The Q&A Archives: Citronella

Question: I have brought in my "mosquito" plant for the winter. The leaves are beginning to yellow and dry up. I would like to keep this plant going. What can I do to keep it green and to stop the leaves from yellowing and falling off?

Answer: Most of the citronella/mosquito plants are some form of scented geranium and can be handled similarly during the winter. Yours may be yellowing for a variety of reasons. The most common include shock at being moved abruptly, resenting lower light levels and either overwatering or underwatering or an insect problem. Ideally, here is what you would do: once the weather begins to cool
move it gradually into a shadier location over a period of
weeks to acclimate it to the reduced light level indoors.
Check it for insects, too, before you bring it inside. Reduce
watering and fertilizing as the plant slows down with the
season, then increase again next spring as the plant begins to
grow more. It should winter well on a sunny windowsill. If it
becomes very leggy over the winter, simply trim it back next
spring when you begin the acclimation process in reverse.
Move it gradually back into the sunlight to avoid
"sunburning" it. Alternatively, to conserve space in future years you could
root cuttings from the large plant and overwinter them

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