Native to Paraguay, Uruguay, Congon (Citronella congonha) is a large shrub, usually 5-10 ft tall. Congon thrives best in full sun, with regular watering. It produces whitish perfumed flowers in the spring and drupe oblong or ovoid green 1/2 inch fruits in the summer. Its simple, alternate, coriaceous, widely ovate leaves are typically edged with dentate spines and have an apex ended in a sharp spine. This ethnomedical plant is grown in USDA Zone 9-11 and requires a moderate amount of care.
For larger Congon plants, regular pruning of branches is recommended. To maintain a neat, attractive look, cut back a few of the largest stems after flowering. Since Congon is a slow-growing shrub, it will not require frequent pruning. To promote healthy growth and prevent diseases, fertilize Congon in the early spring with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer.
In cold regions, Congon can be grown indoors. To successfully grow Congon, the container should be filled with a well-draining potting mix and watered regularly. Place the container in an area that receives bright indirect light and provide sufficient ventilation during the warmer months. Feed Congon with a balanced fertilizer every 2-3 months and keep the soil evenly moist.