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Mosquito Plant Care – Is it Mosquito Repellant?

Mosquito Plant Care – Is it Mosquito Repellant?

Also known as the Citronella, Mosquito plant is chosen as an indoor addition for several reasons. They are most commonly known for their insect-repelling properties. A house that isn’t overrun with pesky mosquitos may be enough of a reason to add these floras to your collection.

Mosquito plants are among the family of geraniums, where one of the key identifiers tends to be aromatic leaves.

 

Mosquito Plant - Mosquito repellant

Mosquito Plant – Citronella based candle to keep mosquitos away

 

The foliage is reminiscent of lace with a light green colour. They do also bloom small flowers that are either pink or lavender in colour.

The Mosquito plant is found naturally in the tropical environments of Asia, where people first discovered its amazing and multifunctional uses.

Some of these can be used within your home! But first, you need to learn how to take care of it.

 

Mosquito Plant Insect Repellant

Mosquito Plant – Does it have insect repellant properties?

 

 

MOSQUITO PLANT CARE BASICS

Quite hardy in nature, the Mosquito plant is a great addition to your home, especially if you’re a fan of citrus aromas. You’ll need to know the basics in order to keep them healthy enough to use in your home.

 

SOIL

The Mosquito plant isn’t all too picky in terms of the soil that you choose. The main requirement is that the soil should be kept relatively moist and that it can drain properly.

If you are able, pick a potting mix that is relatively high in nutrients. Rich soil isn’t entirely needed for a healthy individual, though it should be a consideration.

If you’re curious about the different minerals found in soil, take a look at our article regarding soil nutrients.

 

Mosquito Plant belongs to the Geranium family

Mosquito Plant belongs to the Geranium family

 

LIGHT

Geraniums, in particular, are known for their love of sunlight. Without the proper exposure, the flowers will lack in vibrancy and overall appearance.

These floras ideally would like to have at least five or six hours of bright sunlight, with a steady influx of direct sunlight. Most plants would face damage with higher exposure to the sun.

The Mosquito plant, on the other hand, needs plenty of full sunlight. This may be a bit tricky for indoor specimens.

If you don’t have a spot that gets lots of bright light, consider moving the plant around to the different places in the house. As a basic need, light is extremely critical.   

 

WATERING 

Just as with sunlight, Mosquito plant plants need a good amount of water to stay happy. In fact, they prefer to have their soil kept fairly saturated.

The frequency of your watering sessions should be planned out in accordance with the other needs. If your flora is in a spot that gets plenty of full sunshine, more water may be required.

Some plants require a daily dose of HO. The typical Mosquito plant can survive with water being given every few days.

 

TEMPERATURE 

Choosing to raise your own Mosquito plant indoors is sometimes less stressful, especially when it comes to temperature.

Found naturally in Asia’s tropical areas, you can imagine that the temperature would get relatively high depending on the season.

A house sitting between the temperature of 15 and 21 degrees Celsius is ideal. These floras are relatively resistant when it comes to drought, as overly saturated conditions cause more harm. Temperatures that extend below freezing can be detrimental.

 

HUMIDITY 

With their natural habitat being a tropical forest, Mosquito plant needs to be grown in a place that does have some humidity.

Luckily, the average household does have the ideal humidity, at about 40 to 70 percent. There are ways in which you can increase the amount of moisture in the air without overwatering the root system. Adding a humidifier, or misting the leaves can be useful.

It’s also beneficial to keep in mind how much sunlight your plant is getting. Higher temperatures will often suck the moisture out of the air, thus lowering the overall humidity.

Low ranges can halt blooms, so it’s best to keep ahead of it.

 

FERTILIZER 

The occasional use of fertilizer is not a bad thing for Mosquito plant plants. Geraniums are known for needing added levels of Nitrogen in order to increase their growth production.

Whenever you choose to add fertilizer, do so in the growing season with a slow-release product. It should also be water-soluble and balanced, preferably either 5-5-5 or 10-10-10.

One teaspoon for every square foot is ideal. You can opt to limit the amount of fertilizer only once a week in the fall and winter months. 

 

PROPAGATION  

Among the several methods associated with propagation, Geranium plants are more successfully copied over through stem cuttings.

The roots are more likely to root at a quicker rate with this technique. You can also propagate Mosquito plant plants in the water, from seedlings, or through division.

If you’re still unsure of which technique that you should use, read further on for our steps on stem cuttings!

 

GROWTH

These floras are classified as a perennial grass, meaning that they don’t really grow to be all that large. It takes them about four to six weeks to reach their full size.

Mosquito plant plants, upon hitting full maturity, reach about two to three feet in height. They can also spread out with a width of four feet.

Keeping them indoors is not a problem since they will take up a small corner of your counter space.

 

POTTING

It may take a while, but Mosquito plant plants can grow to be quite leggy. When left unattended for too long, blooms will diminish. Pruning is one way that you can keep these individuals healthy. Another technique is transplanting or repotting.

This will stop the roots from growing out to be too long, thus affecting the overall health of the plant.

For Mosquito plants, you’ll need to transfer them to a different pot once every few years. Fortunately, these small perennials don’t need to be repotted due to their overall size and slow growth rate.  

 

WATERING WAYS FOR A MOSQUITO PLANT

Providing water for your Mosquito plant is not all that tricky as long as you remember that they prefer to be on the drier side of the spectrum.

This does not mean that they like to be dried out, however. They still need a fair amount of moisture in order to survive. Overall, plant enthusiasts agree that Mosquito plants like to have about 30 inches of water annually.

The general rule of thumb for finding the right schedule is to check the soil directly. Stick your finger into the top two inches of soil.

If it is dry, then you should water enough water to fully saturate the soil to the roots. On average, you can expect to water your Mosquito plant once every few days.

 

COPYING YOUR MOSQUITO PLANT

There are several methods that you can choose to propagate your Geranium, but stem cuttings are usually the most advantageous.

Choosing to copy the parent plant through division is not all that successful, the roots failing to root. Here are the steps involved in a stem cutting propagation.

 

PROPAGATION THROUGH STEM CUTTINGS

  1. Start out by finding the plant that you would like to copy, preferably one without dead foliage, and that smells quite fresh.
  2. Take clean, sharp scissors and make incisions on a stem just below the node. These cuts should be about four to six inches in length.
  3. Any leaves that are located towards the end of the stem should be carefully stripped.
  4. Place the stem cuttings with the open side down, into a pot with fresh soil.
  5. Water the new individual thoroughly and set it into a spot with bright, indirect sunlight.
  6. Check on the new individuals, watering whenever the soil feels dry. This should take about a week or two. From there, transfer it to a larger pot.

 

MOSQUITO PLANT PEST PROBLEMS

You may have heard that Mosquito plants get their name due to their repelling properties.

Although somewhat successful in that regard, they actually do not fully deter mosquitoes from invading your home. But, do these individuals have pests of their own?

As far as actually being under attack by bugs themselves, these Geraniums don’t have to worry.

They do a pretty good job of keeping beetles, squash bugs, hornworms, aphids, and whiteflies at bay. What they have to worry about most are diseases.

Leaf blight is the most deadly disease that you could find in your Mosquito plant. The best way to tackle such a problem is to use specifically designed fungicides. If you catch it early enough, it won’t take many treatments.

 

SAD MOSQUITO PLANT SIGNS

The Mosquito plant, as a whole, is relatively hardy. That, however, does not make them immune to certain problems and issues. Knowing what to look for ahead of time can save your plant from serious harm later down the road.

 

TELLTALE SIGN #1: LEAVES DROOPING

Cause: Leaves that look a bit sad and tend to droop are a clear indicator that your Geranium is experiencing soil that is dried out. 

Remedy: To fix the drooping of the plant’s foliage, attempt to alter your watering schedule. We suggest that you do this in increments, as Mosquito plant can be sensitive to too much water.

 

TELLTALE SIGN #2: YELLOW FOLIAGE

Cause: If you notice yellowing of the leaves, you should assume that your Mosquito plant is battling with overwatering.

Remedy: The best solution is to let your plant dry out, followed by an adjusted watering schedule. It might take a while to find the right routine.

 

TELLTALE SIGN #3: BLACK SPOTS

Cause: Black spots on the leaves usually occur in combination with the browning of lower leaves. These are hints that your plant is grappling with too much sun exposure. 

Remedy: Remember that these floras prefer bright, indirect sunlight. Moving your plant to a spot that gets less sun is usually a better move.

 

TELLTALE SIGN #4: CURLING LEAVES 

Cause: White spots and the curling of the leaves can be a sign that you may not be providing enough sunlight for your Mosquito plant. 

Remedy: Find a spot in your house that gets plenty of sunshine, preferably one near a large window. Even full sunlight for six to eight hours each day is perfectly fine for these individuals.

 

5 TAKEAWAYS TO A HEALTHY MOSQUITO PLANT

Although fairly resilient, Mosquito plant does have preferences. Keeping these five takeaways in mind will help keep your tropical perennial happy!

  1. Give them loads of full, direct sunlight, even from inside!
  2. Watch your watering ways, making sure that the plant is not getting too much moisture so that the roots will become waterlogged.
  3. A temperature between 15 and 21 degrees Celsius is ideal.
  4. Keep the humidity relatively high through the use of humidifiers and misters!
  5. Look out for signs of blight so that you can tackle it with fungicides early on.

 

MOSQUITO PLANT FAQ

 

Do Mosquito plants really work?

As a whole, these floras do actually work to help deter bugs from invading your home. Mosquito plant emits a smell that is unappealing for such bugs. There are, however, other plants that have a higher success rate.

 

Does Mosquito plant grow back every year?

Being a perennial, Mosquito plant does in fact come back annually. In some areas of the world, it is grown as an annual, so just be sure to do your research.

 

How do you prune a Mosquito plant?

Pruning is a great way to stop your Mosquito plant from becoming too leggy. To do so, you can pinch back the stems once they reach anywhere longer than four inches in length. You’ll want to pinch above the leaf to remove any stems. There should be at least three leaves per stem for a healthy plant.

If you’re a fan of useful plants to have around the house, keep Oregano as an option! 

 

Conclusion

Since Mosquito plant care is not easy we thought to write the above plant care article we hope you enjoyed.

What better than having plants with benefits? A plant that acts as a mosquito repellant. How cool is that? If you are living in Finland or any other country with a lot of freshwater lakes where Mosquitos can breed you definitely need to get one of these.

As with everything else, there are studies that prove that these plants actually work and others that say they have little to no effect in repelling mosquitos.

The Iowa State University is citing several experts who seem to claim that the effect might not be as big. They state in the research that only 0.09 percent citronellal is present in the plant. An amount too small to have a real effect.

If you have a Citronella plant we would love to hear from you how well it is working to hold off these pesky mosquitos!

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