Citronella is a plant that is popularly known to have a pleasant lemon scent and has properties that repel mosquitoes, which is why it's also known as "the mosquito grass."
Because of the commercial properties it possesses, farmers and gardeners are always looking for how to cultivate citronella plants for maximum yields.
In today's guide, you're going to learn how to grow citronella plants from cutting, as well as when to plant citronella plants.
Let's get started!
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What is Citronella Plant?
Citronella plant, which is sometimes referred to as lemongrass, Cochin grass, silky heads, mosquito plants, and so on, is a plant that is native to Africa, Asia, Australia, and other tropical areas around the world.
Citronella is planted for various purposes, but most of the time, as culinary and medicinal herbs.
It is majorly used to produce citronella oil, which is used to make soaps, insects repellent, candles, disinfectants, and so on. Its grass can also be used for flavoring various kinds of food dishes.
When and Where to Plant Citronella
Citronella plants should be propagated in late spring so they can mature before summer. The best planting dates for citronella is anytime between the first week of June and the last week of June.
If you want to still make winter planting, it's best you take them indoors in gardens or greenhouses, and once the winter frost has passed, you can bring them outside.
In selecting a site to plant citronella cuttings or seeds, keep in mind that they need to receive a lot of sunlight to grow properly. They can wither in areas where the heat of the sun is too intense, so providing a partial shade when the weather is too hot is not a bad idea.
Citronella plants thrive better in moist, loamy soil. They can be grown on the ground and can also be grown in a gardening container or flowering pots.
But if you are using the cutting method to grow them, I will highly recommend that you plant them in a gardening container.
How To Grow Citronella Plant From Cutting
Propagation by cuttings instead of using seeds is a method of growing citronella plants that is not only famous but enables gardeners and farmers to yield more.
Citronella is a clumping plant that divides easily to give rise to more plants. Citronella is made up of many individual clumps, called culms, and this is why cutting is a very effective method of growing them.
To make your cuttings, select a very healthy plant, pick only healthy growth of leaves that is about 4 inches long, and make a sharp cut.
After Cutting, you would have a bare stem to insert into your pot filled with a soil mix. But before you plant the cuttings, ensure that you dip the end of the stem in a rooting hormone. The rooting hormone helps cuttings to root more quickly.
And if you are planting the cuttings in the ground, you could just follow the same process above, but ensure that the soil is well prepared and is fertile enough to support citronella cuttings.
Add water regularly for successful growth.
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Tips On Growing Citronella By Cutting
Below are some more essential tips to growing citronella plant from cutting:
- Plant citronella in spring, especially after the last frost has passed and the soil is warm enough.
- Try as much as possible to make a sharp cut and not to mash the stems of the plant when cutting. Mashing the stem may cause the growth of new shoots to be staunched.
- Ensure that you keep the stem ends of citronella cuttings in rooting hormones before planting.
- Space citronella about 21inches apart in an area that receives partial shade.
- Improve the quality of soil used in the pots by mixing compost manure or other rich organic matter.
- Keep the soil very moist and ensure that planting temperatures are between 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Harvest your mature citronella plants from 10 to 15 cm above the ground, leaving the plant roots to regrow.
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Hopefully, after going through this guide, you've learned how to grow citronella plants from cutting as well as the best time to grow citronella plants.
As you can see, the process is pretty much easy and straightforward. Just ensure that you plant it during the right planting season and in the right place.
Done well, the citronella plant can give you an excellent yield, and it's highly beneficial for humans.