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Question: 1154-3314
I am using citronella to protect my plants and myself from the insects. My eggplant, tomatoes and peppers are doing well. Clarence, Slidell, LA

Mort's Answer:
Most annual plants grown in warmer climates can outrun most pathogens. Fungus among us could affect tomatoes, especially in humid climes. Using fungal resistant tomatoes can alleviate this problem. Some other naturals include rotenone powder and sabadilla. These can be applied to the soil when planting.

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Question: 625-4011
I have Citronella on my deck. Can I leave it out for the winter? Kay, Norwich, CT

Mort's Answer:
You could but it would not survive, especially in a pot. Cymbopogon nardus is a scented tropical grass with hairy spikelets. It will grow to six feet in southern areas of the US. You will need to cut it back and reset it in the garage or basement. I would put it a cardboard box and cover it with straw like the catalogue companies do. If there is a sunny window in the area, let it shine on the box. Lemon scented geranium is often called Citronella. This too is a tender perennial in zone six. Pelargonium crispum can be attended as a house plant for the winter. Put it in a south facing window and water sparingly with very little fertilizer.

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Question: 1367-3216
Can we leave citronella plants out in the winter? Charlie, Lisbon, CT

Mort's Answer:
Citronella is excellent for driving away insects and has a pleasant scent. It is a tropical plant that will do well in doors in a south facing window in the winter. You will need to bring it in to the house before the first frost. It will also help ward off insects indoors as well and add to the ambience.

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