How To Grow A Citronella Plant From A Cutting (Aka Lemongrass)
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There are many people who consider growing their own Citronella plant because of the beauty and insect repellent properties of the plant. Citronella is a type of annual geranium and can be grown from a cutting. If you are able to get a cutting of the plant, you need to know what steps you should be taking to ensure the roots take and you are able to have your own citronella plant.
When To Get The Cutting
Before you look at how to grow your plant from a cutting, you need to know when you should get a cutting. It is recommended that you take a cutting from the citronella plant in the fall. This is when the plant will start to enter its dormant stage and it will not harm the parent plant.
The cutting that you take should be a shoot of 3 to 5 inches in length. The cutting should be taken from the mid-section of the stem because the stem tips are too soft and dry out quickly while the bottom of the stems are too woody and do not form roots. You will need to clean the cutting with a clipper and ensure that all of the lower leaves have been removed. This will ensure that the cutting has the space to grow and create roots.
Preparing The Planting Tray
Once you have your cutting, you need to prepare the planting tray. The planting tray that you create should be filled with rooting medium or a mixture of peat and coarse sand. It is important that the medium is properly moistened with water. It is important to note that if you have taken a good cutting, the roots will form very easily.
There are some people who choose to start their citronella plant in water and not a soil based planting tray. This is not always necessary because of the easy rooting of these plants. If you wish to use the water method, you will need to fill a small, glass with rain water. The glass jar should be large enough that the base of the cutting will be submerged. It is important that you use rain water because it will have all the nutrients that your cutting needs to create roots.
Optional Rooting Hormone
After you have created your planting tray, you can dip the cut end of your plant into rooting hormone. This is not something that has to be done and there are many people who do not complete this step. If you are going to be using rooting hormone, you will need to gently tap the end of the cutting after you have dipped it in. This will remove the excess hormone from the cutting.
Planting The Cutting
It is important that you plant the cutting as soon as possible after you have removed it from the parent plant. This will ensure that the cutting does not have time to dry out. You should stick at least 1 inch of the cutting into the rooting medium that you have prepared. If you have a smaller cutting, one of the nodules on the stem will need to be above the rooting medium with the cut end of the cutting below the surface.
Placing The Cuttings
Once the cuttings have been placed in the rooting medium, you need to place the plant in the right place. The cutting should be placed in a warm area that does not receive direct sunlight. Indirect or filtered sunlight is recommended for the cuttings.
You should keep the rooting medium evenly moist to ensure that the cutting gets enough water, but does not suffer from overwatering. You should also spray the leaves with water to keep the cutting moist as well.
When The Roots Appear
It should take approximately 2 weeks for the roots to appear on your cutting. It should be noted that it could take longer for the roots to appear depending on the cutting you have. If the cutting still appears healthy and is getting enough water, the roots should start to appear.
If you have used the water based rooting medium, you will be able to easily see when the roots have formed. If you are using the soil based rooting medium, you should wait until 4 weeks have passed before gently pulling on the cutting. If there is some form of resistance when you gently pull on the cutting, it means that roots have formed.
Transplanting The Cutting
Once the roots have formed to a decent level, you will need to transplant the cutting. It is important that you wait for the roots to be completely formed and not simply transplant the cutting once the roots first appear. When you transplant the cutting, you should use a 3-inch pot. Once the plant has grown large enough, you will be able to plant it in your garden.