I don’t often trim it or divide it, but since it’s spring and lemongrass doesn’t really get going again until summer, it was high time to give it a much-needed haircut.Here’s how you can tell your plant is dormant, plus my simple technique for pruning lemongrass and keeping it healthy all year long.When should you prune lemongrass?The best time to cut back your lemongrass is while it’s dormant, but not until temperatures start to warm up in spring.How to cut back lemongrass in cold climates.Gardeners whose plants stay green all winter just need to maintain the shape of the shrub.Light pruning of the leaf tips can be done throughout the year, but a heavy pruning should be done in spring to give your lemongrass a chance to grow stronger and healthier.and pull out any brown outer stalks as well as brown or rusted leaves.You may have to reach in between the clump to get all the leaves out (but leave the inner stalks intact, as those are the newer ones).Once you’ve removed all the brown bits, use hedge shears to cut back the leaves.I just do a straight cut across, trimming one section of leaves at a time (similar to trimming bangs, if you’re into home haircuts). .
When to Cut Back Lemongrass
Lemongrass tolerates frequent cutting for harvesting, although plants won't grow as tall or full if you harvest often.You can cut back the entire plant to a 6-inch height, removing all the old seed heads and dead foliage in the process, in late winter or early spring just before growth resumes.Alternatively, cut out only the damaged leaves and old seed stalks, removing them at their base, if the plant didn't suffer severe damage or dieback.The symmetrical mounded shape of a lemongrass plant doesn't require pruning to maintain, but you may need to cut out dead and damaged stalks throughout the growing season.Division thins out your lemongrass plants and provides you with more plants for the garden.Plant each lemongrass division into a pot filled with standard potting soil or in a well-drained area of the garden bed, setting the roots at the same depth they were growing at previously. .
Growing & Planting Lemongrass
Lemongrass grows tall, and pots can easily tip in windy weather, so place containers in a slightly protected location.In cold regions, overwinter lemongrass indoors by digging up a few stalks, trimming them down to just a few inches tall, and planting them in smaller pots.Another option is to store a pot of lemongrass, cut down, in a cool, dark place like a basement.Due to its tropical nature, lemongrass usually only survives winters in zones 8 and warmer. .
Lemongrass Winter Care: How to Prepare for the Cold
If you’re growing lemongrass in your garden, you might be wondering what to do with it over the winter months.In Zone 9, it’s best to bring them indoors, but with additional protection you should be able to overwinter them outside.If you’re in Zone 9, your lemongrass can survive the winter outdoors as long as you provide adequate protection from the cold.The first step in preparing for the cold months is to prune your lemongrass.If you live in Zone 8 or below, you’ll need to bring your herbs inside during the winter where they will go dormant.If you’re bringing them inside for the winter, you’ll want to start preparing your lemongrass when nighttime temperatures start to drop below 45ºF.If it contains less than four stalks, you don’t need to divide it.If placing more than one section of stalks into the same container, space them at least one inch apart.To maintain dormancy, place the pots in a cool, dimly lit area.Water your lemongrass about once a month over the winter while it’s dormant.If you want your plant to continue growing, make sure it gets at least ten hours of natural or artificial light each day.After two weeks of acclimation to light and warmth, you can begin moving the containers outside during the day.Wherever you end up transplanting, make sure the soil is well-aerated. .
How to Prune Lemongrass
The clumps of leaf stalks grow approximately 3 feet tall and provide an ornamental and edible accent to the yard.Although the plant can grow well without pruning, a well-timed trim can improve its appearance and supply a harvest of fresh stalks for the kitchen.4 Prune back lightly in early spring if the lemongrass remained green and healthy or if only the leaf tips yellowed. .
How to Harvest Lemongrass for Cooking and Herbal Tea
When I give my raised bed talks, I usually tell the audience that I like to plant lemongrass in place of a spike or dracaena, in my ornamental pots because it provides that lovely dramatic height.I love drying lemongrass for herbal tea, and come fall, when I fire up the crockpot, I toss it into hearty curries.There are health studies that show lemongrass can reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol, and relieve anxiety, among other benefits.I have found it challenging to grow lemongrass from seed, so I usually purchase plants each year.It doesn’t mind slightly moist soil, but you don’t want to overwater, which can cause the plant to rot.I’ve actually found lemongrass to be pretty drought tolerant compared to other herbs I grow.Wearing gardening gloves, I use my herb scissors to snip the leaves from the base of the outside of the clump to dry for tea.If you’re not saving the whole plant, you can pull it out of the pot in the fall, dust off all the soil, and separate each culm to store for the winter.Wrap them tightly in plastic to freeze, or put into freezer bags, and simply pull out a stalk for cooking as you need it.I find lemongrass stalks to be quite woody and fibrous (I found this out the hard way after biting into a huge piece once in a bowl of coconut soup), so I don’t generally mince it in my dishes.I use pieces of the stalks in chicken curry and Thai coconut soup, but I’ll fish them out before serving.However, do make sure if you want to eventually save all of it (leaves and stalks) for freezing or drying, that you get to it before your region’s first hard frost.I’ll move my pots to the warmth of the garage for a night if I haven’t had a chance to save all the lemongrass beforehand.Put your wee bit of lemongrass in a sunny window and change the water daily (or as often as possible).Lemongrass is a tropical plant, so you’ll want to make sure you’re well past your region’s frost-free date before bringing it back outside in the spring. .
How to Use Lemongrass
Preparing lemongrass was one of the first chores Nite Yun, chef and owner of Oakland’s critically acclaimed Nyum Bai, performed in her mother’s kitchen.As its name suggests, lemongrass is a grass with botanical origins that stretch across South and Southeast Asia, from India and Sri Lanka to Indonesia and the Philippines.“I always prefer fresh lemongrass as the natural oils bring so much flavor and complexity to dishes,” says Gil Payumo, chef at Filipino fusion restaurant Señor Sisig in San Francisco.In South and Southeast Asian cooking, lemongrass commonly conspires with ingredients like garlic, galangal (and/or ginger), cilantro, Thai basil, shallots, lime leaves, and coconut milk to create bold, complex flavors. .
Do you cut back lemongrass in the fall?
Furthermore, should I cut back my lemongrass?Also, how do you prune lemongrass for the winter?Will lemongrass grow back after winter? .
The Wonder of Lemongrass Plants
Gardeners wishing to cultivate fragrant plants, ornamental grasses, or landscape plants should also be aware of the exciting possibilities lemongrass opens up.Some all-purpose fertilizer, fish emulsion, or liquid plant food can be added to the soil surrounding your lemongrass plants every two weeks or so throughout the growing season.Place these stalks into several pots prepared with soil.Keep potted plant soil lightly moist.Take care not to over-water a wintering lemongrass plant.Once the stalks have been cut down and repotted, all you need to do is lightly water the soil to keep the roots alive.After the temperature has risen in spring, the stalks and roots can be planted wherever you would like a clump of lemongrass to grow.Harvesting Lemongrass.The root fibers can also be trimmed though a few roots near the base of the plant can be retained to keep the stalk fresh in a glass of water.To do this, take the rinsed, dried prepared stalks and use a sharp knife to cut the stalk into slices 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.1 lemongrass stalk, sliced into two inch pieces.4 Tbsp curry powder (mild, medium, or hot as you prefer).Add ginger, garlic, lemongrass, and curry powder.Add water and vegetable stock to the pot, along with red pepper flakes, lime leaves, bay leaf, and vegetarian fish sauce (if using).Cover and bring mixture to a boil, then stir in potatoes and coconut milk.1 inch of fresh ginger, minced.Cook onion, garlic, and ginger until onions are soft.Stir in red pepper and cumin, cooking until spices are lightly toasted (1 - 2 minutes).Next add the soup base, water, coconut milk, and pumpkin.Allow soup to heat thoroughly (5 - 10 minutes).Serve hot immediately or use an immersion blender to create a smoother dish; allow soup to reheat before serving.One traditional way of using lemongrass is in a hot steeped beverage.A soothing lemongrass tisane can be made with fresh or preserved plant material.While the water is heating, chop lemongrass into portions pieces approximately one inch long.You can also add a little chopped lemongrass to any of your favorite herbal tisane beverages.Whether grown as an ornamental or for culinary use, you will certainly fall in love with. .