Citronella Plant In Raised Garden Bed
Citronella is a popular herb, which has gained various nicknames over the years. You may have heard that it is called mosquito plant or lemon geranium. These nicknames usually refer to a specific type of scented geranium, Pelargonium. Citronella is famous for its strong citrus flavor, which will soon float from the crushed leaves. It is said that it can drive away mosquitoes and other insects, but these claims have not been confirmed. Even if it's not your silver bullet to stop bugs, citronella plants are still an easy to grow in a raised garden bed and fragrant supplement to your garden. Here are some ways to care for citronella all year round.
How to plant citronella
Citronella is a member of the aromatic geranium family, which is often stocked with herbs in the garden center. Sometimes it is even labeled as a mosquito plant. Look for a plant with healthy, dark green leaves. Then, gently remove the plant from the container and glance at the root. The root should be bright white and just beginning to reach the edge of the container. Avoid plants with dense cushion roots along the outer edge of the root ball.
Citronella grows well in sunny or partially shady places. In hot areas in summer, give your plants afternoon shade. A porch or courtyard is perfect for receiving the sunshine in the morning and some shade in the afternoon. Especially in the container, you can easily grasp a leaf to release some refreshing perfume. Or plant citronella plants on the ground along the sidewalk, where you may brush leaves. Only when the leaf is touched, it will release a fresh, vibrant lemon fragrance.
Citronella plants grow best in well drained soil and can even tolerate dry soil. Avoid wet or marshy growing areas, as citronella plants may rot in wet soil. In the container, use a universal potting mixture.
Watering and feeding citronella plants
Like all scented geraniums, citronella plants grow best when the soil is allowed to be slightly dry between watering. This is a watering plan for citronella plants: water potted plants to let excess water flow out of the drain hole at the bottom of the container. Do not water the plant again until the top inch of the soil is dry. After drying, go deep again. When the citronella plant grows on the ground, the top two inches of soil feels dry.
Citronella, like other scented geraniums, does not need too much fertilizer during the growing season. During planting, slow release fertilizers are mixed into the soil to meet their nutrient requirements.
Is citronella perennial?
Citronella is a perennial plant, but it is cold resistant only in 9-11 area. In colder areas, you can treat your citronella plant as an annual plant and replace it once a year, or you can bring it in for winter. To winter indoors, move it into your home when the temperature drops to 45 ° F at night in autumn. If citronella is left outdoors when the temperature is far below this point, it will be difficult for it to adapt to indoor growth conditions. It is best to bring your citronella immediately after the cool night becomes normal.
Sunny windows are the perfect winter home for citronella plants; The windows facing south or west let in the brightest light. Or you can use the growth lamp. Water citronella plants whenever the soil is dry. In the spring, when all the possibilities of frost have passed and the night temperature remains above 45°F, move it out again.
Is citronella edible?
Citronella plants are a popular addition to kitchens and gardens. Like all scented geraniums, its leaves and flowers are edible and full of flavor. Before using citronella leaves in the kitchen, gently wash them under running water and pat them dry. Citronella leaves can be added to salad fresh to get a little citrus flavor. Coat the flowers with sugar and use them to decorate cookies and cakes. By layering the clean dry leaves and sugar in an airtight container, flavor the sugar with citronella, or make simple syrup or tea.