How to Repel Mosquitoes With a Citronella Plant
Lemon balm and lemon thyme are plants with more citronella -- 30 and 60 percent respectively, according to an evaluation of the mosquito plant in the July/August 1992 issue of "Organic Gardening Magazine."
Patch test your skin for any negative reaction to the citronella by rubbing a small amount on your forearm before applying the leaves to a large area of skin.
A citronella geranium, also called mosquito geranium, is a species of plant that produces the oil used in citronella products. The plant fragrance releases when you crush or rub the leaves. A citronella geranium contains less than 1 percent citronella oil. The plant may not repel enough mosquitoes to be worth planting for this sole purpose. The citronella geranium is sensitive to frost and requires protection in cold weather.
Select a planting container that is 8 to 12 inches in diameter with bottom drainage holes. Fill the container half full with a well-draining potting soil.
Remove the citronella seedling from the growing container and loosen the roots. Set the root ball into the container so the top is 1 to 2 inches below the container edge. Pack soil around the root ball to hold it in place. Leave at least 1 inch between the top of the soil and the edge of the container.
Set the container on a patio or area where you want to repel mosquitoes. The plant grows best when it receives a minimum of six hours direct sunlight.
Remove leaves and crush them to release the oil and natural fragrance to repel mosquitoes. Set the leaves on a plate and stagger the leaf collections around the area to repel mosquitoes where people gather.
Rub the leaves of the plant on your skin to stimulate fragrance release that repels mosquitoes. You may need to rub the leaves on your skin periodically as the fragrance diminishes.