Your Bag
Enjoy 15% off + Free Shipping for orders above $70!

Difference Between Lemon Grass And Citronella Grass | Lemongrass vs Citronella Plant

Lemongrass or citronella grass are sometimes confused with being the same by many people. But both the citronella plant and lemongrass are different from each other. However, both are closely related to each other and are tropical grass. Both the lemongrass oil and citronella oil smell similar to a great extent.

Both are clump-forming grasses, and both scent like lemons. Citronella grass is mainly found in two forms citronella geranium and citronella grass. Citronella geranium (pelargonium) is not covered in this article. In this post, citronella grass and Lemongrass are being compared.

In this article, a complete comparison guide has been provided, discussing the differences and similarities between the two.

What Is Lemongrass And Citronella?

Lemongrass, also known as Cymbopogon citratus, is a tropical grass native to Southeast Asia. The long, thin leaves of this plant are used to make essential oils. It has a strong, citrusy scent and is famous for its health based values.

It has been used as a traditional medicine since ages. It can improve the health of your skin and hair. It is great for usage in both indoor and outdoor spaces. Lemongrass is commonly used in cooking especially in South Asian Cuisines.

Citronella, also known as Cymbopogon nardus, is also a native tropical grass of Asia. Citronella is closely related to lemongrass in its appearance and scent. Citronella has a great strong, lemony scent and is very commonly used in perfumes and for making other scented products.

It is also commonly used in skincare and hair care products. It is rich in health-related properties that can improve the quality and health of your skin. Citronella cannot be used in cooking.

Both lemongrass and citronella are commonly used as mosquito repellents and for adding fragrance to your indoor and outdoor spaces. Both plants belong to the same family namely Poaceae and are native to tropical Asia. The lemongrass and citronella oils are extracted from the leaves and stalks of the plant.

What Are The Similarities And Key Differences  Between Lemon grass And Citronella grass?

Lemon grass
Citronella grass


Grow up to two feet tall
Grow up to six feet tall


Aromatherapy, antiseptic properties, citrusy, refreshing scent, insect repellent, making food, etc.
Natural mosquito repellant, bug and insect repellents, refreshing scent, etc.


Used in cosmetic & skincare products.
Used in deodorants & making candles.

Used for Cooking

Used for Cooking Purposes
Not Used for Cooking Process.


1. Appearance

Usually, people say that citronella plant and Lemongrass look very similar, but at close inspection, you can see the difference between the two. Citronella has wider blade shaped leaves in comparison to lemongrass leaves (1).

Citronella plant leaves have red base stems that means they are red or magenta in color at the base of the plants. Lemongrass is green like in color at the base. Lemongrass can reach a height of up to two feet tall, whereas citronella grass can grow up to six feet tall. Both the plants' leaves spread up to four feet wide. Citronella has an extensive root system as compared to Lemongrass.

2. Propagation

Lemongrass is easy to grow in pots. You can buy stalks from the market, and they soak them in water until their roots are formed after two to four weeks. After this, you can transplant the Lemongrass in the nurseries and garden centers.

You can multiply the plants easily, separating the baby plants directly from the base of the mature plants. In order to grow lemongrass oil, you need to have loamy, rich soil with full or partial shade.

The process of propagation of citronella is also similar. You can use two to three years old mature plants to grow citronella grass through the division method. The best season is the fall season for this process. Lemongrass and citronella have very similar care requirements and so you can grow them together.

3. Mosquitto Repellents

Lemongrass is one of the best oils that can be used to make natural mosquito repellent. Citronella plants are also used in making natural mosquito repellent (2).

4. Used for Cooking

Lemongrass is used for cooking purposes, but citronella is not used in cooking. It is mainly used in making oil and insect repellent. Lemongrass is used as a herb in many south Asian cuisines or tropical Asian cuisines.

It gives a lemony taste to the food and is mainly used in Southeast Asian cuisine. Lemongrass is a key ingredient in Thai food. It is also used in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, etc.

It is believed that the stalks and leaves are very nutritious and have great health benefits. Lemongrass oil can be used as a digestive aid that can help relieve stomach discomfort.

Citronella grass is highly toxic and should be avoided in the kitchen.

5. Skincare

Lemongrass (Cymbopogan) and citronella essential oils are both used in cosmetics and skincare products. Apart from this, Lemongrass and citronella oils are used in deodorants and making candles.

6. Stimulant

Citronella and lemongrass oil is a great stimulant that helps uplift mood, improve concentration, and also boosts energy.

7. Deodorizing

Both oils are great deodorizers. Both oils have a strong fresh scent and can neutralize bad odors. Thus they are used in many air fresheners and other household products. It can be used for both indoor and outdoor spaces.

8. Relaxing

Lemongrass essential oil and citronella oil both can be used to ease muscle pain. It also helps release tension and promotes relaxation. This is the reason these two oils are used as massage oils.


The key benefits of lemongrass oil include aromatherapy, citrusy, refreshing scent, insect repellent, making food, etc. The key benefits of citronella include natural mosquito repellant, bug and insect repellents, refreshing scent, etc.

Which Is Best for Your Needs? Lemongrass vs Citronella

Both lemongrass oil and citronella oil have similar benefits, such as repelling insects and freshening up indoor and outdoor spaces. Though, there are a few key differences between these two oils that may make one more suitable for your needs than the other.

If you're looking for an oil to repel mosquitoes and other flying insects, citronella oil is the better choice. Citronella oil is more effective at repelling mosquitoes than lemongrass oil, and it is also commonly used in insect repellents.

If you're looking for an oil to freshen up your home or outdoor spaces, lemongrass oil is the better choice.

Lemongrass oil has a refreshing citrus scent that can help to freshen up indoor and outdoor spaces, and it is also commonly used in aromatherapy. If you want an oil to use in skincare or hair care products, lemongrass oil is the better choice. Lemongrass (Cymbopogon) oil has properties that can help to improve the health of your skin and hair.


The above post discusses citronella plant vs Lemongrass and highlights the key similarities and differences between citronella grass and lemongrass plants. Lemongrass and citronella grass is perennial grass in their native tropical regions. Lemongrass is better than citronella when it comes to the best mosquito repellent.

However, both can be used to keep mosquitoes at bay. Both two plants have healthy-based properties that can help treat many skincare and healthcare conditions. 

Frequently Asked Questions
3 Sources
Facebook Chat Messenger