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Cymbopogon nardus

Pronunciation: Sim-baw-poe-gawn nard-us
Family: Poaceae/gramineae (grass family)
Common Name: Citronella grass, nardus, nard grass, mana grass
Plant Type:
  • grasses
Height to: 5-6'
USDA Hardiness Zones:
  • 40 to 30ºF ZONE 10
  • 50 to 40ºF ZONE 11
  • 60 to 50ºF ZONE 12
Sun Exposure:
  • full sun
Bloom Description: Citronella grass is a coarse, clump-forming tropical grass that can grow 5-6 ft (1. 5-1. 8 m) tall. The stems are canelike and the leaves are grayish green, flat, about 3 ft (0. 9 m) long and 1 in (2. 5 cm) or so wide. It does not spread by runners, as some grasses do, but the clump increases in size as the plant matures.
Plant Perks:
  • Fragrant
Propagation: Propagate citronella grass by dividing the clumps. Do this before winter and keep some of the smaller clumps indoors to insure live plants come spring.
Native to: Citronella grass is native to southeast asia and grown commercially in sri lanka, india, burma, indonesia and java. It is widely naturalized in tropical asia and grown as an ornamental in south florida and southern california.
Notes for Identification: Source: floridata - plant citronella grass along a walkway or near the porch where its fragrance can be appreciated. Its graceful arching leaves and overall vertical form provide subtle opposition when planted near bushy or rounded shrubs and flowers. Citronella grass is the source of the commercial citronella oil, used in perfumery and as an insect repellent. Inexpensive soaps sold in asian markets are scented with citronella oil. Citronella oil can be mixed with other vegetable oils and used in massage or rubbed on the skin for an insect repellent. Citronella candles and incense, however, are less effective. Studies have shown that to keep mosquitoes away, you would have to burn so many candles that the smoke would be almost intolerable. The essential oils extracted from citronella grass are much used in aroma therapy. Practitioners claim it is a stimulant when inhaled or rubbed on the skin, and an antiseptic that can be used to sterilize food preparation surfaces. It is reported that citronella oil repels cats.
Seed photo: 1
Located in: Grasses
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