NOTE: Citronella grass may be referred to as Cymbopogon nardus in this article, in fact, those are the same plants, Cymbopogon nardus is the botanical name for Citronella grass.
The citronella grass, Cymbopogon nardis, is a native grass of Sri Lanka and is a major source for the essential oil citronella. A labor intensive process called steam distillation is used to extract this potent oil that is in demand for its mosquito repelling properties. You don’t have to distill it to reap the benefits.
If you live in USDA growing zones 9 or 10, you can grow citronella grass in your own back yard. If you have a cooler climate, grow this grass as an annual or in a pot that you can bring indoors.
Why does my Cymbopogon nardus roots have rot?
Root rot on your Citronella grass (Cymbopogon nardus) can be dangerous if left untreated. In order to keep your plant alive, we strongly suggest that you follow our advice if the signs start to show: blackened and mushy roots.
Why does my Citronella grass have gray mold spots?
Gray mold spots are a specific fungus that regularly harms flowers and spreads swiftly. If you notice any brown (or gray) spots, this fungus is probably to cause. You risk your plant dying if you ignore these warning indications.
The solution is quite logical when you know the cause of the problem. Most of the time, it is due to overwater of the Cymbopogon nardus. We advise you to remove the infected parts of the plant, cut off the infected roots and leaves, then repot your plant using sterile potting soil and a clean pot.
Why does my Citronella grass have leaf spots?
If your plants exhibit symptoms like rapid color changes in the leaves or leaves that wilt or droop, we give you all the information you need to recognize them and rescue your plants. For owners of Citronella grass, this kind of illness is among the most distressing.
Why are my Citronella grass leaves turning yellow?
Yellowing leaves are arguably the most prevalent issue in the gardening world. Overwatering or a lack of nutrients are the 2 main causes of this issue.
When it’s overwatering, simply reduce your watering frequency, and if you think it’s a nutrient deficiency, here’s how to check it:
Here are some signs of yellowing caused by the many deficiencies on the Cymbopogon nardus in question:
- The first symptom of a magnesium deficiency is yellow patches between leaf veins on elder leaves. The leaf’s core turns yellow while the veins stay green. The edges of the leaf yellow last.
- Yellowing between leaf veins is another sign of iron shortage, but young leaves on plant tops and branch tips are initially affected.
- Sulfur shortage first affects the youngest leaves, turning them entirely yellow.
- Leaf edges turning bright yellow but inside leaf remaining green are signs of potassium insufficiency. The symptoms first appear on older leaves, and the leaf edges quickly become dark.
- A broad yellowing indicates a nitrogen deficiency. Yellowing starts with older, inner leaves. Yellowing spreads as it advances, eventually touching new leaves as well.
You only need to respond to the signs mentioned above. A gardening store expert will be able to provide you advice on how to purchase a specific soil to treat a potassium or nitrogen deficiency. Additionally, you can reduce how often you water your plants.
Is my Citronella grass sunburned?
It is simple to determine whether your Citronella grass (your Cymbopogon nardus) has sunburn. Your plant will change color in this instance, beginning to turn yellow or white, much like it does on us.
As we saw above, the leaves of your Citronella grass can also change color if it receives too much water or insufficient light.
The bottom of the yellow leaves with a shaded area closer to the base can be examined to determine if they have been sunburned. If this part remains greener, the yellow leaf is most likely sunburned and not something else.
Why are my Citronella grass leaves turning brown?
The classic sign that a plant has been overexposed to direct sunlight and sunburned is the development of browning leaves. Rest assured that while this may probably save your plant from dying, it will adversely affect its growth.
Should I leave my Cymbopogon nardus in direct sunlight?
No! Don’t leave your Cymbopogon nardus (or Citronella grass) in the sun if it displays the symptoms mentioned above; that’s why it’s in such a bad situation.
As explained in the paragraph above, the solution is simple, just place your Citronella grass in a place where the light does not reach it directly, in this way and with a correct watering, your plant should resume its life rather quickly.
Why are my Cymbopogon nardus leaves drooping or wilting ?
This typically occurs when your Cymbopogon nardus gets dehydrated. Large plants are more at risk since they naturally require more water than smaller plants.
An easy way to know if your Cymbopogon nardus is lacking water is to under-weigh its pot, if it looks light, it means that the soil and the roots are probably quite dry, and therefore need water!
In order to ensure that the roots of your plant receive the water’s benefits, you must first moisten the soil in the container if it is absolutely dry. One common error is to immediately drown the Citronella grass after a dry period in the belief that it requires a lot of water.
This is the case, but giving too much water at once is the best way to finish it off, you should actually water the soil normally, resuming a quiet watering rhythm.
Caring Tips for Cymbopogon nardus
Water is essential to the survival of your plant, however, it is important to balance the rate of watering. As we explained above, overwatering could have fatal consequences for your Cymbopogon nardus.
You can tell if your plant needs water by touching the soil; if it still feels damp, it’s usually preferable to wait a few more days.
Always keep temperatures stable
It is also a good idea to keep your Cymbopogon nardus at a stable temperature (especially if it is kept indoors!). At GreenShack, we generally recommend staying in the 65 and 85 degrees F range. Of course, do not place your Cymbopogon nardus near a source of hot (or cold) air such as A/C units, radiators or the like.
Keep your Citronella grass Dust-Free
This one concerns indoor plants, just like on your furniture, dust is also deposited on the leaves of your indoor plants, the problem is that it can prevent them from receiving the necessary light, this would slow down (or even stop) the photosynthesis process, and eventually, they would lose their colors.
This would be a true journey into hell for your Citronella grass and would also satisfy the pests.
To remove the dust, gently rub the plant’s leaves with a microfiber cloth. Dust can be removed more easily with a damp cloth, but stay away from corrosive substances like rubbing alcohol!
Keep drainage in mind
If you have a tendency to overwater, you need to keep an eye on your drainage, we advise you to opt for a pot with drainage holes if it is not already the case and a saucer.
In the meantime, if you don’t have holes in your pots, you can add volcanic rocks (or any rocks with holes) at the bottom of your pot, this way it will create a channel so that the water doesn’t stay in your skin too much (to avoid that roots start to rot!)