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The Fragrant Pelargonium family

I received a cutting from my aunt years ago, at the dawn of my plant obsession. It had deep cut fragrant leaves an it turned out to be a pelargonium citrosum. It hasn’t bloomed for me yet but I don’t mind since the fragrance comes from oils in the leaves. I have it placed beside the door to the garden so each time someone brushes by you get to enjoy the citronella fragrance.

Perlagonium citrosum is a classic. It’s often sold as ‘mosquito plant’ (I’m not sure it actually deters mosquito’s though…) and is often grown indoors. Most people don’t know that there are aproximatly 250 species of perlagonium and many more hybrids with varigated leaves and larger flowers. And many of them require the same minimal care when grown indoors. There are many slightly different citruslike fragrances, but there is also a group of more floral and musky smelling plants. And there are some oddbals, smelling like cocacola or coconut.


In contranst to most frangrant plants, perlagoniums are very easy to care for indoors because they cope well with low humidity. I have never seen any pest on mine. I water them frequently during the summer after lettering them dry out for a day or so. In winter I water very sparingly. I suspect the only way to kill one of these is to overwater them in winter and causing rootrot. They do need a lot of light to flower wich can be challenging when growing them indoors. But you don’t need the flowers to enjoy the fragrance. And many of them can grow to be quite large even when grown in a pot. Some species can reach 2 meters within just a few years. The leaveshape growing habit and flower color differ quite a lot.

I currently have the following, all of wich are nicely fragrant all year round (a foundation to my indoor fragrant garden dream), and most bloom quite easily.

  • Pelargonium Sweet Mimosa (Sweet Citrus)
  • Pelargonium Concolor Lace (Musky/ hazelnuts)
  • Pelargonium Citrosum (Lemon)
  • Perlagonium Cola Bottles (Cola)
  • Perlagonium Attar of Roses (Sweet floral/roses)
  • Perlagnoium Lavender Lindy (Lavender)
  • Perlagonium F.X. Fragaris (Species, Musky)
  • Perlagonium Royal Oak (Musky)
  • Perlagonium Old Spice (Musky, herbal)
  • Perlagonium Odaratissimum (species, Apple)
  • Perlagonium Prince of Orange (Orange)
  • Perlagonium Clorinda (Ceder)
  • Perlagonium Graveolens (Species, Citrus)

Leave types

Different types of leaves


  • Perlagonium Mutans; it’s a species that smells like eucalyptus.
  • Perlagonium pseudoglutinosum; Lavender fragrance with very deep cut leaves.
  • Perlagonium Tomentosum; A species with mint fragrance.

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