There is one vegetable that has really started to take pride of place in my kitchen. That is Lemongrass. The reason for this is because it is a staple ingredient of a lot of Thai and Chinese dishes which I love. Buying Lemongrass is very expensive. To save money I decided to grow it myself. I found it very easy to grow and so will you.
Lemongrass or Citronella as it is otherwise known is a tall perennial grass originating from Asia. It is very easy to grow from the lemongrass stalks you can buy at supermarkets. It has a mild citrus or lemon scent that really fills the house when used to cook with.
Grow Lemongrass from the Supermarket at home
One of the easiest ways to grow Lemongrass is from stalks from your supermarket. There are a few things to check when purchasing these Lemongrass stalks. Each of them needs to be in good condition, feel solid and also have some of the basal plate attached at the bottom. It is this basal plate that will produce roots.
When you are ready simply get a glass jar and put around an inch of water in the bottom and sit the Lemongrass into this water and leave it on a south-facing window sill. Change the water every few days. Around 2 weeks later you will start to see little roots appearing from the basal plate. Once these are long enough you can plant them into a pot of soil.
Allow the plants to establish and plant them out after the last frost date in your area. In very dry times ensure you water your lemongrass regularly. To learn more about this procedure check out the video below where I show you all you need to follow this process step by step.
Grow Lemongrass From seed at home
Lemongrass from seed is straight forward. However, it needs to be started early in February as this will give the plants time to establish before they are put into their permanent homes.
Sow thinly into seed starter mix and cover with a fine layer of vermiculite, this will stop the light getting to the seed but allow the seed to germinate quickly. Place this into a propagator to germinate. Coming from tropical Asia it requires 17˚c or 62˚f to germinate. When seedlings are big enough, transplant to their own individual pots and grow on until the last frost passes.
Is Lemongrass hard to grow?
As you have just read in the last two processes Lemongrass is extremely easy to grow. Just follow a few tips to ensure you have a good crop when it’s needed.
- At least 17˚c or 62˚f to germinate
- Keep warm during seedling stage
- Provide plenty of water when growing
- Place in a bright sunny position
- Feed with a high nitrogen feed
- Ensure soil is well-draining soil
Can you grow Lemongrass in containers?
Yes, lemongrass lends itself well to growing in containers. You must choose a large container as the root system will get large and congested otherwise. Ensure you are watering on a regular basis and place in bright locations.
What are the growing conditions for Lemongrass?
I wanted to cover some of the growing conditions for lemongrass even though I have touched on it throughout the blog.
- Sow into seed pots or trays in early Feb
- Not frost tolerant so will need to be taken indoors if temps drop below -9˚c or 48˚f.
- Feeding is not normally required, However, High nitrogen liquid feed can be used if the plant requires it
- Plant out plants with a spacing of 2 ft. These can get big
- Can be companion planted with Basil, Corriander or Echinacea
- Harvesting, leave the stalks to become thick and only remove the outer part of the plant.
- End of summer divide the plant and put into pots. Place on a sunny windowsill or conservatory to grow through winter
- If plant struggles, check the soil drainage as this can kill these plants if they get waterlogged.
Can I grow Lemongrass in cold climates?
Yes, lemongrass will grow in cold climates during the summer months. But you can extend this by growing it in a greenhouse or polytunnel. You may be better off starting your plants from cuttings or with stalks from the supermarket to save time.
Can Lemongrass survive the winter?
Lemongrass is only hardy down to -9˚c or 48˚f. if your area has temperatures that drop below this then you would be much better off taking them indoors. If you can not dig them up, or do not have the room then take a small split from the main plants and take this indoors through the winter as a backup should your main plants die.
How do you protect Lemongrass in the winter?
Leaving lemongrass out throughout winter is not really an option unless you’re in a tropical region. Instead, dig it up and place into a box or pot. Cut back the foliage to around 3 inches above the roots. Keep the plants cool dark in a frost-free environment.
A garage with a window would be an ideal location. Do not allow the plants to freeze at any point. Water once every 6 to 8 weeks during winter to prevent the root system drying out completely. In early spring awaken the plant by bringing it out into the light and watering as normal.
Can you plant Lemongrass with other plants?
Lemongrass can be companion planted with Basil, Corriander or Echinacea. Each of these plants require similar growing conditions to Lemongrass. Growing plants in this manner can save space if space is a commodity in your garden.
Other Related Questions
What other way can you use lemongrass at home?
Lemongrass has many other uses other than cooking. The following list is not exhaustive but will just give you some room for thought.
- Used as a swarm lure
- Can be made into medicines
- You can make lemongrass tea
- Make essential oils
- Can be made into shampoo
As you can see there are other things that can be done with Lemongrass. I grow it for two reasons, Firstly for cooking, and secondly for making swarm lures. Did you know that lemongrass is the closest thing to the queen bee pheromones? This is perfect to use as a lure when attracting honeybee swarms. Did you know I’m a beekeeper too?
What are the benefits of using lemongrass?
It has been reported that consuming lemongrass or using its products can help with the following
- Relieving anxiety.
- Lowering cholesterol.
- Preventing infection.
- Boosting oral health.
- Relieving pain.
- Boosting red blood cell levels.
- Relieving bloating.
Lemongrass is very easy to grow. Its versatility in the kitchen and home makes this plant worth growing at home. Not only that, these grasses have decorative value and can be used to make a more attractive garden
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Remember folks. You Reap What You Sow!