For the past several years I have known the Citronella plant (aka Pelargonium citrosum, citrosa geranium, mosquito plant) to be a mosquito fighting plant. Nurseries and gardeners alike rave about the plants mosquito fighting qualities. However, the American Botanical Council did a study and reported that it has some of the essential oils to fight mosquitos, but that is about it.
This study has not stopped people from believing. Some don’t care because they love the fresh scent it puts off and others hold their ground that it truly does battle mosquitos. It is said that when you rub the leaves the scent and oils the plant puts off is what deters the mosquitos. I have to say that it is odd that a plant would be named the mosquito plant if it did not truly have some power against mosquitos. I will continue giving mine a shot.
This plant can be planted in the ground or in a pot. I keep mine in a pot so that I can move it wherever we are in the yard. It does freeze in winters; however, with good mulching it can survive a winter or if in a pot bring it indoors.
This plant likes full sun, it needs well draining soil and to dry out between watering. The foliage is green and blooms lavender/violet flowers in the summer and fall. It is an easy plant, but like any geranium can easily fall victim to over watering. Please note that this plant can be poisonous to cats and is said to be deer tolerant.
Stay tuned for more on Mosquito fighting plants. Here is a picture of a citronella planted a week ago and when in bloom what the blooms look like.