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Lawn & Garden

How to Grow Lemongrass

 

Every so often, we are treated with a special plant from Bonnie Plants called Lemongrass.  This tropical herb has a strong lemon citrus taste that is highly sought after in Asian cooking which has become very popular in many areas of the United States and especially here in Southern California.

 

Landscaping with Lemongrass

 

Lemongrass forms a tall grassy clump that can be 3-5 feet tall and can have the appearance of ornamental grasses.  This is what makes lemongrass able to fulfill a role in sustainable landscaping.  You will be able to have a beautiful landscape and be able to harvest it for a great meal as well.  You can start to harvest your lemongrass when it gets to be about 12 inches tall and the bases of the plants are at least ½ inch thick.  Cut your stalks at ground level or you can pull the entire stalk out.

 

Harvesting Lemongrass

 

Lemongrass is harvested for its bulbous stem base, similar to leeks and onions but the stems can also be clipped for infusing tea can soup stock.  Be careful when cutting the tops of the plant since the edges of the leaves can be razor sharp!  The edible portion of the lemongrass is in the bulbous bottom part of the stalk which resembles a green onion or a scallion. 

 

 

Climate

 

Since Lemon Grass is tropical it will only survive year round in zones 8 and warmer.  Depending on your location, lemon grass can take at least 100 days and sometimes up to 4-8 months to be ready for harvest.  Plant in late spring after the last frost for a summer harvest.  This grass can be grown in planting beds or pots in the colder climates and then easily stored during the winter and still keep its prized lemon flavor. 

 

Caring for Lemongrass

 

When planting lemongrass, be sure to choose a full sun location and plant in a well-drained-soil.  You will need to amend your soil if it is more clay based as this plant will easily die in a soil that stays wet like clay does.

 

 

Never let the roots of your lemongrass roots dry out.  To achieve a steady growth, lemongrass will need to have a soil that is constantly moist.  Be sure to fertilize your lemongrass about every two weeks during its growing season using a liquid fertilizer such as Bonnie Plants Herb & Vegetable Plant Food or a fish emulsion.   

 

If you are putting your lemon grass in a pot, be sure to choose one that is at least 12inches across or use a 5 gallon bucket or #7 nursery pot.  Lemongrass can grow tall and smaller pots can tip over easily in windy weather.  It is best to place your containers in a semi protected but sunny area or use 15 gallon containers which will have more weight to them.

 

If you are in the colder regions below zone 8, you can overwinter your lemongrass indoors by digging up a few stalks, cutting them down to just a few inches tall and then planting them in smaller pots if they have been in the ground or just placing your containers indoors.  Be sure to choose a south facing window when placing your lemongrass containers inside. 

 

  

 

Keep the soil just barely moist because this plant will grow very slowly in the cooler winter weather.  Be sure to avoid placing your lemongrass pots where the air from your heater will blow on it since this dry air can dehydrate your lemongrass quickly.

 

You can also store your lemongrass in your cool dark basement.   Only water just a few times over the winter, just enough to keep the roots alive.  Once spring arrives and the temperatures stay above 40F, bring your lemongrass pots outside and begin regular watering. 

 

When overwintering your lemongrass indoors, be aware of Spider Mites which can attack your plant.  You can treat with Neem Oil, Insecticidal Soap or even SpinosadThe most effective treatment will be with the Neem Oil.

 

 

Please share your experience with growing Lemongrass and let us know if you have any questions.

 

Rick_HD_OC

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Posted 2015-05-01T18:49:43+0000  by Rick_HD_OC Rick_HD_OC
 
 

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