Citronella Mosquito Plant
- Plant Type: Tender perennial
- Sun: Full sun/part shade
- Plant Size: 2 to 3 feet tall
- Culinary Use: Leaves for strong citrus flavor and scent
Mosquito plant is actually a geranium with a scent matching citronella (a tropical grass known to repel mosquitoes). You can crush the leaves of mosquito plant to ward off those pesky insects, but grow the plant more for its delightfully refreshing scent than for a mosquito-free garden.
Plant in spring after all danger of frost has passed. In zones 9 and 10 it is perennial, but the tops are killed back by frost.
Plant Spacing: 1 to 2 feet. Plants Per Person: 1 to 2.
Secrets to Success »
Mosquito plant is perfect for containers. Plant in spring in light, well drained potting soil. This plant is forgiving if you forget to water, and like all geraniums likes to run dry. Water at the first sign of wilting though—it is not a cactus!
To keep mosquito plant alive through winter, bring the potted plant indoors into the brightest light possible. Fertilize after a week or two, and water when the soil dries out. Come spring, cut back any weak winter growth and move the pot back outdoors.
Harvest and Use »
Crush the scented leaves whenever you pass by to ward off mosquitoes and to fill the air with fresh citrus scent. The leaves of mosquito plant are edible. Use them as you would other scented geraniums, to infuse jellies, teas, fruit salads, and desserts with citrusy flavor and scent. Try placing leaves in a cake pan before pouring in the batter; once baked, the cake will carry the flavor throughout.
Try these garden companions »
- Sun coleus, Vinca, and any other sun-loving flower or foliage plant.