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  • What You Need to Know About Citronella During Mosquito Season

    I heard the first mosquito of the year buzzing around my head earlier this week, so I think it’s time I told you about Citronella essential oil.

    Bottle of citronella essential oil with leaf

    A Little About Citronella

    Citronella essential oil is distilled from a grass that’s grown in Asia, Africa, and South America.  It’s Latin name is Cymbopogon nardus and it’s related to Lemongrass whose genus is also Cymbopogon.

    You’re probably familiar with citronella from the yard candles that are sold to keep away mosquitos.

    What’s Citronella Good For

    While it’s best known for its mosquito repellant qualities, there are two things to keep in mind.

    1. Other essential oils are actually better at repelling a wider range of insects such as Lemon Tea Tree, Lemon Eucalyptus, and Cedarwood.
    2. Citronella helps with so much more than repelling mosquitos, such as:
      1. Arthritic pain
      2. Excessive persperation
      3. Fatigue
      4. Heat rash
      5. Insect bites
      6. Musular pain
      7. Oily skin

    Blending Citronella

    The following oils blend nicely with Citronella:

    • Bergamot
    • Cajeput
    • Eucalyptus
    • Geranium
    • Lavender
    • Neroli
    • Peppermint
    • Petitgrain
    • Sage
    • Ylang Ylang


    There are no major precautions when using Citronella essential oil. Occasional sensitization occurs, so if you have a tendency to be sensitive to oils, make sure to dilute it to no more than 15% (10 drops/ounce) before using it.

    Citronella Trivia

    The citronella plant sold in most garden centers is usually the leafy Pelargonium citronellum NOT the grass (Cymbopogon nardus) they get the essential oil from. Although the blades of the citronella are often called leaf-blades, they are not leaves in the traditional sense; they’re blades of grass.

    Garden center citronella (Pelargonium citronellum) is more closely related to the plant used for geranium essential oil (Pelargonium graveolens) than it is to the grass used for Citronella essential oil (Cymbopogon nardus).

    This is why knowing the latin names of the plants used for the essential oils you buy is vital.