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Crop Cultivation Guidance



There are two species of citronella i.e.

Botanical name: Cymbopogon winterianus

Common name: Java Citronella and the other species

Botanical name: Cymbopogon naruds

Common name: Ceylon Citronella

belonging to family Gramineae. These are the tufted aromatic grasses with superficial fibrous roots. Leaf blades are long, wide, and glabrous. Spathate panicles decompound, large, long with many racemes. Spikelets are sessile and long.

Availability of Citronella grass is in the form of herbage that is leaves.

Geographical distribution

This crop is a recent introduction into India and its cultivation is mainly done in the lower hills of Assam, in Karanataka and southern Gujarat, covers about 2,000 hectares of area.
Medicinal and other value

The main constituents of Citronella oil are Citronellol (65%), Citronellal (12-49%) and Geraniol (14-24%), Citronella oil mostly used in perfumery like perfume in soap, soap flakes, detergents, household cleaners, technical products and insecticides. It also employed in anti mosquito creams. Citronella oil is a raw material for isolation of above perfumery compounds.

Package of cultivation practices

Citronella can be cultivated in light loam soils, rich in organic matter and well-drained soils. It thrives best in humid tropical areas with moderately warm temperature and well distributed rainfall. Propagation is made vegetatively by the splitting the clumps into slips, a healthy one year old clump yields 60-80 slips. During monsoon season, it can be planted on distance at 30 cm and row to row at 60 cm. depending upon the rate of growth and the soil fertility. Java citronella is grown up to 1,000 m above sea level on well drained sandy-loam to clayey-loam soils with pH varying from 5-7.5. When it is grown on medium soil, it is given 20 kg of N, 60 kg of P, 40 kg of K per hectare at the time of planting. It can be supplemented with 80-100 kg of N per hectare annually as top-dressing in 3-4 split doses. The crop is irrigated after every 10-15 days during the dry season. After proper care, first harvest can be made in 4-6 months after planting then after 3-4 months. The yield of fresh herbage varies from 16-20 tonnes per hectare.

Processing facilities
Oil can be obtained by steam distillation from dried grass for 12-24 hours. Average recovery of citronella oil is 1%. Yield is about 150-200 kg per hector. 16-20 tonnes of fresh herbage on distillation it gives 100-150 kg of oil. Low alcohol and aldehyde contents are noticed in the oils distilled from the immature crop of from that grown under excessively humid conditions

The cost of cultivation for hectare of land is about Rs. 1,09,150. While the profit is about Rs. 2,68,975 for hectare of land. The Indian market rate of citronella oil is Rs. 250-300 per kg.