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Innovative Crops

Crop Name:  Citronella


Citronella grows best in sandy loam soils. A good amount of organic matter is desirable. Heavy clayey soils prone to water logging are not suitable for cultivation of citronella. The pH of the soil should preferably be in the range 6-8.


Citronella grows well under tropical conditions where there is abundant sunshine and moisture.

Land Preparation:  

The land should be prepared to fine tilth by disking and tilling. Organic manure, P and K fertilizers are mixed into the soil at this stage. Ridges are made at a distance of 60 cm.


Citronella slips are prepared by splitting well-grown healthy clumps whose leaves had been removed. 35,000 slips are required to cover one-hectare area. The preferred time of planting is the beginning of monsoon. The slips are planted on one side of the ridge half way up the slope by making 10 cm deep pits at 45 cm interval between the pits.


CIMAP-bio 13, manjusha, mandakini, jalpallavi, medini, manjari and CIM-jeeva have been developed in citronella. Jalpallavi is a water-logging tolerant variety.


Citronella requires sufficient moisture for good growth and yield of herb. The field is irrigated immediately after planting. Soil moisture is maintained till the crop is established. When there is no rain, irrigation once in 8 to 10 days will be required.


FYM : 10 t/ha, 150 kgs of Nitrogen, 40 kgs of phosphorus, 40 kgs of potash per hectare in a year. FYM, full dose of phosphorus and potash are incorporated in the soil as a basal dose. In subsequent years, these may be applied along with the first dose of N, which is applied soon after the crop is established and then once every two months.

Disease Management:  

No serious diseases have been reported in Citronella.

Pest Management:  

Citronella is generally free from pests and diseases. Sometimes, especially in dry periods, it may be affected by yellowing and crinkling disease. The emerging leaf becomes wrinkled and pale yellow. It may fail to open and die. These symptoms are caused by an eriophyid mite, which may be controlled by spraying a mixture of dicofol @ 2 ml/l and tafethion 50 EC @ 1 ml/l along with a wetting agent like triton AR or inditron AE @ 0.5 ml/l.

Propagation Methods:  

Plantation Method:  

Intercultural Operations:  


Citronella crop should be kept weed free. 3 to 4 weedings are required till the crop grows and covers the ground. Also, one or two rounds of weeding are necessary after each harvest.


Citronella levels contain maximum oil. Hence, only the leaves are harvested. It is highly desirable to leave 2-3 cm of the leaf on the plants for faster regeneration. In the first year only two cuttings can be taken. Harvesting can be done 8 to 9 months after planting and 3 to 4 months after the first harvest. From second year onwards, three harvests can be taken per year at 4 months intervals. The crop can be maintained economically for about five years.


Citronella gives a fresh herb yield of 25 t/ha/year under irrigated conditions is considered normal. The average oil content is about 0.8-1%, hence oil yield of 200-250 kg/ha/year is expected.

Tips for Cultivation:  

Cultivation Procedure:  


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