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Why Your Citronella Plant Is Growing Sideways

Updated: July 17, 2022

Citronella plants are widely known for their insect-repelling properties and delightful lemon scent. However, some gardeners may notice that their citronella plant is growing sideways instead of upright. This can be frustrating, especially if you’re trying to keep your garden organized and aesthetically pleasing. In this article, we’ll explore the reasons why your citronella plant is growing sideways and what you can do to fix it.

Lack of Sunlight

One of the most common reasons for sideways growth in citronella plants is insufficient sunlight exposure. Citronella plants need at least six hours of direct sunlight every day to grow correctly. If your plant isn’t getting enough sunlight, it may start to lean or grow sideways towards the light source.

To fix this issue, place your citronella plant in a spot where it can get more sunlight. You may also want to consider pruning nearby trees or bushes that could be blocking the sun’s rays.

Improper Watering

Another potential cause of sideways growth in citronella plants is improper watering. Overwatered plants tend to develop weak root systems and may become top-heavy, which can lead to a lopsided appearance. On the other hand, underwatered plants may also lean towards the light source in an attempt to get more water.

To prevent overwatering or underwatering, make sure you’re watering your citronella plant according to its needs. Citronella plants prefer well-draining soil that doesn’t retain too much water. Water your plant when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch.

Pests and Diseases

Pests and diseases can also affect the growth of your citronella plant, leading to sideways growth or other abnormalities. Common pests that attack citronella plants include aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies. These pests can cause stunted growth, yellowing leaves, and distorted foliage.

Diseases such as root rot or powdery mildew can also harm your citronella plant and cause it to grow sideways. If you suspect that your plant has a pest or disease problem, treat it promptly to prevent further damage.

Pot Size

Finally, the pot size of your citronella plant can also impact its growth pattern. If your plant is growing sideways, it may be because the pot is too small to support its size. Over time, the roots of a plant can outgrow the pot, causing the plant to become unstable and lean to one side.

To fix this issue, consider repotting your citronella plant into a larger container. Make sure the new pot has adequate drainage holes to prevent waterlogging and root rot.

In conclusion, several factors can cause sideways growth in citronella plants. Lack of sunlight, improper watering, pests and diseases, and pot size can all play a role in how your plant grows. By identifying and addressing these issues, you can help your citronella plant grow upright and healthy.


1. Can citronella plants grow indoors?

Yes, citronella plants can grow indoors as long as they’re placed in a location with sufficient sunlight exposure.

2. How often should I water my citronella plant?

Water your citronella plant when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Avoid overwatering as this can lead to root rot.

3. Can I use citronella plants as mosquito repellent?

Citronella plants contain oils that are believed to repel mosquitoes. However, they may not be as effective as other mosquito repellents such as DEET or picaridin.