It was the middle of summer (hot and humid as usual) and our family was hanging out on our neighbors porch. As we sat in our lawnchairs, there was a small gust of wind; I took a deep breath and caught a wonderful lemony aroma in the air. “What is that smell?” I asked. “It’s my citronella plants,” she responded.
Citronella is the most common natural ingredient in mosquito repellants, and what makes it so effective? It’s smell. The strong scent masks other attractants making it difficult for the mosquitos to find you. You’ll generally find citronella used in candles and torches, but if you really want to keep those pesky mosquitos away….citronella plants are the way to go.
A true citronella plant is a perennial grass similar to Lemon Grass – not to be confused with the “citronella-scented geranium” which does not have the same insect repelling properties. Citronella grasses are great background and filler grass for your flower beds because they can grow up to 5-6’ tall and are relatively low maintenance. They may be planted in the ground in areas without frost, but also do well in pots where they can come inside for the winter. You can find citronella plants at any nursery center. To make sure you are getting true citronella, look for Cybopogon nardus or Citronella winterianus.
Life with citronella plants is a life without putting bug repellant on every time the kids want to go outside, saying bye-bye to buying the candles and torches, and actually enjoying the time you spend outside with your family.