Citronella is sourced from smallholder farmers in Indonesia who are organized into co-ops with local distillation units. Citronella grows quickly and easily there, which is beneficial for producing the essential oil. It is also beneficial to the farmers. In addition to the extra income for their families, citronella is often planted amongst rice plantations in Bali to not only diversify crops, but also control pests.
Citronella is a tall grass grown in Asia with a crisp, fresh aroma. It is soothing to the skin and creates an uplifting atmosphere. Citronella essential oil is a known powerful insect repellent and an ideal companion during outdoor activities.
How does it work?
Citronella—Cymbopogon winterianus—is a perennial grass known as Java Citronella from the Poaceae grass family. It is colorless to pale yellow and can grow up to six and a half feet (two meters). While Citronella can be planted any time, the onset of the monsoon season is best. Citronella is easy to grow, and the removal of weeds is only required as part of clearing the land prior to planting.
After six months, the plant will be ready for the first harvest. Depending on soil fertility, citronella can be harvested every few months after that for between three to five harvests per year. Every five to seven years, the crop is replaced.
Farmers can also sell the bottom part of the plant for seedling propagation. Every month, one seedling will grow into twenty plants.
Once harvested, the essential oil is extracted through steam distillation of the grass after it has air-dried.