For an easy path to successful growing, look for vigorous young lemongrass plants from Bonnie Plants®, the company that has been helping home gardeners succeed for over a century.Lemongrass likes it hot, so grow it in an area with full sun and fertile, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.5 to 7.0.Kick off the growing season by mixing several inches aged compost or other rich organic matter into your native soil.Harvest lemongrass stalks once plants reach 12 inches tall and are a half-inch wide at the base.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.Harvest lemongrass for its bulbous stem bases, rich with lemony flavor, or clip leaves for infusing tea and soup stock.Leaves can be bundled and added to the liquid in a teapot or stock pot, then simmered to infuse lemon flavor into the brew.Take the lemongrass base and peel the outer fibrous layer to expose the inner white, reedy part.To make slicing easier, first crush the stem base with the flat blade of a knife.To freeze lemongrass, store thinly sliced pieces in single layers in zipper-seal bags.After use, add leaves to your compost pile or puree them and scatter them in the grass along the edges of a patio or deck to help deter insects.This tropical plant craves moisture, but is quickly killed by heavy soil that makes water puddle. .
Complete guide: How to grow lemongrass
In this article we’ll show you how to grow lemongrass — even if you live in cooler climate regions.Native to South Asia, lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) is a delicious plant with a unique lemon-like taste that is often used as a flavoring in Asian foods and beverages.As the waitress explained, one of the main flavorings was called “lemongrass,” small chunks of which were floating in the soup.Decades later, every time I smell freshly-harvested lemongrass stalks from one of the plants growing in our organic garden in Greenville, SC, I’m transported back to that initial experience.And that’s one of the main reasons The Tyrant and I grow and forage food: we love cultivating new experiences and tending good memories.Once you learn how to grow lemongrass, you can make it a staple in your warm weather garden every year.If you live in a cold climate region, we’ll give you detailed tips below to show you how.In fact, its growth habit looks a lot like pampas grass, which would be our least favorite plant on earth, if not for poison ivy.Unfortunately, like pampas grass, lemongrass also has really sharp leaf blades that can impart quite a paper cut if you slide your hand along their edges.Keep this in mind if you have young children or pets that might go bounding into the plant in your garden.By late summer, lemon grass plants growing under ideal conditions (good soil, full sun, adequate water) can reach 5-6′ tall x 5′ wide.Place container in a sunny window for 3 weeks, keeping the soil slightly damp but not wet.When it comes time to transplant them outdoors (see instructions below) you’ll have more mature plants that already have good growth on them.Lemongrass is frost sensitive and will die back to the ground when temperatures hit freezing.Lemongrass maintenance consists of listening to your favorite music, enjoying lazy summer days at the beach or lake, and taking an occasional nap.If you don’t get 1″ of rainfall per week, you’ll want to provide supplemental irrigation to your plants.Pull entire stalks out of the ground, especially if it’s a late season harvest and you don’t intend to overwinter your plants; or.Cut individual stalks as close to the root base as possible; this method is ideal for cut-and-come-again harvests throughout the season.Once you’ve harvested your stalks, trim off the top leaves and chop them into small pieces to dry for tea (or compost if you have excess).Put the thick juicy stalk bases in a ziplock bag in your fridge veggie drawer until you’re ready to use them.We’ve never had a long enough growing season where we live (Zone 7B) for our lemongrass plants to produce flowers.Best guess: it probably takes at least 9 months of ideal growing conditions for a lemongrass plant to produce flowers.We start by putting a thick 8″+ layer of leaves over the top of the plants once we cut them back at final harvest.Then we cut each stalk back to about 5″ tall, and transplant them into small nursery pots.Lemongrass tastes similar to lemons without the acidic bite, and has infinite culinary applications.We use our lemongrass every way imaginable: teas, flavorings for Asian soups and curries, juiced and turned into summer sorbets, and more.Then smash the chopped sections with the base of your knife or a rolling board (just enough to loosen it up, not to pulverize it).This will help break down its cell walls, allowing more flavor to more quickly enter your food.As mentioned previously, lemongrass stalks will easily last a month in a bag inside your fridge.These plants are used to make citronella oil, sprays, and various other insect repellent products.In our opinion, a better and equally safe way to reduce mosquitos in your yard is using Bt dunks (article here).In our opinion, everything you eat and drink is technically “medicinal” in that it either supports or diminishes your overall health.We hope you’ll include this delicious plant in your warm weather garden for years to come. .
Lemongrass Winter Care: How to Prepare for the Cold
As a tropical plant, lemongrass isn’t exactly suited to the chilly temperatures of winter in much of North America.However, there are ways to help this herb survive the cold, and come back healthy and vigorous in spring.If you’re in Zone 9, your lemongrass can survive the winter outdoors as long as you provide adequate protection from the cold.Using gardening shears, remove the leaves and cut the stalks back until they are six to twelve inches tall.Think of dormant plants like hibernating bears; they both take it easy in the winter so they can kick into action in the spring.Make sure to dig at least two inches either side of the base of the stem in order to preserve the roots.After you’ve dug it up, use your hands to carefully separate each lemongrass clump into sections of two to four stalks.After dividing, use scissors or pruning shears to cut the leaves and stalks back so they are 6-12 inches tall.This haircut helps the maintain moisture in the upcoming months by decreasing the surface area it uses to respire.Since overwintering lemongrass is going to be dormant, don’t expect growth or harvests over the cooler months.If you want your plant to continue growing, make sure it gets at least ten hours of natural or artificial light each day.Once daytime temperatures are regularly in the 50s, move your pots to a sunny and warm location indoors.By practicing crop rotation, you help prevent problems with disease, pests, and nutrient-deficiency in the soil. .
Growing Lemon Grass (Cymbopogon citratus)
In the fall, acclimate plants gradually to indoor conditions (you're essentially reversing the hardening-off process) by allowing them to spend days outdoors and bringing them in at night.Don't worry--it will perk back up once it goes outdoors again in spring.Lemon Grass forms dense clumps that can grown 2-3ft tall every 1-3 years, depending on how vigorously they are growing. .
Add Lemongrass to Your Garden Plans
You can purchase short, unrooted culms (stalks) at the local Asian grocery stores and simply stick them in the soil in large containers or in the ground.Grow lemongrass in full sun and rich soil with plenty of water at first to have the roots become established.When cooking dishes like stir-fry, fish, seafood, chicken, rice, and even baked goods, cut a culm that is at least a foot tall with a half-inch swollen base.Cut below the swollen end, which is what you will use in the dish, and remove the outer, fibrous layers (the remaining culm in the container will re-sprout).Option three: I can dig the plants up, cut down to a few inches, re-plant in small pots, and place indoors at a south facing window.By keeping the soil barely moist, the roots remain alive through the winter so the pots can go back outside next year.Riccio produces pegplant.com, a local gardening website for the Northern Virginia, Maryland, and Washington DC metro area. .
How to Grow and Care for Lemongrass
Common Name Lemongrass Botanical Name Cymbopogon citratus Family Poaceae Plant Type Perennial, annual, herb Mature Size 2-4 ft. tall, 2–3 ft. wide Sun Exposure Full Soil Type Loamy Soil pH Neutral Hardiness Zones 10-11 (USDA) Native Areas Asia Toxicity Toxic to pets.Lemongrass grows with abundance in areas where conditions mimic the warm and humid habitat of its native region.The plant likes lots of heat, light, and moisture: Provide this, and your lemongrass will grow and multiply quickly.The standard "1 inch per week" favored by many garden plants will allow lemongrass to thrive, but it can get by on considerably less.Lemongrass is very frost sensitive, so if you plan to overwinter the plant indoors in pots, bring it inside before temperatures drop into the 40s.There are no named cultivars of lemongrass, but another species in the Cymbopogon genus is worth not—Cymbopogon nardus, also known as citronella grass.This plant is not edible, but it has a pungent but pleasant odor that can be effective as an insect deterrent when grown in pots on patios or decks.Shear the ornamental grass to about 6 inches high at the end of winter, when plants are in their resting phase.Lemongrass plants will rebound quickly and send up new shoots when warm weather returns.Press the seeds lightly into a sterile potting mix, and keep moist until germination, which occurs usually within about 10 to 14 days.In cold climates, you can grow a single root division in a small container in a sunny windowsill to keep the plant going for next season's harvest.Choosing a potting soil premixed with a time-released fertilizer can save you an extra step in feeding your plants.Gardeners in zones 8 and 9 may find that it dies back to the ground in winter, then returns the following spring.In colder regions, it's possible to dig up clumps and plant them in containers to grow indoors in a bright, sunny location for the winter.Symptoms include brown spots or streaks on leaves, leading to plant death.
Lemon Grass Growing Guide
Lemongrass is a lovely fragrant plant, that is easy to take care of.Lemongrass tea is said to be a home remedy for certain conditions, because of its aromatic qualities, and its high concentration of antioxidants.East Indian is known for having deeper red stems, and thinner stocks.While West Indian have thicker greener stocks, and is more commonly used for culinary purposes.Grow lemongrass indoors year round in a very sunny window.If growing in containers, you’ll likely want at least 5 gallons of space for the plant to get to the size you want it to be.The best way to start a lemongrass plant is from root cuttings from well established stalks.Put the bottom inch in a glass of water and set them in a sunny window.Harvest entire stalks by slicing them off at soil level, below the swollen ends.You should not break them off by hand, it is better to cut them off, You might need to peel off the outer layer of the stalks before you use them if they are too firm or dry.The pleasing smell of lemongrass works well in back yards, along walkways or driveways, or even in your home. .