Uses and cultural aspects The attractive and fragrant foliage makes this species an interesting subject for the garden. It can also be grown as a culinary herb or to flavour puddings. Although the foliage is fragrant all the time, it is during the warmer weather that you'll notice it, because the citronella (lemon-scented chemical in the leaf) is volatile at high temperatures. This plant can be used as a companion plant to repel pests, as the lemon scent has natural insecticidal properties. The leaves can also be used in potpourri and finger bowls.
Pelargonium citronellum has decorative leaves that have a strong, clean, lemon fragrance.
Pelargonium citronellum is an evergreen, bushy, strongly lemon-scented shrub, herbaceous when young and woody at the base. It grows up to 2 m high and spreads up to 1 m. The stems and leaves are sparsely covered in small hairs and glandular hairs. The leaves are simple, alternately arranged, with conspicuous veins at the back of the leaves. The leaf is palmately shaped with sharply pointed lobes. The flowers are pink-purple with a conspicuous dark marking on the two larger upper petals, the three smaller lower petals have no markings. The plant flowers during spring and summer (August to January) and is at its best in early summer (between September and October).