When temperatures rise and that time arrives, it is so pleasant to spend time outdoors, they also arrive in many coastal or humid areas, which are, for many, the main inconvenience of summer, one of the few animals for which virtually no one has any sympathy: mosquitoes.
But as always, our friends the plants have a lot to offer us, also when it comes to scaring away these annoying biting insects. This time we are not going to talk about the well-known citronella, but about another plant that, with some very pretty flowers, is also capable of fulfilling its anti-mosquito function: the lemon geranium. if you want to learn how to care for mosquito geraniumjoin us in this EcologíaVerde article.
Characteristics of the anti-mosquito geranium
Its scientific name is Pelargonium Citrodorumalthough it is known more anti-mosquito geranium, lemon geranium or citronella geranium. These are its main characteristics:
- It is a herbaceous evergreen plant, which rarely exceeds half a meter in height, with a similar width.
- Its leaves are green and of a certain thickness, highly appreciated aesthetically, and when they are cut they give off a strong scent reminiscent of lemon citrus or citronella, which is why it is also a powerful mosquito repellent.
- But if the leaves of the citronella geranium are beautiful, even more so are its flowers, with five petals and which grow in small groups, with shades ranging from pink to violet and with a darker and more marked coloration in the center of its petals. , which forms striking drawings.
- And when does the mosquito geranium bloom? Its first flowers generally begin to appear at the end of winter, and flowering can last until late summer, although as always, it will depend on the specific temperatures and climate. In cooler areas it can take longer to flower and prolong its flowering beyond the beginning of summer, while in warmer areas everything will be a few weeks earlier.
If you like these plants, here you can discover many types of geraniums.
Location and climate for mosquito geranium
The citronella geranium is quite easy to grow and their care is not excessively demanding in any aspect. As far as its location is concerned, this plant requires a well lit and sunny place, although in very hot climates it will be preferable to protect it from direct sunlight, especially in summer, which can be too much for the plant. If you grow your lemon geranium outdoors, look for a semi-shade areasheltered from the incidence of the sun in the midday hours, and if you grow it indoors, look for a well lit room, near a window but out of direct sunlight and carefully to avoid the magnifying glass effect. If you take the plant outside for a while when it’s not too cold, early in the morning or late in the afternoon, it will surely appreciate it.
It is convenient for the plant to be in a well-ventilated area and as far as temperature is concerned, it does not tolerate frost for a long time. If temperatures drop below 0°C for more than one night, you will need to bring your geranium indoors or protect it with a thermal blanket.
Irrigation of the anti-mosquito geranium
Needs to little water and does not tolerate excess humidity, so you have to avoid wetting its leaves when watering it, or spraying them. The most common is to water it approximately every three days in the warm months, and weekly or fortnightly in the cold months, when the soil has dried out and always without flooding. Of course, young plants will need a little more watering for a while. It is very important that if it is in a pot, it has drainage holes and that you do not let water accumulate below, in the plate.
We recommend you read this other article about When to water plants and in case you leave home for a few days, don’t worry, here we tell you How to water plants on vacation.
Substrate and fertilizer for the anti-mosquito geranium
The only important thing with the land of this plant is that it offers the best possible drainage, since it does not tolerate environments with excessive humidity or waterlogging. The universal mix with coconut fiber, earthworm humus and peat in equal parts it will work perfectly. As we always recommend, you can add vermiculite and perlite to improve water retention properties. In the warm months, the plant will appreciate a monthly contribution of fertilizer or organic matter to help it with its flowering.
Before transplanting your citronella or lemon geranium, since if you have bought them and it has the nursery pot, it needs the transplant and a substrate like the one we have indicated, we recommend you read this other article on How to plant geraniums.
Anti-mosquito geranium pruning
Among late winter and early springbefore flowering begins, it is convenient to practice a lemon geranium pruning shortening its stems to stimulate the growth of new shoots. Dried flowers and parts in poor condition should always be removed immediately.
In this link you will see a guide on when and how to prune geraniums.
How to reproduce the mosquito geranium
Regarding multiplication, the simplest thing is to do anti-mosquito geranium cuttings. These tend to take root very easily, and can be done both in spring like in summer or fall. Cut stems with several growing buds or use spring pruning remnants, remove lower leaves, and immediately insert the cutting into the potting mix described above. Water abundantly for the first time and place the plant in semi-shade; in a few weeks it will have rooted.
Here you can read more about How to plant geranium cuttings for multiplication.
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