How to Grow Indoor Citronella Plant | Citronella Geranium Care Guide

If you think this plant will fend off mosquitoes, it won’t! But learning How to Grow Indoor Citronella Plant will give you a fragrant room!

Commonly known as the Scented Geranium, this Citronella Plant is not related to the Citronella Grass. It is well known for its sweet and energizing fragrance and lavender flowers. Learn How to Grow Indoor Citronella Plant in simple steps below!

  • Botanical Name: Pelargonium citrosum
  • USDA Zones: 10 – 11
  • Exudes a sweet lemony aroma
  • Pink-lavender flowers bloom in summer

Citronella Plant Information

How to Grow Indoor Citronella Plant | Citronella Geranium Care Guide 1

The Citronella Plant, not to be confused with the Citronella Grass, is an evergreen perennial plant with low-maintenance needs. The citronella species are native to South Africa, with decorative leaves emitting a strong aroma of lemon or citrus, which spreads immensely when the leaves are crushed.

The herbaceous plant sprouts a group of lavender-pink flowers with crimson spots. Contrary to popular belief, it does not repel mosquitoes or insects. It is widely used for its refreshing scent and can grow up to 24 inches/60 cm tall and spread about 12 -18 inches/30 – 45 cm.

Citronella Plant vs. Citronella Grass

Often confused with one another, Citronella Plant and Citronella Grass are scientifically different from one another.



Botanical Name

Pelargonium citrosum Cymbopogon nardus


It sprouts lavender-pink flowers

It does not sprout flowers

Type Geranium shrub


Commercial use There is no commercial use for Citronella Plant

Citronella oil, which is used for making insect and mosquito repellent products, is made from Citronella Grass


Propagating Citronella Plant

How to Grow Indoor Citronella Plant | Citronella Geranium Care Guide 2

The ideal season for snipping cuttings of Citronella plant for propagation can be summer or fall or when the plant is in the growing stage. Look for a 4-6 inch long green stem with 1-2 leaves from a healthy citronella plant. Cut the stem with a sterilized knife and plant it in a pot with a well-draining growing mix. Keep the medium moist and place it in a warm location with bright indirect sunlight. New roots will start developing within a couple of weeks.

Requirements for Growing Citronella Plant


The Scented germanium will grow best if kept in a pot receiving direct sunlight for 4-6 hours daily. Place the citronella plant on your Southern window to help it soak in the afternoon sun. Bright sunlight also helps the flowers to sprout more actively.


There are a few options to choose from for planting Citronella. The soil must be well-drained, with a loamy-sandy texture. The pH can be anywhere between alkaline and neutral. Additionally, a soil mix with garden soil and a handful of aged manure can also be used.


Water requirements for indoor and outdoor growth of citronella are different. Indoors, the plant does not require frequent watering once it is settled. In fact, it is drought resistant. Water it adequately during summers and occasionally during winters. Wait for the topsoil to dry before watering in the colder months.

Temperature and Humidity

Citronella likes to grow in slightly warmer temperatures, so the ideal temperature is 65 to 70 ºF/18 to 21ºC during the day and 55 ºF/13ºC at night.

This plant does not like extremely humid environments, so keep it in a cool spot with slightly low humidity levels.

Citronella Plant Care

shutterstock/Tula L


When grown indoors, this plant does not need fertilizer in high quantities. Fertilize the plant moderately with a water-soluble fertilizer between March and October. Decrease fertilization during the colder months. Take care that the soil is moist before fertilizing the plant.

Pests and Diseases

In terms of diseases, this plant does not encounter many diseases. It may get attacked by glasshouse whitefly, caterpillars, glasshouse leafhoppers, aphids, vine weevils, and root mealybugs. Deal with them using the insecticide before the whole plant is spoiled.

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