroma that mosquitoes aren’t fond of, but attract other insects like butterflies.

Watch: 11 Natural Water Infusion Flavors

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Quick Guide to Growing Citronella

  • Plant citronella in spring once all chances of frost have passed and the soil is warm. A good rule of thumb is to plant the same time you plant tomatoes.
  • Space citronella 18 to 24 inches apart in an area that receives partial shade and has fertile, well-drained soil.
  • Improve your native soil by mixing in several inches of aged compost or other rich organic matter.
  • Check soil moisture every few days and water when the top inch becomes dry.
  • For abundant blooms, feed regularly with a water-soluble plant food.
  • Once mature, prune citronella as necessary and enjoy the fragrant leaves and flowers in summer arrangements.

Soil, Planting, and Care

Plant in spring after the danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed, about the same time you plant tomatoes. Select a location with a little afternoon shade, and space plants 18 to 24 inches apart. For best results, choose young Bonnie Plants® citronella (also called mosquito plants), which are strong and vigorous.

Though citronella plants are tolerant of a wide range of well-drained soils, moderately rich, moist soil will produce the best growth. Create just that kind of root environment in your garden by mixing 3 inches of aged compost-enriched Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics™ All Purpose In-Ground Soil in with the top 6 inches of the existing soil. If you prefer to grow in pots, fill them with lighter, fluffier Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics™ All Purpose Container Mix, which is good for both indoor and outdoor growing.

Citronella will grow best with a mix of great soil and premium plant food. Feed regularly with Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics™ All Purpose Plant Nutrition, which feeds instantly and nourishes the healthy microbes in the soil as well as your plants.

Ideally, you’ll want to water whenever the top inch of soil dries out. Good news for gardeners in drought-prone areas, though: Citronella is relatively tolerant of summer stress.

An evergreen perennial in zones 9 to 11, citronella will be a cold tender annual where freezing temperatures occur. In addition, the stems can become quite woody by summer’s end. If you want to overwinter your plant, propagate a new one during the late summer months by layering. Set a pot filled with potting soil beside your big plant. Bend a stem (still attached to the big plant) gently toward the pot, being careful not to break it. Bury the stem sideways at a point at which a leaf is attached, keeping the growing tip uncovered. Place a rock or piece of brick over the buried stem to hold it in place. After a few weeks, roots will emerge from the stem and grow into the potting soil. At the end of the season (and before frost), cut the stem free from the mother plant and move the new young plant indoors for the winter.

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