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Citronella Plant Roots and Stems:
an In-depth Look

Updated: March 26, 2022

Citronella is a popular plant known for its lemony fragrance and insect-repelling properties. The plant belongs to the Cymbopogon genus and is native to tropical Asia. In this article, we will discuss the roots and stems of the citronella plant in detail.

Citronella Plant Roots

The root system of the citronella plant is fibrous and shallow. The roots grow horizontally rather than vertically, which makes them suitable for container planting. The roots are also relatively thin and delicate, which means they can be easily damaged by overwatering or compacted soil.

It is essential to ensure that the soil in which the citronella plant is grown is well-draining to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot. Additionally, adding perlite or sand to the soil can help improve drainage.

Citronella plants can also benefit from occasional fertilization, especially during the growing season. However, it is essential to avoid over-fertilizing as this can damage the delicate roots.

Citronella Plant Stems

The stems of the citronella plant are thin and tall, growing up to five feet tall in optimal conditions. The stems are also characterized by their purple coloration towards the base. The leaves of the citronella plant grow directly from the stem and are long and slender.

The stems of the citronella plant also contain essential oils that are responsible for its insect-repelling properties. These oils are most abundant in the lower part of the stem, which is why it is recommended to crush or bruise the lower part of the stem when using citronella as an insect repellent.

How to Grow Citronella Plants

Growing citronella plants is relatively easy, given that they require minimal maintenance. Here are some tips on how to grow citronella plants:

  • Plant the citronella plant in well-draining soil
  • Water the plant regularly, but avoid overwatering
  • Ensure that the plant receives ample sunlight, preferably six hours or more
  • Fertilize the plant occasionally during the growing season
  • Prune the plant to remove dead stems and leaves

Common Questions About Citronella Plant Roots and Stems

Can I grow citronella plants indoors?

Yes, citronella plants can be grown indoors, provided they receive adequate sunlight. The plant can be placed near a window that receives at least six hours of sunlight daily.

How often should I water my citronella plant?

Citronella plants should be watered regularly to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. It is recommended to water the plant once or twice a week, depending on the surrounding temperature and humidity.

How do I propagate citronella plants?

Citronella plants can be propagated through stem cuttings or division. To propagate through stem cuttings, take a four-inch section of a healthy stem and place it in a pot filled with well-draining soil. Keep the soil moist and provide ample sunlight until the cutting roots and begins to grow.

To propagate through division, dig up the plant and separate the root ball into two or more sections. Replant each section in a pot filled with well-draining soil and water regularly.


The roots and stems of the citronella plant are essential components that contribute to its growth and insect-repelling properties. By understanding these components, you can grow healthy citronella plants that will help keep insects at bay. Remember to provide adequate water, sunlight, and fertilizer while also ensuring that the soil is well-draining. With these tips, you can enjoy a thriving citronella plant in your home or garden.