Information on How to Start a Citronella Plant


Citronella, a type of scented geranium, is prized in the garden for its mosquito- and bug-repelling abilities. Citronella plants are annuals, suitable for beds and borders as well as in pots placed around outdoor seating areas. Like most geraniums, cuttings are an inexpensive way to start growing the citronella geranium in your garden. Start citronella geraniums from stem cuttings indoors in late fall or early winter. Transplant them to the garden or a pot after all frost danger has passed in spring.

Step 1

Fill a 5- to 6-inch diameter pot with a well-drained potting medium. Or, combine equal parts peat moss and vermiculite to make your own potting mix.

Step 2

Strip the leaves from the bottom 2 inches of a 5-inch long stem cutting. Dip the stripped, cut end of the stem into rooting hormone, coating it thoroughly.

Step 3

Push the citronella cutting into the soil just deep enough to support the stem upright. Water the potting mix until the water begins draining freely from the bottom of the pot.

Step 4

Cover the pot with a plastic bag. Arrange the bag so it is not in direct contact with the stem. Place the pot in a brightly lit area that does not receive direct sunlight.

Step 5

Remove the bag and water the potting mix if the top of the soil begins to dry. Replace the bag after each watering.

Step 6

Check the citronella plant for rooting four weeks after planting. Gently pull on the cutting and check for resistance, which indicates rooting. Repeat every week until the cutting has rooted. Remove the plastic bag after rooting.

Step 7

Move the citronella plant to a sunny window and water the potting medium when the top 1 inch begins to dry. Fertilize every two weeks with a half-strength, balanced houseplant fertilizer until transplanting in spring.

Things You'll Need

  • Pot
  • Peat moss
  • Vermiculite
  • Citronella cutting
  • Rooting hormone
  • Plastic bag
  • Fertilizer


  • North Carolina State University: Geranium Culture for Home Gardeners
  • Clemson Cooperative Extension: Geraniums
Keywords: starting citronella plants, growing citronella geraniums, planting scented geraniums

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.