Understanding Citronella and its Watering Needs

Citronella is a fragrant plant known for its lemony scent, which is often used in various perfumes and fragrances. It belongs to the Cymbopogon family and is native to tropical regions. If you have citronella plants in your garden or indoors, proper watering is essential to ensure their health and fragrance. In this article, we will explore how often you should water citronella plants to maintain their optimal growth and fragrance.

The Watering Requirements of Citronella Plants

When it comes to watering citronella plants, it’s important to strike a balance. Overwatering can lead to root rot and other fungal diseases, while underwatering can cause the plant to dry out and lose its fragrance. Citronella plants prefer moist soil but do not like standing water. It’s important to provide them with the right amount of water to promote healthy growth and maintain their delightful fragrance.
As a general rule, citronella plants should be watered when the top inch of soil feels dry. However, it’s important to consider environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, and the type of soil in which the plant is growing. These factors can affect the watering frequency and overall moisture needs of your citronella plant.

Determining the watering schedule

The frequency of watering your citronella plant will depend on several factors, including the climate in which you live. In areas with high temperatures and low humidity, you may need to water your plant more frequently. On the other hand, in cooler or more humid climates, you may need to water less frequently.

During the summer months, when temperatures are higher, citronella plants generally require more water. The goal is to keep the soil moist, but not soggy. It’s best to water deeply so that the water reaches the root zone. This will encourage the roots to grow deeper, resulting in a stronger and healthier plant.

Watering Techniques for Citronella Plants

When watering your Citronella plant, it’s best to use a watering can or a soft hose attachment to ensure a controlled flow of water. This will prevent overwatering and allow the water to penetrate the soil effectively. Avoid using a high-pressure hose or sprinkler system, which can disturb the soil and cause soil erosion.

It’s also important to water the base of the plant, not the foliage. Wet foliage can make the plant more susceptible to disease and pests. Directing water to the root zone ensures that the plant receives adequate moisture where it needs it most.

Signs of Inadequate Watering and Overwatering

To determine if your citronella plant is receiving the proper amount of water, it’s important to observe its condition and look for signs of underwatering or overwatering.

Underwatering can cause the leaves of the citronella plant to wilt, turn yellow, or become dry and brittle. The soil may also appear extremely dry and the plant may show overall stunted growth. In such cases, increase the frequency of watering and monitor the plant’s response.
Overwatering can cause root rot, which is characterized by a foul odor and mushy roots. The leaves may turn yellow or brown, and the plant may appear droopy or waterlogged. If you notice these signs, reduce watering frequency and make sure the soil is properly drained to prevent waterlogging.


Proper watering is critical to maintaining the health and fragrance of your citronella plants. By understanding their watering needs and providing the appropriate care, you can enjoy the delightful lemony scent and lush growth of these beautiful plants. Remember to strike a balance, water deeply, and monitor your plant’s response to ensure it thrives in its environment. With proper watering techniques, your Citronella plants can bring a refreshing fragrance to your garden or indoor space.


How often do you water citronella?

Citronella plants generally require regular watering to thrive. It is recommended to water citronella plants once or twice a week, providing enough water to keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged.

What is the best time of day to water citronella?

The best time to water citronella is in the morning. Watering in the morning allows the plant to absorb the moisture before the heat of the day, reducing the risk of evaporation and providing ample time for the foliage to dry before nighttime, which can help prevent fungal diseases.

How can I tell if my citronella plant needs watering?

You can check the moisture level of the soil by inserting your finger about an inch deep into the soil. If it feels dry at that depth, it’s time to water your citronella plant. Additionally, drooping or wilting leaves can be an indication that the plant needs watering.

Should I mist my citronella plant?

Misting can be beneficial for citronella plants, as they appreciate high humidity. However, misting alone is not sufficient to meet their watering needs. It is still important to water the soil thoroughly, ensuring that the roots receive adequate moisture.

Can overwatering harm citronella plants?

Yes, overwatering can harm citronella plants. These plants prefer moist soil but are susceptible to root rot if they are consistently sitting in waterlogged conditions. It is important to strike a balance and avoid overwatering by allowing the soil to partially dry out between waterings.