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The Ultimate Guide to Large Citronella Plants: How to Grow, Care For and Use Them


large citronella plants
Table of Contents

What are Large Citronella Plants?

Large citronella plants are a type of perennial grass that belongs to the Cymbopogon genus. They are native to tropical regions in Asia and have been traditionally used for medicinal purposes. The plant is well-known for its strong citrus scent, which is why it's often used in candles, sprays, and other products to repel insects, especially mosquitoes.

How to Grow Large Citronella Plants?

Choosing the Right Location

To grow large citronella plants, you need to choose the right location. These plants love warm weather and plenty of sunlight, so make sure you plant them in an area that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. Additionally, citronella plants prefer well-drained soil, so avoid planting them in areas where water tends to collect.

Planting Citronella Seeds

You can growing citronella plants from seeds or by purchasing young plants from a nursery. To plant seeds, you'll need to prepare the soil by tilling it and adding compost or other organic matter to improve its fertility. Then, scatter the seeds over the soil and cover them with a thin layer of soil. Water the soil regularly, but be careful not to overwater it, as this can lead to root rot.

Caring for Citronella Plants

Once your citronella plants begin to grow, you'll need to care for them properly to ensure they thrive. Here are some tips:

  1. Water the plants regularly, but don't overwater them.
  2. Fertilize the plants with a balanced fertilizer once a month during the growing season.
  3. Prune the plants regularly to keep them from becoming too tall or leggy.
  4. Protect the plants from frost by covering them with a blanket or tarp if temperatures are expected to dip below freezing.

Using Large Citronella Plants

Repelling Insects

One of the main uses of large citronella plants is as a natural insect repellent. The strong citrus scent of the plant masks the scents that attract insects, making it an effective way to keep mosquitoes, flies, and other pests at bay. You can use the leaves of the plant to make sprays or candles, or simply place a few fresh leaves around your outdoor living areas.

Cooking With Citronella

In addition to its insect-repelling properties, citronella is also used as a culinary herb in many Asian countries. The leaves of the plant are often used to flavor soups, curries, and other dishes. However, it's important to note that large citronella plants have a much stronger flavor than the smaller, more commonly used lemon grass, so you'll need to use them sparingly.

FAQs about Large Citronella Plants

Q1: Can I grow citronella plants indoors?

Yes, you can grow citronella plants indoors, but they will need plenty of sunlight and space to grow. Make sure you choose a location near a sunny window and provide the plant with enough room to spread out.

Q2: Do citronella plants attract bees?

Citronella plants are not known to attract bees, as their strong scent tends to mask the scents that bees are attracted to. However, if you have other flowering plants nearby, they may still attract bees.

Q3: Can I use citronella oil on my skin to repel insects?

While citronella oil is often used in insect repellents, it's important to dilute it properly before applying it to your skin. Undiluted citronella oil can cause skin irritation and other adverse reactions.

Q4: How often should I water my citronella plants?

Citronella plants prefer well-drained soil, so you should water them when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot.

Q5: Are citronella plants poisonous to pets?

Citronella plants are generally considered safe for pets, but it's always a good idea to keep an eye on your pets when introducing new plants to their environment. If your pet shows signs of illness or discomfort after being exposed to citronella, contact your veterinarian immediately.


Large citronella plants are a versatile and useful addition to any garden. They're easy to grow and care for, and their insect-repelling properties make them especially valuable during the summer months. Whether you're using them to ward off pests or to add flavor to your favorite dishes, citronella plants are sure to become one of your favorite garden staples.

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