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How to Grow a Mosquito Plant

By Kelly Shetsky ; Updated September 21, 2017

The mosquito plant is also known as the citronella plant. It is a type of geranium that repels mosquitoes with the oil in its leaves. The plant can achieve heights of 3 feet tall. Purple or pink flowers bloom in the spring and summer, making the mosquito plant a pretty addition to any garden landscape. Depending on where you live and the care you give the plant, it can be an annual or a perennial.

Choose a planting location that is in the full sun. If you live in a hot climate, it's okay to plant it somewhere with partial afternoon sun.

Mix one inch of compost in with the local soil. Use a garden tiller to create an even mixture. This will improve drainage and fertility.

Dig a hole twice as wide as the mosquito plant's root mass. Make sure it is as deep as the plant was in the nursery container. Set the plant in the center of the hole and fill in with the removed soil mixture.

Press down on the soil to remove air pockets. Water the mosquito plant well, allowing the water to reach the roots.

Let the soil dry out slightly between watering. Add more water once per week. During the winter, only water mosquito plants every two weeks.

Apply a balanced fertilizer once every two months. Soak the soil with water, then spread the food and re-water. This will eliminate root damage and help the fertilizer soak in. Follow manufacturer's dosage instructions.

Protect mosquito plant from the cold. Once it reaches about 40 degrees Fahrenheit at night, dig the plant up and re-plant it in a large container. Cover the roots with the soil from the original planting location.

Store the plant indoors in a location with a temperature of 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter. If the plant turns light green, feed it with some fertilizer. Move it outside again once the danger of frost passes.


Things You Will Need

  • Plant
  • Organic compost
  • Garden tiller
  • Shovel
  • Water
  • Fertilizer
  • Container


  • Space mosquito plants 12 to 15 inches apart.
  • Keep mosquito plants inside all year long if you want a houseplant.


  • Keep water away from the leaves when watering to cut down on the risk of disease and fungal infestations.

About the Author


Based in New York State, Kelly Shetsky started writing in 1999. She is a broadcast journalist-turned Director of Marketing and Public Relations and has experience researching, writing, producing and reporting. She writes for several websites, specializing in gardening, medical, health and fitness, entertainment and travel. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Marist College.