A 'Cybopogon nardus' or 'Citronella winterianus' is a genuine citronella plant. It should not be mistaken for another bush, known as the 'mosquito plant', that is usually found in some stores. This similar-looking plant is actually a scented geranium whose smell is closely similar to that of the citronella, which is also similar to lemon grass. Although these two plants are not the same, the citronella, too, has mosquito repellent properties. Areas that fall between zones 1-10 are ideal for this plant's growth. This 5-6-feet tall plant bears gray-green, aromatic, grass-like leaves. These leaves have a coarse texture and cane-like stems.
A heavy soil type with good drainage, is what is required to grow this plant. The soil must be porous and have a pH level of 6.5. Before planting the citronella, it is a good idea to mix the earth with a peat-based organic soil.
This plant prefers full sunlight in the early hours of the day and partial shade during the afternoon. The plant grows well during the warmer seasons of the year. Damp, cold winters, are generally not suitable for its growth. This is the reason why it is advisable to grow this plant in pots, so that it can be brought indoors during winter.
Water your citronella generously, but avoid letting the water stand. Allow the plant to dry before you start watering it again. The best way to check if the soil needs water, is to insert your index finger 1-2 inches into it. If it comes out dry, then the plant needs watering. It is also important to know that the plant does not prefer wet conditions.
Pruning and Fertilization
The plant's leaves are prone to diseases and withering. Prune the plant to get rid of dried leaves, so that its growth is not hampered. The fertilizer used for the plant should be high in nitrogen. Adding potassium-based fertilizer to the soil, twice a year, will also benefit its growth.
Insecticides and Fungicides
To get rid of bugs or to prevent an infestation, it is advisable that the insecticides be applied early in spring. Spray the insecticide around the plant, but away from new buds.
This plant's propagation is quite simple. Split the main bush into several smaller clumps. Then, plant each bush, separately.