Steps to Grow Citronella Plants from Cuttings
The Citronella plant is known for its mosquito repellent properties. You can grow this plant indoors using small potted citronella or its cuttings. Here are some guidelines and helpful tips for growing citronella plants from cuttings.
Step 1 – Procure Cuttings
To grow a citronella plant in a container, you will need cuttings from a parent plant. Before cutting, you need to sterilize the scissors or pruners you will use. The equipment should be sharp. The blunt-cutting instrument will cause damage to the parent plant, and you will not be able to achieve a clean cut.
When getting a cutting from the parent citronella plant, remember a few things. The cutting should have a minimum of two nodes. Nodes refer to bumps on the branches and stem from where the new leaves and shoots emerge.
This is essential as one node needs to go underground while planting the cutting, and you need to have another one above the ground from where the shoots and leaves will emerge.
Step 2 – Remove Leaves
Too many leaves on the cutting can hamper the growth of the citronella plant. If the cutting has too many leaves or greenery, it will drain moisture faster, and the cutting will dry before the roots form.
According to experts, you can leave one or two small leaves in the cutting before planting them in the container. If the cutting has big leaves, you can trim them to three-fourth of their original size.
Step 3 – Apply a Rooting Agent
Rooting agents or rooting hormones are chemicals that stimulate root growth. Application of a rooting agent is an essential step in growing citronella plants from cuttings. You can buy rooting agents from the market or make one at home. They may be available in powder form.
Next, you need to moisten the plant cutting and dip the cut end in the rooting agent powder. Remove the excess rooting agent from the cut end. Here, you can also mix rooting agents in soil and water while planting the cutting in the container.
If you are familiar with using a rooting agent, you can plant the cutting in moist soil, water it regularly, and wait for the roots to grow. Experts say that a rooting agent speeds the process of growing roots in a cutting.
Step 4 – Sunlight
Just because the Citronella plant can grow well indoors does not mean you keep it in any dark corner of the house. Like any plant, citronella plants also need sunlight to grow well.
The citronella cutting needs a minimum of six hours of sunlight in a day for faster growth. You can keep the citronella plant indoors during the cold season but leave them outside during the warm season.
Step 5 – Watering the Plant
There are several benefits of growing Citronella. It is considered a drought-tolerant plant. It means the plant needs significantly less water to survive and grow. It would be helpful if you considered this factor when watering your potted citronella plant. The cutting or a mature plant does not need much water at different growth stages.
However, it would help if you watered it regularly. The top layer of the soil needs to be wet for the citronella plant to grow well. The inner layers of the soil also need to be moist for better growth.
Step 6 – Pruning
Pruning refers to cutting branches or parts of a tree/plant to give it a better shape. These plants are known to grow up to six feet tall and six feet wide. You would not want bulky citronella in your home. Hence, you need to prune it regularly to keep the plant short and bushier.
Helpful Tips to Grow Citronella Plants from Cuttings
- It would help if you procured a citronella cutting in the spring. Wait for the soil to get warm enough that will help the citronella cutting to grow well.
- Don’t mash the cutting while getting a clean cut of the citronella plant. If you accidentally mash the stem while cutting, it will staunch new growth, and the cutting may not grow well.
- If you prefer to plant more than one cutting of citronella in the container, make sure there is enough distance between both cuttings. Experts recommend a minimum distance of 21 to 25 inches between citronella cuttings.
- ● Though sunlight is essential for the citronella plant, it cannot stand harsh sunlight. You need to keep the plant indoors when there is harsh sunlight. Avoid keeping the citronella plant in direct sunlight. They grow better in a shaded area with six to eight hours of sunlight during the day.
To sum up, these are some helpful tips to grow citronella plants from a cutting. Following the tips will ensure the cutting is grown into a healthy citronella plant in a few months.