In this article we’ll show you how to grow lemongrass — even if you live in cooler climate regions. Honestly, there isn’t a perfect time of the year to do this as lemongrass is really hardy it will survive most seasons. I live in Italy in zone 8b and succeeded in overwintering lemon grass last year. 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). You can grow lemongrass from seed, but we do not recommend this method unless you’re a farmer looking to grow acres of lemongrass plants for minimal cost. When harvesting, wear thick gardening gloves and long sleeves. You can also chop them into 2″ chunks and freeze them for years, taking out however much you need for a recipe when the time comes. Privacy Policy. Then cut each stalk back to about 5″ tall, and plant them in small containers to overwinter indoors in a sunny window. Freshly harvested lemongrass stalks on the cutting board and ready for action. If you live in a colder climate zone where you have fewer than 5 frost-free months, you’ll want to get your lemongrass stalks or starts at least 2 months before your last frost date in spring. A native of India, you will have to live in at least zone 9 if you want to grow lemongrass outdoors. Then plant the lemongrass so the top of the root base is about 1″ below the soil surface. Plants can also be raised from stems bought in shops. Water it regularly. Pick the freshest stalk from your local supermarket or fresh food grocers, peel back any dead leaves and place in a glass of water on a sunny windowsill. Fertilize your lemongrass plants … I grew up in a small town in South Carolina that was not exactly known for its ethnic restaurants. Put the thick juicy stalk bases in a ziplock bag in your fridge veggie drawer until you’re ready to use them. Tyrant Farms is reader-supported. In cold-winter areas, move container-grown lemongrass indoors or to a sheltered location during the winter. 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. The best and easiest way to grow lemongrass is to purchase it directly from your grocery store. You can also root a stalk from the produce market in water. Harvesting involves cutting it with a sharp knife flush to the surface of the soil. A 5-10 gallon pot, bucket or grow bag will do the trick of growing lemongrass. Lemongrass plants thrive in all conditions but love the warmth so make sure they get enough sun. Lemongrass is one of the easiest plants to propagate. The white section of the stalk has the strongest flavour whereas the green leaves at the tips have a subtler flavour which is perfect for making your own lemongrass tea. If you surround your porch with lemongrass you might not have mosquitos hunkering down in your plants, but they’re still likely to fly to your porch from other locations when they smell you. © 2020 - Tyrant Farms. You can find her by the beach, cooking up a storm or adding to her abundant (some would say out of control) plant collection. Each of these plants started from a single lemongrass stalk, and will get much larger before first frost. Lemongrass is so hardy that it isn’t susceptible to lots of pests and bugs. This will help break down its cell walls, allowing more flavor to more quickly enter your food. Lemongrass is a tender perennial, meaning it will die back in colder climates. They’re never very happy under these conditions, but they live until spring and bounce into full gear as soon as they’re outdoors in optimal growing conditions. Move plants back indoors in late summer, putting it in a bright, cool position and reduce watering, keeping the compost just moist. Remember you’ll need to pull the stalk out of the ground to use in cooking so don’t use it all at once! “Tom Kha Gai” the waitress said. Once you have your lemongrass stalks, you can either: Nope, it doesn’t look very impressive at this stage, but this newly planted lemongrass stalk will be a giant plant in a few months time. Lemongrass thrives in Australian climates, here’s everything you need to know. Is lemongrass hard to grow? Otherwise you’re likely to get lots of little cuts on your hands and arms due to the sharp leaves. It will need protection from frost in these areas so choose a sheltered location or grow in a pot which can be moved around. Yes, but…. You now know how to grow lemongrass in your garden and how to use it. Food explorer, seed & soil geek, duck evangelist, writer, health nut, and entrepreneur. An added bonus is that it likely does have a host of medicinal benefits as well. Keep this in mind if you have young children or pets that might go bounding into the plant in your garden. Remove mature lemongrass stalks from this year’s plants before first frost – one stalk = one plant next year. If so, please pin this image to share the love! Kick off the growing season by mixing several inches aged compost or other rich organic matter into your native soil. This is how a single lemongrass stalk can quickly grow into a giant plant. This herb requires high levels of nitrogen for survival. While there, the family tradition was to go to a different ethnic restaurant as many nights as possible. Lemongrass Growing Conditions. Trim a few inches off the top of the lemongrass and remove any blades that may look dead. 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. A minimum temperature of 5C (40F) is ideal. Aaron is the former farm manager at Oak Hill Cafe & Farm, a no-till, permaculture, farm-to-table restaurant & farm located right down the street from his alma mater, Furman University, in Greenville, SC. Firstly, you can buy lemongrass seeds from bunnings which will take around 21 days to germinate. This part has the most flavor. How to grow American groundnuts in your garden, Potted citrus garden video tour (Zone 7b), Recipe: Sugar-free persimmon cranberry relish. As its name implies, lemongrass has the growth habit of a giant grass. Lemongrass and kiwano melons harvested before a frost. Also very nice for making sorbetto. As new growth appears in spring, feed plants weekly with a balanced liquid fertiliser. If you don’t have an Asian grocery or you want to get plants that already have established root systems, you can order lemongrass starter plants here. We recommend putting a 3″ deep layer of wood chips or mulch over the soil surface to protect the soil and help maintain even soil temps and moisture. Place plants in a sunny, sheltered position over summer and keep well watered. Lemongrass is a plant that really does require as much sun and warmth as possible. In Australia, you can harvest lemongrass year-round just be mindful that in winter it will take longer to grow back. A beautiful harvest of fresh organically-grown lemongrass. Lemongrass is one of the easiest plants to propagate. Just be sure not to pile the mulch directly against the lemongrass stems or you could rot the plants. As mentioned, lemongrass looks like an attractive tall grass, similar to pampas grass. How To Grow & Maintain Lemongrass Ideally lemongrass prefers regions with warm, dry winters and hot, wet summers but it does readily grow outside of these conditions eg as far south as Melbourne and inland Australia. Lemongrass Plant Profile. it grows easily in any warm climate (like Australia). You can plant lemongrass in all three of its life stages. Lemongrass plants can be grown in cooler climates by overwintering them in a protected environment. Then we cut each stalk back to about 5″ tall, and transplant them into small nursery pots. It is well suited to container growing, and ideal for greenhouse cultivation. When planting lemongrass in pots, one of the best things you can do for your plant is to harvest it frequently, as this encourages new growth.. and use as desired! Do lemongrass plants repel mosquitoes and other insects? How to Grow Lemongrass from Seeds Fill a seed tray with a moistened mixture of equal parts compost, cocopeat or coconut fiber fine and abrasive. If you look closely at this image of a single mature lemongrass stalk that was broken off from the parent plant, you can see the small light-colored new shoots emerging from the base. Two parts of the lemongrass plant are used for culinary purposes: A single lemongrass stalk with rapidly divide, creating a thick stand of grassy stalks within 2-3 months. Lemongrass cooking tip: cut your lemongrass stalks into 2″ chunks when using it for cooking. An easy way to accomplish this is to purchase intact stalks from the grocery store – you may need to visit a local Asian market to find lemongrass – and root cuttings from the lemongrass stalks. After a couple of weeks, you should see roots starting to grow, take your cutting and place it in the soil in your garden. Plant in a container and place in a south-facing window or under grow lights to encourage growth through winter. We’ve never had a long enough growing season where we live (Zone 7B) for our lemongrass plants to produce flowers. Online recipes abound for lemongrass, so be creative! Provide lemongrass with consistent moisture and water when the top inch becomes dry. We use our lemongrass every way imaginable: teas, flavorings for Asian soups and curries, juiced and turned into summer sorbets, and more. Just before our first fall freeze, we always dig up a few lemongrass stalks with roots on. Lemongrass maintenance consists of listening to your favorite music, enjoying lazy summer days at the beach or lake, and taking an occasional nap. In the produce section, pick out lemongrass stalks that have the most root base still attached. After a couple of weeks, you should see roots starting to grow, take your cutting and place it in the soil in your garden. Make sure this area has full sun as well as nutrient-dense and well-aerated soil. Thanks, Annemiek! We overwinter these plants indoors in a warm, sunny window. One night, when I was seven, we went to a Thai restaurant. Place the lemongrass stalks into a glass with a little bit of water. We start by putting a thick 8″+ layer of leaves over the top of the plants once we cut them back at final harvest. Light. Then you probably have access to all the lemongrass stalks you need to propagate your own plants. Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) is very closely related to citronella grass (Cymbopogon nardus and Cymbopogon winterianus). All Rights Reserved. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. We’ve never had a lemongrass plant be affected by plant disease or be eaten by insects. We’ve had them overwinter only during very mild winters. Easiest way to make sure you have some lemongrass to grow next year is to dig up and transplant one or two stalks (trimmed way back) with roots attached into small pots that you overwinter indoors before transplanting back out in the spring. Once you learn how to grow lemongrass and you get a season of growing experience under your belt, you’ll be surprised by how easy it is to grow! Grow your lemongrass in full sun, with plenty of water, in a rich, well-draining soil. 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). Growing lemongrass from cuttings is the preferred method of starting new plants. After growing lemongrass for over 10 years, we’ll share everything we know about how to grow lemongrass so you can cultivate your own new experiences and tend good memories, too! The ideal soil for growing lemongrass is moist and fertile loam soil. They look great in both pots and garden beds and can grow up to 1.2m tall and 80cm wide so make sure you give them room to grow. First, you’ll want to do a little planning… Here are a few common questions and answers about lemongrass to take into consideration before growing it: Nope, lemongrass is actually one of the easiest plants we’ve ever grown. Leaves will likely grow just a few inches, but you can harvest the fresh flavor. Magazine, WordPress (.com ), Daily harvest Express, and grow it outside the! 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