Plant of the month of August is the Citronella (cymbopogom citratus) par excellence. Its strong lemon fragrance can be used to keep away flies and mosquitoes; something much needed at this time of year.

The word Citronella describes the tropical tree and fragrant grass, as well as the oil that is extracted from the grass. Citronella Oil is very popular around the world as an ‘all natural’ mosquito and tick repellant and a number of sprays, candles, and other products feature it prominently.

The Citronella, also known as lemon grass, is well known for its great medicinal properties as well as for use in the kitchen, as it is highly digestible. Citronella can help with various complaints as it is antispasmodic, carminative, febrifuge, analgesic, antiseptic, astringent, antibacterial, antifungal and can be used as an antidepressant, sedative or tonic.

Citronella can be found as a potted plant during the summer months and it seeds all year. The time to plant it out is in late spring. The seeds can be planted in very well drained soil in both the ground and pots.

Organic manure is recommended and it should also be fumigated whenever you can and can be grown with plants that we use in the kitchen. Citronella does not usually want a lot of water and always try to check the soil before watering, hence the importance of good drainage where it is planted.

By Jardineria El Milagro