Are Lemon Grass and Citronella the same plant?

Discussion in 'Herb Gardening' started by Pricklypear, May 13, 2011.

  1. Pricklypear

    Pricklypear Seedling

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2009
    Messages:
    241
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Southern Arizona
    I've got lemon grass on my wish list for next year.
    I read an ad that said, "Grow your own mosquito repellent. Lemon grass contains citronella."

    What? Now I'm confused.
     



    Advertisement
  2. HerbGod15

    HerbGod15 New Seed

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Springfield, OR
    A lot of plants contain the compound citronella. Lemon grass and Lemon balm have it.
     
  3. carolyn

    carolyn Strong Ash

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2011
    Messages:
    6,545
    Likes Received:
    1,423
    Lemon Grass is an herb plant that grows 3-6 foot tall, is dark green and clumping, it has a strong lemony scent. The blades can be used for teas and various dishes. I think its zone 10 or treated as an annual.
    "Citronella" is a pelargonium species, which means it is in the geranium family, it looks like a geranium, but it does not have the pretty flowers geraniums are known for. The leaves are slightly "rufflier" than regular geraniums and when you rub the leaf it smells like citronella, otherwise it just looks like a geranium. This is zone 9, but can be kept as a houseplant and put back out in the summer.
    Lemon balm is in the mint family. This is a perennial.
    For mosquito repellent you would have to grow a lot of the citronella to have any effect. The plant is not really big or necessarily a fast grower. Lemon balm can be invasive but that means you can grow it easily and use as much as you want, you can wear it or make a tea out of it.
    Does this help clear up the confusion?
     
  4. weeds n seeds

    weeds n seeds Seedling

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2007
    Messages:
    141
    Likes Received:
    23
    Location:
    Casper, Wyoming
    I've had a true citronella pelargonium for the last 10 years, cut it back each fall, winter it over inside. When summer comes, out it goes, it's leaves to be used as a mosquito repellant. I just macerate a few between my hands, then rub all exposed parts of body with them to keep the nasty things away..and it works time and time again! I've also put fresh leaves on windowsills (despite screens) to halt mosquitos from entering house that way: even when the leaves dry, they are still effective due to highly volital oils they contain. I, years ago, "stumbled" on this to repel FIRE ANTS: place a good number of citronella pelargonium leaves in a bottle of cider vinegar; place the bottle in FULL SUN for a few weeks to "brew"; rub the liquid on areas where fire ants attack exposed skin..they will NOT come near you (this can also be used on acquired bites: the vinegar..any vinegar..acts as a neutralizer). Don't worry about smelling like an Italian salad from use, the cider vinegar..as it dries..emits a delightful apple smell! The leaves, being in the vinegar, are preserved and the mixture's good for several years.
     
  5. HerbGod15

    HerbGod15 New Seed

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Springfield, OR
    Lemon grass is in the species of Cymbopogon plants.
     
    Pricklypear likes this.
  6. GMB27

    GMB27 Seedling

    Joined:
    May 15, 2011
    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Devon
    Any plant containing the compound will work well. Lemon grass is a favorite of mine though!
     
    Pricklypear likes this.
  7. Pricklypear

    Pricklypear Seedling

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2009
    Messages:
    241
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Southern Arizona
    Thank you everyone. I now understand that lemon grass and citronella are not the same plant.

    I'm interested in planting lemon grass as one of my "tea" herbs.

    Weeds and Seeds, Fire ants love my neighborhood. If the dang things stay far from my garden and home, I leave them be. Haven't had them in forbidden territory in a couple of years. I poured boiling vinegar water down their hills. I guess the water doesn't have to be actually boiling because water run through the coffee maker does just fine. But it takes three to five pours over a couple of days to kill one hill.
     
  8. Karrma

    Karrma In Flower

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2011
    Messages:
    264
    Likes Received:
    77
    Location:
    Western Washington State
    citrolnella

    Great question. Lots of answers. If you are talking about the essential oil, citronella oil, that is used as a herbal mosquito repellent in candles, it is derived from the lemongrass family.
    I looked up the pelagorum and it is one of the scented geraniums, which can be used as a herb, and sounds like a mosquito repellent also (not related to the large flowered geraniums). They have rose, apricot, chocolate, mint and lemon scented geraniums now. Years ago I bought a "mosquito plant" that is Verbena Officinalis, or Blue Vervain, common Hyssop, used in herbal medicines.
     
    Pricklypear likes this.