The citronella, along with geraniums, is one of the most well-known plants that are used to keep mosquitoes away in a natural way. The essential oil of lemongrass is extracted from this plant, an anti-mosquito remedy par excellence to be spread in the environment. You can grow lemongrass in the garden or in pots to place it in places in the house to be protected from mosquitoes.
It is a perennial and evergreen herbaceous plant that belongs to the Cymbopogon genus. It is native to the warm and tropical regions of South Asia. Its leaves are very long and of intense green color. They tend to fall outwards.
The smell of lemongrass leaves recalls that of lemon, a characteristic that allows it to be used in the kitchen for the preparation of sauces, soups, and herbal teas, typical of the East. Lemongrass works as an anti-mosquito plant precisely because of its scent, which is usually pleasant for us, but which is unwelcome to insects.
The varieties of lemongrass with the greatest repellent power are called Cymbopogon Nardus, Cymbopogon Citratus, or Cymbopogon winterianus. You can buy lemongrass seedlings to grow in pots or in the garden at nurseries and fairs dedicated to the vegetable garden and garden. The seeds of lemongrass are sold in garden shops and on the Internet.
Lemongrass plants to buy at the nursery are usually ready to transplant into a larger pot. Using the support with wheels facilitates the movement of the plant as needed and allows it to be sheltered more easily in winter if the climate is particularly cold. If you decide to grow lemongrass in the garden, place it in sheltered places, near bushes or ornamental plants, so that it does not suffer too much cold in winter.
Here’s how to sow lemongrass. Sow the lemongrass between March and July in a jar. Cover the seeds with a very thin layer of soil, which you must always keep moist. The following year, when the plant is strong enough, you can transfer it to the garden or to the final pot in spring.
Keep in mind that the lemongrass plant can reach a height of 1 meter and that its leaves can be up to 60-70 centimeters long. By rubbing the leaves between your fingers you can better perceive their scent. Place the lemongrass in the sun or in a partially shaded place. It adapts well to all types of terrain and even climates that are not too mild, but it fears the cold. You can report the lemongrass seedlings when they have reached a height of about 10 centimeters if you have grown them from seed. Select the 5 or 6 strongest plants to place in a single pot.
If you buy a lemongrass seedling in the nursery, transfer it to a suitable size pot with rich and well-drained soil, then place it in the sunniest area of the balcony in spring, or in the house, near a window, if it is autumn or winter. Since lemongrass is used precisely as a repellent for mosquitoes and other insects, it is not afraid of attacks by parasites.
Division of the tufts
You can multiply lemongrass not only by seed but also by division of the clumps. Divide the tufts in autumn and immediately plant the new plants. Make sure the roots are alive and keep the lemongrass sheltered, bearing in mind that below 8 ° C, the plant begins to suffer.
You will need to extract the plant from the pot and select the productive tufts with the strongest roots. You can then insert each head in a dedicated pot with rich and well-drained soil. Lemongrass requires regular and frequent watering, especially in the hottest and most vital season for the plant, from March to September. Always allow lemongrass seedlings to root well before transferring them to a larger pot or garden. When the roots of the lemongrass come out of the holes for the drainage of the water, it is certainly time for the decanting. For the division of the lemongrass heads, it is also useful to use jars filled with water to encourage rooting.
Finally, cultivate lemongrass in the best possible way, remember to eliminate the dry leaves, to prune the parts of the plant that appear weaker in autumn, to arrange the pots away from the wind and cold currents, and not to leave water stagnations in the saucers, since the roots of the plant may rot.
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