Lemon Grass - Seeds
You can also use lemon grass in soups, stews and stuffings. It has a fresh lemony scent and a light flavor without the tart bite of the lemon fruit. Lemon grass teas has become a very popular drink. This herb has a slight, fresh lemony flavor.
Lemon grass has long, slender grayish-green leaves and a fibrous base. The oil of lemon grass is used in many perfumes, soaps and body lotions. The plant has been shown to have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.
Cymbopogon (lemongrass) is a genus of about 55 species of grasses, native to warm temperate and tropical regions of the Old World and Oceania. It is a tall perennial grass. Lemongrass is native to India and tropical Asia. It is widely used as an herb in Asian cuisine. It has a subtle citrus flavor and can be dried and powdered, or used fresh. It is commonly used in teas, soups, and curries. It is also suitable for use with poultry, fish, beef, and seafood.
Research shows that lemongrass oil has antifungal properties. Despite its ability to repel insects, its oil is commonly used as a "lure" to attract honey bees.
Common name: lemon grass, lemongrass, barbed wire grass, silky heads, citronella grass, cha de Dartigalongue, fever grass, tanglad, hierba Luisa, or gavati chaha, amongst many others.
Height: Average of 2-3 feet, although it can grow up to 9 ft. in height in tropical regions.
Difficulty level: Easy
Planting & Care
Sunlight: Lemongrass requires full sun and warm weather to thrive. If you don t have an area that receives six to eight hours of sun, lemongrass will not grow well in your yard.
Soil: Plant lemongrass in loose, fertile soil that drains well, such as potting soil or loam mixed with compost (2 parts soil to 1 part compost). Clay soils retain too much moisture to be well suited for lemongrass and can lead to rot and nutrient deficiency. If you are planting lemongrass in a garden bed, leave 3 feet of space between individual plants. If growing lemongrass in a pot, choose a container that is at least 16 inches across. Five-gallon buckets also work well as lemongrass containers.
Water: Water frequently. It’s very difficult to overwater a lemongrass plant (it is accustomed to constant moisture) but it will not tolerate dried out roots. No need to keep the soil muddy, but definitely keep it moist. In dry areas, mist constantly with a spray bottle.
Fertilizer: Lemongrass needs lots of nitrogen in order to thrive. Use a nitrogen-rich fertilizer every few weeks but be careful if you are planting lemongrass amongst other plants, as many do not do well with too much nitrogen.
- WHEN TO GROW Lemongrass is a perennial in growing zones 10 and warmer but can be grown as an annual in cooler climates, though it may be difficult to grow outside in zones 8 and colder.
- In general, you’ll plant lemongrass after the danger of frost has passed, in late spring for a late summer harvest.
- Lemongrass takes at least 100 days and sometimes up to 4-8 months to be ready for harvest.
- WHERE TO GROW Lemongrass prefers warm, moist and humid conditions.
- Grow lemongrass outdoors only in hardiness zones 9 and warmer.
- Grow lemongrass indoors year round in a very sunny window.
- If growing in containers, you’ll likely want at least 5 gallons of space to have a worthwhile lemongrass plant.
- Lemongrass should be grown in full sun and should receive a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight per day.
- SOIL Lemongrass should be planted in loamy, fertile soil.
- Avoid heavy clay soils.
- Fast drainage is key.
- Add lots of mature compost before planting.
- It will tolerate a wide range of soil pH, 5.
- PLANTING Lemongrass is best started from root cuttings from established stalks.
- The stalks should be firm and green.
- Put the bottom inch in a glass of water and set them in a sunny window.
- Roots should begin to sprout within two weeks.
- Plant in soil once the roots are 1 – 2 inches long, usually after about 4 weeks.
- Set out transplants 3 feet apart and keep in mind they can grow 6 feet tall, though you can always trim them shorter if need.
- Plant into compost enriched soil.
- Wait until after the last frost before transplanting.
- You can also purchase nursery starts from a reputable source and transplant into your garden or growing pots.
Harvesting: Begin harvesting lemongrass once it has reached at least 1 foot tall. Harvest entire stalks by slicing them off at soil level, below the swollen ends. Harvest from the outside of the plant and be sure the stalks are at least ½ inch thick. Do not break them off by hand. You may need to peel the outer layer of the stalks before use if they are too firm.
- Winter Care If a cold front is predicted, protect your in-ground lemongrass with blankets or bring your containers indoors until the weather passes.
- For cold winter areas, grow lemongrass in containers and bring the containers indoors throughout the winter.
- The plants need to be kept near a south-facing window to receive as much sun as possible.
The leaves and the oil are used to make medicine.
Lemongrass is used for treating digestive tract spasms, stomachache, high blood pressure, convulsions, pain, vomiting, cough, achy joints (rheumatism), fever, the common cold, and exhaustion. It is also used to kill germs and as a mild astringent.
Some people apply lemongrass and its essential oil directly to the skin for headache, stomachache, abdominal pain, and muscle pain.
By inhalation, the essential oil of lemongrass is used as aromatherapy for muscle pain.
In food and beverages, lemongrass is used as a flavoring. For example, lemongrass leaves are commonly used as “lemon” flavoring in herbal teas.
In manufacturing, lemongrass is used as a fragrance in soaps and cosmetics. Lemongrass is also used in making vitamin A and natural citral.