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How to Start Roots With a Citronella Plant Piece

By Jennifer Loucks ; Updated September 21, 2017

Citronella is a variety of annual geranium, also known as mosquito plant, as it is known to repel the insect with its strong fragrance. It is a short-lived perennial that grown in areas with mild winter and lives up to two years. The fragrance becomes more vibrant when the leaves are crushed or rubbed. The citronella geranium grows well in garden settings and it will also thrive in a pot placed in a sunny location on a patio or porch.

Fill a planting tray with rooting medium or a mixture of course sand and peat. Moisten the rooting medium lightly with water. Rooting medium can be purchased at gardening centers.

Take citronella geranium cuttings in the fall season, by cutting shoots 3 to 5 inches in length with a clean pruning clipper. Remove all lower leaves from the cutting.

Dip the cut end into rooting hormone. Gently tap the cutting to remove excess hormone.

Stick 1 inch of the cut end into the rooting medium tray. Gently firm the medium around the cutting to hold in place.

Cover the rooting tray with a clear plastic bag or cover that came with the tray.

Place the tray in a location that offers indirect sunlight and warmth. Open the cover daily to remove excess heat buildup.

Water the cuttings only to prevent shriveling. The medium should hold enough moisture so that watering is required once a week.

Apply a water soluble fertilizer to the cuttings every two weeks.

Monitor the cuttings for root production. Gently pull on the cutting after four weeks to see if there is resistance. This will indicate root growth.

Transplant cuttings to a 3-inch pot once root growth is fully established. Continue to grow under lights or in full sunlight until the cuttings can be moved outdoors.

Water the cuttings regularly to keep the soil moist. Discontinue fertilizing until new top growth is present.


Things You Will Need

  • Planting tray
  • Rooting medium
  • Course sand
  • Peat
  • Pruning clipper
  • Rooting hormone
  • Clear plastic cover
  • Water
  • Water soluble fertilizer
  • 3-inch pots


  • Collect cuttings three to four weeks prior to the first frost.

About the Author


Jennifer Loucks has been writing since 1998. She previously worked as a technical writer for a software development company, creating software documentation, help documents and training curriculum. She now writes hobby-based articles on cooking, gardening, sewing and running. Loucks also trains for full marathons, half-marathons and shorter distance running. She holds a Bachelor of Science in animal science and business from University of Wisconsin-River Falls.