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Do Citronella Come Back Every Year? Is It Perennial?

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Citronella is a beautiful plant that can add a lot of dimension to any place you end up growing them in. However, when it comes to taking care of certain plants you might be wondering if they bloom every year or if they start to fade away once they bloom once. 

Knowing more about it will help you take better care of the plants. 

Do citronella come back every year?

It depends on the zone that you are growing your citronella in. in most zones you will see that it does come back every year as most citronellas are grown as perennials. Perennials mean that these plants will last for a very very long time as long as they are well taken care of.

Since it differs for different zones and even on the different types of citronella that you are talking about, it is important that you can differ between the different types and if they are prone to coming back every year.

Citronella Grass:

Citronella grass is a beautiful plant. It is mainly sought after because of the fresh smell that it gives off when it is grown in a garden. It is a very versatile plant that you can use for many different purposes. 

It has a similar smell to lemons which is why it is said that it is a great plant to keep mosquitos away from your space because of the acidic lemon scent.  

This plant, like any other common citronella plant, is a perennial plant. This means that citronella grass plants will indeed come back every year and it will not fade away.

Aside from that, it is also important to note that this plant will last in your space or beautiful garden for a very long time if you can manage to provide it with its ideal conditions. 

Citronella geranium:

Citronella geranium plants are also perennial plants. This means that they will also come back every year and last a while provided that you take good care of them and provide them with proper conditions. 

It is worth noting that these plants can be a bit sensitive in nature which is why keeping them in bad weather conditions will not allow them to survive and they will not be able to revive back every year. 

How long does the citronella plant last?

Most citronella plants can last you a few good years depending on how good you take care of them. In some areas or zones, citronellas are grown as perennials where they revive back every year and last you a long time if you take proper care of them. 

However, in some zones citronella plants are also grown as annuals. This mostly depends on the weather conditions. In many regions, it is too cold and plants like citronellas are quite sensitive. They cannot really survive the winter or the frost. 

This is why they are grown as annuals and taken inside during the winter season or propagated to make them last the winter. 

This requires quite a lot of work and patience therefore they do not usually last as long as citronellas that are grown as perennials in zones where the weather conditions are more ideal for them to thrive. Citronella plants grown as annuals can last a little over a year

Four reasons why citronella does not come back every year

There can be quite a few reasons that can explain why your citronella plant is not coming back every single year. 


Even though most citronella plants are grown as perennials and can last for a very long time, there are also some citronella plants that are grown as annuals. These plants are mostly grown as annuals because of the bad weather conditions. 

Citronellas usually cannot survive winter so they are grown only to complete one growing season. Citronella plants grown as annuals can last a little over a year if they are overwintered during the harsh cold season. 

Cold climates:

Even if your citronella plant is grown as a perennial, you must protect it from harsh and cold climates. If your climate tends to get a bit chilly then you must bring your plant inside for the winter season or they will not survive to come back again. 

In the case of annuals, you will need to overwinter or propagate it to make it last. 


Citronella plants are very sensitive to overwatering. Not only will they be stressed enough to attract pests and diseases if they are exposed to a lot of water, but their roots may also start rotting. 

This might hurt your plant and it might end up fading away instead of coming back every year.

Ideal conditions:

If you are not able to provide your citronella plant with ideal conditions such as proper sunlight or fertilizing it during the growing season, it will not last that long. These plants require ideal conditions to survive and come back every year. 

Is citronella perennial?

In most zones, citronella plants are grown as perennials. However, there are also some zones that are prone to harsh winter climates. In those areas, some citronella plants are actually grown as annual plants since they cannot survive the winter and tend to fade away.  

It can depend on the particular type of citronella plant, however, they are mostly grown as a perennial.  

Citronella Grass:

From zones, eleven till twelve citronella grass is mostly grown as a perennial plant. However, in the other zones present you will notice that these plants are grown as annuals because they do not handle cold climates well. 

They are overwintered or propagated during the cold season so that they can last for a while longer.  

Citronella geranium:

Citronella geraniums are perennials in most zones starting from the west and even the south. These are plants that can survive the winter conditions better so they are simply kept inside the houses until the winter season passes. 

However, some choose to grow them as annuals in places especially the north where the cold climate is too harsh. 

Can a citronella plant survive winter?

Most citronella plants will not thrive in winter conditions. In fact, they are quite sensitive to it. You will have to take certain measures so that you can help them better to survive through the winter months. 

Some citronella plants such as the geranium are tougher than others and keeping them inside will do the job. 

On the other hand, weaker plants like citronella grass will either have to be grown as annuals or you will have to closely monitor them during the winter. You can overwinter them by propagating new ones. 

How do you keep citronella plants over the winter? 

There are certain ways in which you can help your citronella plant survive better over the winter seasons. 

Keeping it indoors:

Most citronella plants are not resistant to cold temperatures so the first thing that you will have to do is bring your plant indoors when the temperature starts to drop. 

Just make sure that they are kept near a window where they will get maximum filtered sunlight. 

Propagating them:

Some citronella does not have many chances of reviving, however, you can always propagate them. Get a few cuttings from your existing plants and keep them indoors for the winter. Plant them for good results right after winter ends.

Collecting seeds:

You can also consider collecting seeds from your citronella plants. You can plant them during the winter where they will remain dormant and then harvest them again during the growing season. 

This is a good way to ensure that you will constantly have citronellas present in your garden even if your main plant is grown as an annual. 

How to care for a citronella plant in the winter?

If your citronella plant is a perennial or even an annual that tends to be tougher towards the harsh winter climates then following specific guidelines will help you take better care of them. One of such is to ensure to bring your plant indoors. 

You can carefully pot your plant right before the winter season hits and take it indoors. Once you take it indoors, you will have to ensure ideal conditions where it will thrive. This includes giving your plant proper sunlight and maintaining proper water conditions as well.

If your plant is grown as annual and sensitive to the winter then it might be slightly more difficult to take good care of the plant itself. In this case, you will either have to overwinter your plant by propagating it or simply grow new ones from the seeds produced by your plant. 

Final thoughts:

If your citronella plant is grown as a perennial then rest assured it will last for a long time. However, if it is grown as an annual then your particular plant may not come back every year but you can still have citronellas in your garden by propagating or planting seeds from existing plants.

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