Fascinating growing citronella from seed on a windowsill
For lovers of oriental cuisine, growing citronella from seeds makes it possible to always have an exotic spice at hand. Its dense shoots are added to soups, hot drinks, vegetable dishes. In addition, the fragrant shoots of the plant will help get rid of the white-winged butterfly in the garden and various insects in the living room..
Since the grass is native to the tropics, it is afraid of sudden changes in temperature. Even with small frosts, citronella dies. However, true gardeners are happy to grow citronella from seeds in containers on the windowsill. Thanks to simple technology, the plant thrives all year round. Before we figure out the peculiarities of landing, let’s get to know the tropical guest better.
The modest appearance of a valuable condiment
Citronella is a fragrant herb that naturally grows up to 1.5 m.The native land of the plant is considered to be the territory of North Africa.
There are other names for the aromatic herb:
- lemon sorghum;
The leaf plates of the culture are narrow in shape with pointed tips. They are colored light green. Biologists warn that citronella foliage actively absorbs various emissions and gases from the atmosphere. Therefore, the plant should not be grown on an open balcony that overlooks a busy street. During the flowering period, miniature buds are formed. They are usually difficult to spot among the lush bunches of greenery..
The sides of the leaf plates are very sharp and often injure unwary gardeners..
Before you start growing citronella from seed, it is important to get acquainted with the popular varieties of the crop. Specialized outlets sell West Indian lemongrass or East Indian citronella planting material. The first option has spicy properties, so the crushed shoots of the culture are used in cooking. The second variety is distinguished by a purple tint of erect stems. Often the plant is grown to decorate the country landscape in warm climates..
In order for the cymbopogon to successfully winter in temperate latitudes, a dense mulch shelter is built for it..
Competent cultivation of citronella from seeds indoors
A tropical fragrant spice with “pleasure” will take root on the windowsill, subject to proper agricultural technology. First of all, gardeners think about creating a comfortable environment for lemongrass. Then suitable containers are prepared and a versatile substrate is created. Let’s take a closer look at these important factors..
Ideal living space
As you know, citronella lemongrass migrated to Europe from the hot tropics. Therefore, they choose a place for her, where there is an abundance of sunlight and warmth in the cold season. The best option is a south-facing window or a glazed balcony.
In nature, culture grows near rivers or lakes, where it receives the necessary nutrients. Given this fact, indoor conditions for lemongrass are similar. Place it away from hot radiators, air conditioners, fireplaces or stoves. In addition, a humid environment is created around the plant that resembles its homeland..
Citronella is often grown in the kitchen, where it is warm, cozy and humid..
Suitable containers for a successful existence
As you know, in the natural environment, the culture grows up to 1.5 m. Therefore, when choosing a container, gardeners take into account the potential of a fragrant spice. Of course, at home, lemongrass is unlikely to reach that height. However, a sufficiently deep and spacious container is suitable for him. Specialists use plastic or ceramic containers. The minimum diameter is from 30 cm and above. The plant will be comfortable in it for several years..
Ceramic pots without a glossy finish lose moisture faster, so plants are watered more often.
Ideal soil for exotic spices
Citronella lemongrass will not be “offended” if provided with a generic potting soil. It usually contains an abundance of minerals and other valuable components. Its loose structure is ideal for tropical exotic. Many green space lovers prepare the substrate on their own..
- river sand;
They are taken in equal quantities and mixed thoroughly. Since citronella does not like stagnant moisture, reliable drainage is created for it. A hole is made at the bottom of the container. Then the third part is covered with charcoal, expanded clay or ceramic granules. Fertile soil is ready!
For the successful cultivation of crops, an important factor is the beginning of the agrotechnical process. The optimal timing of sowing citronella lemongrass directly depends on the region of residence. In the southern regions, the plant is transferred to the beds. Until that time, the bushes must acquire maximum strength in order to adapt to new conditions of existence. Therefore, the grass is sown in the last decade of February..
Preparatory work consists of a series of actions:
- the seedling container is filled with fertile soil;
- lightly tamp;
- sprayed from a spray bottle.
Then the citronella lemongrass is sown in the traditional way. The seeds are carefully laid out on the surface of the soil. Sprinkle with sand or loose substrate. The layer thickness does not exceed 3 mm. From above, the crops are moistened with a sprayer.
The culture containers are covered with glass or cling film. Then they are taken to a warm room, where there is an abundance of sunlight. The minimum ambient temperature in the room should be around 18 ° C. The sprouts will appear in about 7 days..
Now it’s time to remove the film or glass. To ensure optimal moisture, lemongrass is sprayed regularly. After 10-14 days, the greens dive into other pots. The procedure is repeated several times..
Fortified bushes are planted in a permanent place in a voluminous pot or on a garden bed (applies only to areas with a mild climate).
Caring care of the “Tropican”
Many people notice how the amazing world of nature was created. Love is manifested in everything. Animals take care of their offspring, and wild plants are directly dependent on rainfall and sunlight. When a culture falls into unfamiliar conditions, it will die without proper care..
When growing lemongrass indoors, there are a number of factors to consider:
- the plant does not like drafts;
- in winter it is afraid of cold air;
- needs open space in summer.
Practice shows that drafts often lead to root rot. As a result, the foliage of the plant changes color. At first, it turns yellow, and over time it fades, dries and dies. A similar reaction occurs from the cold winter air that gets on lemongrass during airing..
In sultry periods, culture is taken out on the street, where it “feels like home.”.
Humidification and fertilization
Watering lemon grass is carried out depending on the season and weather. In the summer, it is moistened as the top layer of the soil dries. If it is hot outside for a long time, the plant is watered 2 times a day in small portions. In winter, moisture is “served” moderately, taking into account the microclimate of the dwelling.
Like all indoor crops, citronella needs additional feeding. To do this, use ready-made liquid fertilizers from the store. The substance is diluted with water and added according to the instructions provided. Usually, the procedure is repeated once every 14 days. In addition, every 2 years, the plant is transplanted into new soil..
The culture actively grows greens after applying nitrogen fertilization or organic matter.
The fragrant foliage of citronella attracts the attention of not only lovers of spicy greens. Unfortunately, the plant suffers from various diseases and pests. Spraying the bushes regularly will protect them from spider mites. The procedure is carried out even in winter in order to prevent.
Harvesting and product application
When the foliage grows to about 30 cm, it is carefully cut. Then it is thoroughly crushed, laid out on paper and dried. The resulting product is stored in glass containers under a lid. Dense stems of lemon grass are cut when the diameter reaches 4 cm.Over time, new shoots with an exquisite aroma will appear in their place.
Harvesting a spicy crop preferably with gloves to protect your hands from cuts.
Spicy lemon grass citronella is used as an additional ingredient. The foliage is used to make medicinal teas. The shoots are put in soups and vegetable stews. In addition, the plant is an original decoration of the home interior. Its scent gives the home a sophisticated touch reminiscent of the tropics. It’s time to start growing citronella from seeds on your windowsill this season. May she bring joy to her fans all year round.