Citronella Plant | A Complete Guide
In ancient or medieval times, when humans did not have to worry about problems such as deforestation and global warming, our ancestors used to try to do all kinds of things with plants.
That is, they tried using them for anything they wanted them for.
They tried to treat fevers or colds or some cuts and scratches or diseases, etc., with them and got lucky sometimes and sometimes, not so much. Besides eating these plants to have a full stomach, the plants were used to help people recover from health issues.
It must have taken them a lot of experimenting to find out what worked best with what and for what.
Imagine eating some poisonous berry, hoping to get healed from a fever but finding yourself face to face with your ancestors in the afterlife instead. It might sound funny now but imagine what these experimenters must have gone through to get us the right combination of things that can treat so many diseases and health issues.
Although, in the modern age, experimenting with anything is a lot easier and convenient, and it is not a risk to your life. At least, not as much as it used to be before. Now the scientists can work in their labs and carry out their experiments in controlled environments, be it for medical purposes or anything else related to chemicals or other fields of work.
Plants have a lot of mysterious properties that took some time to unravel. And our ancestors had a lot of time on their hands. Hence, they experimented and tried everything that they could with every plant or tree, or shrubs that they got their hands on.
We have them to thank for all the medicinal advancement because they laid the foundation for everything in the modern era.
How Do Plants Benefit Us Besides Providing Us Food?
- Plants and trees provide us with a lot of things. The primary use of plants is that they give us food. Other benefits include medicinal uses. Many plants are known to be made of substances that can be used in a lot of medicines.
Plants like the holy basil, aloe vera, etc, can be used to treat so many health issues that we can have.
- Some plants have properties like purifying the air around them. You must know that the plants take in carbon dioxide and give out oxygen. In doing so, they are absorbing something that is polluting the environment and giving us breathable gas.
So it would be a great idea to have such plants in your home or workplace.
- When you keep plants at your home or workplace, they benefit you in many ways such as reducing stress. Just having green and colorful plants in your sight improves your mood and helps you a great deal.
When your stress level goes down, your productivity increases automatically.
- Similarly, because of the plants purifying the air and helping to reduce your stress levels and overall being a beautiful sight for your eyes helps you feel better and increases your creativity as well.
If you feel better in your day-to-day lives, you are sure to be full of positiveness.
- Studies have found that having a plant near you will help you not get sick easily. Other benefits include insulation against noise pollution, having properties like repelling insects, etc.
One such plant is the citronella plant, and in this article, we are going to discuss all the benefits that a citronella plant has all the ways you can distinguish a citronella plant from other plants like the lemongrass, and the ways you can help grow a citronella plant and care for it. So read ahead and find out about all these things.
What Is A Citronella Plant?
Before we get to the topic of how to grow a citronella plant, let us get to know more about a citronella plant.
- There are a lot of plants that people sell, claiming that they are the insect-repelling citronella plant or grass. But all of these plants are not really citronella plants. The actual citronella plants are what are called Cymbopogon nardus or Cymbopogon winterianus.
- These plants are aromatic plants that can be usually found in the Asian or American continent. These plants are a source of citronella oils. Although, it should be kept in mind that these plants are not edible because they are unpalatable in nature.
- If these citronella plants grow in the pasturelands, they will ruin the area, and the cattle would not be able to graze even if these plants are there in abundance, and they will eventually starve.
- The citronella plant can grow up to 5 to 6 feet in length and 3 to 4 feet in width. This plant is mostly found in southern Asian countries like Indonesia, Myanmar, India, etc.
How To Distinguish The Citronella Plants From Other Plants
There are a lot of species of plants that resemble the real citronella plants very closely. If you are not careful while purchasing them, you might end up buying the wrong plant. So it is necessary you know how to tell the difference. Read the following points to get a good idea of how to distinguish between different plants.
- If you are going to purchase a citronella plant that has some lacy foliages on it instead of grass blades, then you are looking at the wrong plant. This plant with the lacy foliages on it could be the citronella scented geranium instead of the real citronella plant.
This plant is sold as citronella and is claimed to have insect-repelling properties, but in truth, it does not do that and you would just have wasted your money buying it.
- Another plant that very closely resembles citronella and is very often confused as citronella is the lemongrass. These two plants look the same and even smell the same.
Both of these plants act as insect-repellent, but they are still different in nature.
The easiest way of telling the difference between a citronella plant and lemongrass is that lemongrass has green base stems, whereas the citronella plant has red or magenta stems as its base.
Furthermore, lemongrass has several culinary uses in southern Asia, whereas the citronella plant is mainly used for extracting oil and as an insect-repellant.
Now that you know how you can distinguish between the citronella plant and the other plants let us move on to its benefits and uses.
Benefits Of Citronella Plant
The citronella plant has a lot of uses in many aspects such as health and lifestyle-related as well as in oils.
Helps with mental health issues
The citronella plant helps with depression, stress, anxiety, etc, and makes you calm down. The scent of the citronella helps with all the above things, and it is a very good option if you are thinking of getting any plants for your home or workplaces.
Reduces fever and migraine
The citronella plant is known to help with migraine headaches and also with fever. If you are having a migraine headache or have a mild fever, it would be a great asset if you had the extracts of this plant with you.
This citronella plant has a lot of muscle relaxing capabilities. If you are feeling stiff and have mild pain in your muscles after a workout or exercise, this plant would help a great deal in relaxing your muscles.
Antibacterial and antifungal
The citronella plant has a lot many properties of being anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-microbial, etc. It is an overall great plant to possess.
The oil of the citronella plant is used in a lot of products like soaps and candles because they give off a scent that is great to smell and helps you relax as well. It is also used in creams and can be used as sprays as well. The oil is also used in insect-repellent products.
Used to treat parasites
The citronella plant can be used as an agent against parasites like lice, and it also helps with intestinal worms.
The citronella plant is most famous for the properties of being insect-repellant. The plant itself can act as a repellent to insects. Although, if you want it to have the best results against mosquitos, you should use the oil of the citronella plant.
If you do not have the oil of the citronella plant readily available to you, but you do have the citronella plant itself, then you can take the leaves of the plant and crush them, and then apply them to your skin or clothes.
Although if you are not sure if you are allergic to this or not, you can simply apply a small amount on a small portion of your skin to test it out first and then apply it to your skin and clothes overall to use its mosquitoes repelling properties.
The citronella plant has a strong lemon-like scent to it. This is very helpful to repel whiteflies from your garden or greenhouse. The whiteflies will get confused due to their lemon-like scent and go away. The same is true for some other pests as well and does not just apply to the whiteflies.
Now that you know about all the properties of the citronella plant and what all uses it can have, and what places it grows at, it is time to get to the topic of how you can care for a citronella plant.
How To Take Care Of A Citronella Plant?
The citronella does not have any complicated needs that will require you to go out of your way to help it grow. There are some simple things that you would need to keep in your mind to help it grow nicely so that you can use it for its various uses and have peace of mind.
The citronella plant needs bright sunlight like most plants. But you should keep in mind that it should not get too much sunlight directly. If it gets too much sunlight, then it can slowly dry out and wilt. So you should place it in a place where it gets filtered sunlight.
Soil And Water
This plant needs a lot of moisture so you should make sure that the soil that you plant this in is moist and loamy. The citronella plant needs a lot of moisture to grow, so you should water the plant daily, and you should also keep holes at the bottom of the pot so as to not let water get clogged and cause the plant any damage.
The citronella plant needs nitrogen-rich fertilization. If you want to make sure that your plant is growing the best way it can, you should give it fertilizers once every year. You can also divide this plant every spring and have two or more sections of the plant.
Cessation | Citronella Plant
Overall, any plant that has so many uses deserves to be in the house of every person that needs plants in their house. The citronella plant can have numerous benefits, but you need to be careful while you are out to purchase it.
If you are being sold a plant that has green pseudostems then it is not a citronella plant at all, instead, it is lemongrass. If you cannot find the citronella plant at all and you absolutely need it, then you can opt for the lemongrass, but that should not be done unless you have no other option.
Another plant that can closely resemble citronella are plants that are the geraniums that smell like citronella. If a plant has lacy foliages instead of grass blades, then that plant is not the citronella, and you should not buy it at any cost because it would be a waste of money.
Citronella plants provide a lot of benefits like reducing fever, being anti-bacterial, reducing migraines headaches, being antimicrobial and antifungal as well as helping reduce anxiety and stress levels. The oil of citronella can be used in various products, and it can also be used in food items.
If you are growing a citronella plant in your home, make sure that it receives filtered sunlight as too much sunlight can cause it to wilt and that the plant needs moist and loamy soil to grow. You need to water it daily and provide it with nitrogen-rich fertilizers annually.
The citronella plant will bring a lot of positivity to you and your home or workplace, so it is a plant you definitely should have.