Citronella grass (Cymbopogon nardus) is a coarse, tropical grass that is native to southeast Asia. It is grown commercially in Sri Lanka, India and Indonesia and as an ornamental in the southern United States.
Citronella forms clumps that reach 6 feet in height. The grey-green leaves are approximately 1 inch wide.
Citronella needs ample amounts of water---at least 30 inches per year. It grows best in full sun.
Hardiness and Range
Perennial in zones 10 through 12, citronella grass will die back in areas of cool, wet winters. It can be grown in pots in cooler climates and brought indoors to overwinter.
The oil extracted from citronella grass has mosquito-repellent qualities and is an ingredient in many commercial bug repellents. Plant citronella grass near a patio or walkway where the pleasant scent can be enjoyed.
Citronella has a refreshing, citrus-like scent that is used in soaps, candle making and the home fragrance industry.
Often marketed as "the mosquito plant," citronella geraniums (Pelargonium citrosum) are not related to citronella grass, but their lemony scent may repel mosquitoes.
- Pesticide.org: Plant-Based Mosquito Repellents
- Floridata: Citronella
mosquito plant, mosquito repellent, citronella grass, citronella
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Moira Clune is a freelance writer who since 1991 has been writing sales and promotional materials for her own and other small businesses. In addition, she has published articles on VetInfo and various other websites. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Hartwick College.