Most gardeners consider grass in the garden to be a weed, and in many situations, this is correct, but lemongrass merits a place in the yard.
What exactly is lemon grass?
Lemon grass is a lovely clump of grass with tall stems that wave softly in the breeze. Growing lemongrass in the yard will enhance the garden’s vertical appeal.
And, if you select the Cymbopogon. Citrus kind may be used as a tea or in cooking, making it beneficial in a variety of practical ways.
There are numerous types of lemongrass, one of which is thought to have originated in Malaysia, where it is widely used in cooking, as a tea, as a medicinal plant, and as a scent.
Other types, however, come from different nations, such as Cambodia and India. These are also used in the same way, but the C. The citratus type is better suited to cooking.
Native lemon grass kinds in Australia include Lemon Scented Grass – C. Silky Oil Grass – C. Ambiguous; Silky Oil Grass – C. silky heads – C. bombycinus. Others include obtectus.
These, however, are not good for cooking. C. Citratus can be obtained in specialized nurseries or cultivated from what is purchased in the grocery for cooking.
Other lemongrass variants can be found in Egypt, India, Brazil, Malaysia, Cambodia, Africa, Sri Lanka, Burma, and Thailand.
Lemongrass health benefits
Lemon grass provides numerous health benefits as well. Ben Gurion University in Israel discovered in 2006 that the citral in lemon grass attacked cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone.
The amount required was minimal – roughly equal to one cup of lemongrass tea per day, prepared with a gram of lemon grass.
Lemon grass, also known as Gavati Chaha in traditional Indian medicine, is used to treat coughs and colds.
Lemon grass tea has a slight calming effect and can be used to aid sleep.
Cooking with lemongrass
For generations, lemongrass has been employed in traditional eastern cookery. As the globe’s population expands, its use is progressively expanding to the Western world, where discerning chefs utilize it in a variety of delectable meals such as soups, curries, fish, poultry, seafood dishes, and teas.
Lemon grass gives a tangy lemon flavor to these meals that can’t be matched by using lemons alone. Lemon grass is a key component in Thailand’s favorite soup, Tom Yum.
When buying lemongrass for cooking, look for it in numerous stalks that are knotted together. Choose stalks that have a crisp, rather than a rubbery, feel.
Before adding it to soups and stews, bruise it by bending the stalks.
Pull the entire stem from the base of the plant while collecting your own lemongrass from the garden. Remove the tips and roots and use the stem’s base – the white or pale green/yellow area, peeling away the tough outer layer. The tops can be used to make tea.
Lemon grass must be sliced or pounded using a mortar and pestle or minced up in a food processor if it is to be consumed in a dish rather than used for seasoning.
Learn about lemongrass weather conditions
Lemon grass is a subtropical plant that requires both heat and water to thrive. It is possible to cultivate it in temperate climates by creating a microclimate in the garden.
In other words, grow it against a sheltered wall or brick fence that both retains and reflects heat. Allow lots of space around the plant because it will grow to be over a meter tall and about the same width in perfect conditions.
If lemongrass isn’t available at your local nursery, try growing some from supermarket produce. Remove any wilted leaves but let the roots alone.
Place it in a glass of water on a windowsill or warm patio where it will get some sun, and leave it there until the roots are an inch or more long. It can then be moved to a warm spot in the garden or preserved in a container for the winter.
Lemongrass, an Australian native, is beautiful in the garden but not ideal for cooking.
Lemon grass has been grown all the way down to Melbourne, Australia. As a result, mature plants can withstand mild cold but cannot withstand drying out.
The more water it receives, the happier and larger the plant becomes. It also requires fertile soil.
When is the ideal season to plant lemongrass?
Lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus) plants are simple to grow in the summer.
These tropical hot summer perennials, however, are not forgiving in cold climatic winter months. When temperatures drop below 50°F (10°C), their long green sword-like blades begin to exhibit tell-tale indications of browning and wilted leaves; it is time to transplant them indoors.
Begin by identifying all of your sunny areas inside your home that have enough space to accommodate the plants.
Other things you should know
According to the ASPCA, Lemongrass can induce gastrointestinal trouble in cats and dogs, as well as problems breathing in horses. Plants should be kept out of reach of pets.
While lemongrass is fine to grow in your garden, even if you have a dog, you don’t want your dog to eat it. Dogs aren’t herbivores, and their digestive systems aren’t built to manage vast amounts of plant materials.
An intestinal blockage might occur if you consume too much lemongrass.
Choose a large container with a diameter of at least 12 inches for growing your lemongrass. This is done to allow for a healthy root system as well as to keep top-heavy plants from tipping over.
In chilly locations, a single root division can be grown in a tiny pot on a sunny windowsill to keep the plant growing until the next season’s harvest.
Growing plants from seeds
Lemongrass seeds sprout quickly when planted in warm, moist soil. Gently press seeds into the sterilized potting mix and keep moist until germination begins, which normally takes 10 to 14 days. Thin plants to a foot apart when they are about 3 inches tall.
Pests and diseases that are common
Lemon grass is prone to lemon grass rust, a fungus that grows when conditions get overly humid and moist. Rust can be identified by brown, yellow, and red streaks on the plant’s leaves.
You can solve the problem by trimming away damaged leaves and leaving enough space between plants for optimal airflow.
Except for one persistent aphid, most pests avoid this plant. Yellow Sugarcane Aphid (Sipha Flava) pest is 2 millimeters long and yellow. It suckers the sap from the leaves, resulting in yellow or brown patches.
If you see this pest on your plant, spray the aphids with water or use neem oil or insecticidal soap to get rid of them.
Spider mites, on the other hand, will occasionally damage plants that are overwintering indoors.
Lemongrass creates a tight clump that is tough to dig into as it grows. In the early spring, remove roots with a sharp spade or hatchet. Slice it like a pie, then pry the root slices free.
Keep an eye on potted plants. With enough water, roots can quickly fill and burst a too-small pot.
Can I buy lemongrass seed?
Here are the top 3 best lemongrasses you can buy today:
How to prepare lemongrass stalks
- The stalks will need to be rooted. Locate the bulbous end of the stalk, measure 5 inches up, and clip the tops away; the bulb end is required to begin rooting. Use the tops to cook with or brew your favorite teas.
- Remove the first two layers from each clipped bulb stalk and set them in a glass jar filled with tap water.
- For three weeks, place the filled container near a sunny window. Replace the water or replace it once a week until roots appear.
In a few weeks, you’ll observe roots forming at the base of each bulb. When the roots have grown to 2 inches in length, you can start transplanting them outside.
How to get ready for and plant lemongrass in the garden
With no threat of frost, late spring to summer is the perfect time to plant lemon grass. Choose a location in your garden that will receive at least 5 hours of full solar light per day; they will grow in tropical hot, humid conditions.
- Give plants plenty of room to spread out.
- You’ll need to dig a 6-inch-deep, 4-inch-wide hole in the dirt.
- Fill the bottom of your newly dug hole with 3 inches of rich compost, then plant three of the traditional bulbs, then fill the soil around the stalks to the top with the garden soil mix (you can use a mix ideal for vegetable gardening, available at your local nursery or garden center), leaving two inches of the tops visible.
- Water every other day to keep the area moist and well-drained; gently mulch if desired to maintain a good moisture balance.
Long, thin, green knife blades will sprout in a matter of weeks. They can grow up to 3′ to 5′ tall, with leaves that arch over in layers, adding a special touch to your seasonal landscape.
If you live in a cold climate, you can “winterize” them by digging them up, pulling back the grass leaves, cutting the tops down to the stalks, and planting them in planting pots.
During the winter, keep them near a bright window and water sparingly. The cut leaves can be used to make excellent Asian dishes, teas, potpourris, and fragrance sachets.
How to care for lemongrass plants
When first attempting to uproot them, a pitchfork is the finest tool to use.
- Separate the stalk bulb clusters to accommodate a large plant pot; many pots may be required.
- Fill the bottom of the container pot with a half inch of perlite, then fill up to a third of the way with a well-draining good organic compost soil mix, then position the lemon stalks and continue to fill with soil, leaving four inches of space on top.
- Water the newly potted plant, ensuring that the water drains and absorbs rapidly (otherwise, the soil combination may require more perlite; bulbs will rot in poorly draining soil). Lemon grass grows well in moist, but not wet, soil. If you grow lemon grass in a garden, water it every few days or anytime the top inch of soil becomes dry. Lemon grass planted in pots often need more frequent watering, most likely every one to two days during the spring and summer. Water the plant less regularly over the winter when it is dormant. During the spring and summer, you can fertilize lemon grass every few weeks using water-soluble plant food.
- Place your potted lemon grass plants indoors in bright, warm settings away from drafts and heat vents.
- Before each watering, allow the plant soil to dry thoroughly to the touch.
Pruning lemongrass plants is a wonderful way to keep them at a reasonable size and encourage new development.
Lemongrass plants that thrive for more than one season benefit from an annual haircut to keep them neat and eliminate dead leaves. It also grows swiftly if the proper growing conditions are met.
If you use lemongrass frequently in your cooking, this may be enough to keep your plant from growing overrun. Otherwise, you may need to prune the plant in order to keep it healthy.
Lemon grass is best pruned in early spring before the growing season begins. You can remove any brown or dead-looking stalks at the root with clean, sharp shears or gently tug at them if they have already separated.
Shear your plants to around 6 inches tall at the end of winter when they are resting. When the weather warms up again, lemongrass plants will soon recover and sprout new shoots.
Lemongrass is highly forgiving and can be considerably reduced. If you choose, you can cut it down to as small as 3 feet (.9 m.) high and prune it on a regular basis to preserve it that size.
It can grow to be 6 feet (1.8 m.) tall and 4 feet (1.2 m.) broad if given sufficient sun, water, and fertilizer.
Do I still need to prune if I use it enough for cooking?
Cutting lemongrass stalks for cooking helps to keep the plant in control, but lemongrass grows so quickly that extra pruning is frequently required.
Lemongrass pruning in colder climates
If you reside in a colder region, your lemongrass may go dormant, with all its leaves turning brown. If this is the case, wait until early spring to prune the lemongrass and remove all of the leaves down to the sensitive white section of the stalk.
This may appear to be excessive when done, but new growth should replace all of the destroyed material within a short period.
How to pick Lemongrass plants
- Locate the base of the stalks, where the bulbs and roots have lodged in the ground, then loosen around the perimeter with a pitchfork until the entire clustered plant can be taken out of the earth ground.
- The lemon stalk measures eight to twelve inches from each root base till the grass blades spread out; use a sharp pruning shear to cut across each stalk (see photo image), collecting the grass blade clippings.
- Gather a group of grass blades with one hand and wrap them with a garden wire twine with the other; cut bunches about two inches in diameter and around 6-8 inches in length; you will soon have finished the procedure of harvesting scented lemon grass blades.
How to store lemongrass
Store the pieces in a plastic zip-top bag and place them in the freezer. They can be stored for up to a year.
To use, take the frozen pieces out of the freezer, defrost them, and cut them into the size you require. It can then be utilized in the same way as fresh herbs.
Plants can also be dehydrated. If you live in a dry region, cut the stalks and leaves into 3 to 6-inch pieces and lay them in a dry position on a wire cooling rack.
In one to two weeks, the plants will dehydrate. When there is no moisture left in them, and they feel quite stiff, they are ready.
Discard any plant material that develops mold; this is an indication that your climate or present weather conditions are too humid to allow the herbs to air dry.
If this is the case, drying in the oven or a food dehydrator may be a preferable option. Dry lemongrass can be stored in an airtight bag or container in a cold, dry place for up to 6 months.
Set your oven to its lowest temperature (typically warm or around 180oF) and arrange 3-6 inch chunks of leaves and shoots on a baking sheet to dehydrate. The plants will be completely dry in 2 to 3 hours.
Another approach is to use a dehydrator.
Lemon grass plants can be grown indoors in warm sunny areas, and new grass blade shoots will begin to form once collected from the outdoors.
You can continue to employ the tender young leaves by clipping them or allowing them to flourish, giving a dramatic indoor appeal to your home.
Plant them in your garden in late spring, when temperatures begin to exceed and remain 70 degrees during the day, and there is no chance of night frost.
How much light does lemon grass require?
Lemon grass is a sun-loving plant, so whether you’re growing it outside in a garden or indoors in a pot, make sure it gets lots of strong, direct sunshine. This is a great plant for a sunny spot in your garden.
Lemon grass grows swiftly in these conditions. The plant will live in a place with bright yet indirect sunlight, but it will grow at a slower rate.
Is lemongrass a biennial or a perennial plant?
Lemon grass is a perennial, which means it will grow again in the spring after being dormant all winter. However, because lemon grass is a tropical plant, it cannot live in temperatures below freezing.
If you have lemon grass planted outside and live in a region that gets frost and freezing temperatures during the winter, you will need to dig it up and bring it indoors to keep it alive.
Alternatively, you may simply replant in the spring.
What should I do with lemon grass plants in the winter?
Dig up a few stalks of your lemon grass plant before the first frost, trim them to a few inches tall, and plant them in a tiny pot. You can store your plant in a cool, dark spot, such as a cellar, watering it seldom and allowing it to go dormant.
If you want to maintain utilizing your lemon grass throughout the winter, keep it in a warm location with as much bright sunlight as possible and keep the soil moist.
Is it possible to freeze lemon grass?
Yes. If you harvest more lemon grass than you can use at once, or if you simply want to have some on hand, lemon grass freezes well for up to six months.
Trim the leaves and root end before placing the stalks on a cookie sheet, equally spaced, so they don’t freeze together. After the stalks have been frozen, store them in a freezer-safe container.
Does lemongrass need sun or shade?
Lemongrass should be planted in full sun and should receive at least 6 hours of direct sunshine every day. However, it will grow just as well in 3-5 hours.
Why is my lemongrass plant drooping?
Lack of water and/or nutrients is the most obvious cause of a lemongrass plant turning brown. Lemongrass is native to locations with high humidity and regular rainfall.
Therefore it may require more water in the home garden than other plants. Water and spray the plants on a regular basis.
Does lemongrass repel mosquitoes?
This magnificent and bushy grass not only looks fantastic on a patio or in the ground in your yard, but it also works well as a natural mosquito repellent.
Citronella, the key element in natural mosquito repellent candles, is contained within lemongrass.
How often should lemongrass be watered?
If you grow lemon grass in a garden, water it every few days or anytime the top inch of soil becomes dry.
Lemon grass planted in pots often need more frequent watering, most likely every one to two days during the spring and summer.
How do I bring lemongrass back to life?
Because plants develop slowly in the winter, keep the soil barely damp. Another option is to store a cut-down pot of lemongrass in a cold, dark spot, such as a cellar.
Water only a couple of times during the winter to keep the roots alive.
Does lemon grass grow back each year?
Lemongrass roots are often hardy in USDA zones 8b and 9, and the plant may return year after year as a perennial in these zones.
Lemongrass will not survive the winter in zones colder than USDA zone 8b and must be grown as an annual in the garden.
Why is my lemongrass not coming back?
When temperatures fall below 45°F, lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) goes into dormancy. Lemongrass slows down in winter and does not produce as many new leaves each week in USDA Hardiness Zones 10 and above.
The plant is still green, but after a long growing season, the leaves will be a little scraggly.
Last update on 2022-09-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API