My citronella geranium has abundant new growth at the base. Can I cut back the large top growth to allow the new growth to take hold?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Beverly in Oklahoma: Citronella scented geraniums (Pelargonium citrosum) are nice for repelling mosquitoes. They are grown for their aromatic characteristics as well as their foliage. It is certainly fine to remove some of the older foliage. In fact, this is beneficial in terms of encouraging new growth. The plant does not need to use up its stored nutrients on the larger/older growth that may not look so good; instead it can concentrate its energy on putting on new growth. It sounds like your plant is happy and geraniums are nice low-maintenance houseplants if you are interested in trying to over-winter it indoors. Bring it indoors before the first frost and place it in a sunny window or any brightly lit room. The light levels are much lower during the colder months so there is no need to fertilize. Your plant will not need to be watered as often as it does now since the temperatures will not be so extreme. For now take a pair of gardening scissors or pruners and remove the older foliage all the way back to the base of the plant.