A scented geranium, this is a great patio plant, especially in containers. Do not over-fertilize because too much nitrogen reduces leaf fragrance. Sometimes called citronella, but actually a citrus-scented geranium. Although crushed leaves do have some ability to repel mosquitoes, the plants alone are grown more for their refreshing scent than mosquito-repelling characteristics. Place them near a gate or path where you brush against the leaves as you walk by, or in a pot where children can rub the leaves to enjoy their fragrance. Plants are vigorous growers and drought tolerant. Move indoors before frost.
- Type Tender perennial
- Planting time Spring, after the last frost
- Features Strongly lemon-scented leaves
- Light Part shade
- Soil Light, well drained, on the dry side
- Spacing 18 to 24 inches
- Plant size 24 to 36 inches tall
- Garden use Herb garden, flower border, containers
Light requirements Part shade. Full sun is okay in more northerly zones.
Planting Space 18 to 24 inches apart.
Soil requirement Although mosquito plant prefers rich, moist soil, it grows in a range of soil types.
Water requirements Keep soil moist after planting. Once established, mosquito plants in planting beds should survive on rainfall. In containers, plants need irrigation whenever soil is dry.
Frost-fighting plan Mosquito plant is perennial in zones 9 to 11. Plants are not frost-tolerant, but can survive a light frost if covered with a frost blanket.
Common issues In low light stems can get lanky and need staking. Mature plants in plastic containers often suffer wind-throw during summer thunderstorms. If high winds are forecast, shift pots to a more protected location. Mosquito plant is generally pest-free.
Harvesting Pick mosquito plant leaves at any point in the growing season by gathering individual leaves or leafy stems.
Storage Fresh leaves or stems keep in water five to seven days.