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Cymbopogon Nardus Plant Guide: How to Grow the Mosquito Plant

Cymbopogon Nardus is an aromatic and easy-to-care-for plant that spruce any indoor garden. Because of its unique feel and appearance, this houseplant is popular among plant collectors.

In this post, we’re sharing essential tips and tricks you’ll need to know to raise a Cymbopogon Nardus successfully!

If you want to buy one, we have a few reasonable options for you to explore. Continue reading to discover more about Cymbopogon’s exciting attributes.

What Is Cymbopogon Nardus?

The Cymbopogon Nardus is a perennial from the Poaceae family classified under Cymbopogon. It has beautiful green leaves in the shape of a lanceolate.

Mosquito Grass is a common name for this plant, as well as Ceylon Citronella and C. Nardus. It’s typically known for its mosquito-repelling properties, making it a popular houseplant.

Citronella Grass is a significant source of commercial Citronella oil. In high demand for its mosquito repelling properties, a labor-intensive process is done to extract the potent citronella oil. However, if you’re growing it indoors, you can simply crush some of its leaves to release the lemon scent mosquitoes hate. You can also rub crushed leaves directly on your skin, but test it first to avoid an allergic skin reaction or irritation.

This fascinating plant has a lot of herbal uses and health benefits, like the following:

  • Fever reducer
  • Muscle relaxer or antispasmodic
  • Migraine and tension relief
  • Anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fungal
  • Essential oil is often used in different cleaning products
  • Citronella candles

Citronella Grass vs. Citronella Plant

These two plants are often mistaken for each other, but they are actually different plants and not anywhere related. The only similarity they have is the distinctive lemony scent. Citronella Plants might fend off mosquitoes for a short while. But if you want a plant, or at least the oil derived from it that repels swathes of mosquitoes, then choose the Citronella Grass. 

The Cymbopogon Nardus would grow and thrive well in certain climates, preferably in USDA zones 10-12. It can thrive in warm climates if you give it plenty of water and sunshine.

Origin And Family

This perennial grass belongs to the Cymbopogon genus in the Poaceae family. Natively, it’s from the tropical regions of Southeast Asia and other tropical Asian countries.

Where To Buy

Are you planning to buy a Mosquito plant but unsure where to order one? Based on our experience, Etsy gives the assurance of purchasing from reputable sellers who grow the plants themselves. They’ll know the ideal conditions for packing and shipping the plants, and most of the time, they’ll be able to answer your inquiries regarding plant care.

At very affordable prices, the Cymbopogon Nardus is usually available for $15 to $25.

Cymbopogon Nardus Plant Size

The Cymbopogon Nardus, as a houseplant, reaches a height of up to 6 feet and a width of up to 4 feet. It typically grows fast and is best kept near an east or west-facing window for optimum plant development.

Cymbopogon Nardus Care Needs

Your Cymbopogon Nardus, with mosquito-repelling properties, will flourish if you take good care of it. This plant loves humidity and moist soil throughout the year.

Water your Cymbopogon When the top few inches feel dry. Make sure to give it a complete drench while ensuring water is running down the bottom of the pot. For lighting, bright indirect light is best for this plant.

Check out the more specific growing tips we’ve written below to keep your Cymbopogon Nardus healthy and happy!

Care Difficulty

In terms of care difficulty, the Ceylon Citronella is typically easy-to-care-for. The primary growing considerations are the well-draining soil and the amount of light this plant has.

Growth Rate

The C. Nardus grows to a mature height of up to 6 feet as a houseplant. You will typically notice faster and bushier growth in its growing season, early summer and fall.

The majority of Cymbopogon species, including the Citronella, grow at a fast rate.


We recommend using a large pot in terms of potting container size. Most materials, including plastic, terracotta, or clay, will work perfectly.

Mosquito Grass is susceptible to root rot. Ensure that there are enough drainage holes in its pot.


Cymbopogon Nardus typically needs to be repotted once a year or when it doubles in size. When this happens, remove the plant carefully from its container while taking precautions not to damage the main root ball. The plant can then be moved to a bigger pot. When planted on the same substrate as before, the roots will adapt more quickly.


“Cymbopogon Nardus grows well when grown in a loamy, well-drained soil. If you want to make your own, start by adding clay, sand, or silt instead of purchasing a medium. This plant likes its soil to stay moist.

Furthermore, appropriate drainage is essential to avoid fungal illnesses, root rot, and other problems.

These are some recommended soil options:


It is best for your soil to be between 5.8-6.0 (or acidic) in terms of pH. There isn’t much to be concerned about using loamy soil. This medium’s pH level is usually within the ideal range.

If you are concerned that the pH is excessively high for your C. Nardus, you can lower it with additives that contain sulfur or aluminum sulfate.

If the pH is inadequate, you can raise it using calcitic lime, dolomitic lime, wood ash, or baking soda.

You can measure the soil’s pH to see if you need to adjust your growing medium.


The frequency of watering will vary based on the temperature and humidity of your plant’s surroundings. Generally speaking, your Mosquito Grass prefers a moist growing medium.

Avoid overwatering your Mosquito Grass. When the top few inches feel dry, it’s time to give your plant a drink. Water the soil directly and be careful not to wet the foliage so you can avoid fungal diseases.

Let the water flow through the drainage hole. Remember to discharge water from the collection tray if your plant is sitting in one.


This houseplant likes bright indirect light or partial shade for approximately 6-8 hours daily. Its leaves will be burned if exposed to too much light and may get laggy if it does not get enough.

If you’re worried that your Cymbopogon Nardus isn’t getting enough light, consider moving it closer to a window or utilizing artificial lighting. Here are some basic ideas to consider:

Avoid putting your Cymbopogon Nardus in direct sunlight, as this could severely damage or even kill it.


Plants, similarly to people, need more food when they are actively growing because they are using up a lot of their energy. This growth spurt usually happens from summer to fall for the Ceylon Citronella. Once a year, you can use a slow-release fertilizer at this period.

In the winter months, when plants’ roots normally fall dormant in the cold, fertilizing is not necessary. This implies they won’t require any more food for growth.

Avoid supplying fertilizers to your Mosquito Grass, as it may severely damage or even kill it.

Propagating Cymbopogon Nardus

There are different ways to propagate a Cymbopogon Nardus. For a higher rate of success, follow the steps we’ve laid out below for each unique method. 


Division is a method of propagation that is commonly employed for plants with pups sprouting from the roots.

You can split your C  Nardus stem clusters Nardus by taking the following steps:

1. Dig up. Remove the plant from its container. The natural divisions of the plant should be prominent.

2. Separate. Gently separate the sections with your fingertips. To cut any entangled roots, you may need to use shears.

3. Repot. Plant each part in fresh pots with the same soil they’ve used.

Humidity And Aeration

This Cymbopogon is a popular plant that prefers high humidity between 40%-70%.

You may consider getting a humidifier if your Cymbopogon Nardus has curling or crispy leaves with brown edges. This device is designed to release steam constantly and significantly raise the humidity in a room.


Your C. Nardus will prosper in a cool-to-temperate area, so keep the temperature between 30-90 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Like most Cymbopogon plants, this aromatic houseplant will thrive in consistent temperatures throughout the year. When watering your plant, avoid using hot or cold water. Keep it distant from heat sources (such as furnaces and vents) and cold (such as open windows during the winter).


Although a rare phenomenon in an indoor environment, you might be able to witness your Mosquito Grass bloom in light brown or pink flowers. Outdoors, this plant blooms from summer to fall.


Be on guard if you have small children or animals. The Ceylon Citronella is dangerous to pets, such as cats, dogs, and people. If consumed, the following symptoms are to be expected: vomiting, muscle weakness, loss of muscle coordination, and hypothermia. In most cases, this plant is considered non-life-threatening.


Pests, Diseases, And Other Problems

The Cymbopogon Nardus is a disease and pest-resistant plant. Here are some common diseases, problems, and pests, along with the ways to treat them.

Fungus Gnats

Small insects that feed on organic materials in soil and other growth mediums are referred to as fungus gnats. Their larvae consume soil fungi, organic materials, and roots, which would be harmful to Mosquito Grass.

If you notice these grayish-black bugs, you should reduce your watering schedule (enough to damage the plant, but enough to prevent adult gnats from laying eggs by allowing the topsoil to dry between waterings).

Fungus gnat larvae are killed by hydrogen peroxide on contact. Spray your topsoil with a solution of four parts water and one part hydrogen peroxide.

Brown Leaf Tips

If your Mosquito Grass isn’t getting enough moisture from the air and from its roots, the edges of its leaves may turn brown. Ensure that you water your plant on time and that the humidity level in its area is appropriate for its needs.

You should also think about the amount and frequency with which you apply fertilizer. Overfeeding can burn the foliage of houseplants, resulting in browning tips on their leaves.

Drooping Leaves

The leaves of your Cymbopogon Nardus may begin to droop if it fails to receive a sufficient amount of moisture and light. Check out our Water and Light sections above to learn about the best ways to care for your plant.

Low humidity is another cause of drooping leaves, so check the humidity levels in your area and make sure they meet your plant’s necessities.

Yellow Leaves

Several conditions might induce the yellowing of Ceylon Citronella leaves. One plausible cause is that it does not receive enough sunlight. It is also possible that the plant is watered too much or too little.

Yellow leaves should be plucked to foster new growth and prevent degradation from spreading. Furthermore, they might be unappealing and distressing to look at. Simply cut the leaves off using a clean, sharp pair of shears.

Root Rot

Root rot is a common killer of C. Nardus. The rotting begins at the roots and spreads fast to the stem and leaves. Remember to water just when the top few inches feel dry.

Another cause of root rot is inefficient drainage in the soil. This aromatic plant requires loamy soil that stays moist.

Other ways to avoid root rot include piercing holes in the bottom of your pot, using high-porosity materials like terracotta and unglazed ceramic planters, and spacing your watering schedules further apart.

Similar Plants

Love Mosquito Grass? Here are some other similar natural mosquito repellents:

Lemon Grass (Cymbopogon Citratus) – Like Citronella, Lemongrass plants have a lemony smell similar to the Citronella scent and repellent properties that can effectively drive away mosquitoes. Lemongrass oil can also be extracted, but it’s not as effective as true Citronella plants. They also look very similar, but the main difference is their pseudostems; Lemongrass is all green while Citronella has reddish undertones.

Citronella Geranium (Pelargonium Citrosum) – The foliage of this plant has a refreshing lemon scent that is very similar to the Citronella Grass plant. You can also smear the crushed leaves of this plant on your skin as it’s also a natural insect repellent plant. However, we recommend testing on bare skin first and watching out for an allergic reaction.

If you want more natural insect repellents, check out our list of 37 Plants that Deter Mosquitoes:.


With mosquito-repelling properties, Cymbopogon Nardus is a fascinating plant for your home. If you provide it with proper care, you’ll be able to grow this plant with ease.

Do you have a Cymbopogon Nardus? We want to see it! Please send pictures to [email protected], and we might share them on our blog.

Help us grow! This post contains affiliate links, which means we receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something recommended. All opinions, however, are our own, and we do not accept payments for positive reviews.

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