How to Grow and Care for Lemongrass

Lemongrass

Quick Overview

Plant Type: Perennials
Family: Poaceae
Sun Exposure: Direct sunlight
Watering:
Colors: Light vibrant green
Size: 2 to 4 feet
Hardiness Zones: 8-11
Soil Type: Rich and loamy
Soil pH: Neutral; 6.8-7.2
Propagation: By dividing clumps
Toxicity: Toxic to dogs, toxic to cats

The lemongrass plant is a popular ornamental grass. You are likely familiar with the plant’s scent and use in the kitchen. It may seem like these plants would be difficult to grow and care for but as it turns out, the lemongrass plant is a rather low maintenance plant to care for.

If you live in an area that is warm and sunny more often than not, growing your own plant will be easy. Even if you live in an area that sees a colder climate, you can still grow lemongrass. In fact, these plants thrive in containers. It is also not all that picky when it comes to water, as long as it is not sitting in soggy soil. The soil should be loamy and rich in nutrients. You can add nutrition to your soil with occasional fertilization during the growing season. Pruning is another rather simple task for lemongrass growers. Doing so once  year is important, but anything other than that is a personal preference. You can even harvest your grass and use it in your kitchen!

Are you ready to grow your own lemongrass plant? Follow our guide below for growing your own happy and healthy plant.

lemongrass

About the Lemongrass Plant

The Cymbopogon citratus, better known as the lemongrass, is an easy plant to manage. These plants are native to Sri Lanka and India. It is ornamental grass that can grow up to five feet tall if well taken care of. In most situations, your plant will be about 2-4 feet tall. It is a fast-growing plant that is perfect for filling big spaces in your garden. You could even grow these plants to border your herb garden. These grasses do not bloom flowers.

The Lemongrass is the optimal plant for those who like to eat what they grow, in fact it can be harvested and consumed by the grower. This plant has a strong citrus flavor and is often used in various Asian dishes. If you enjoy using the lemongrass herb in your cooking and have gotten tired of trying to find it at your local grocery store, growing it yourself is easy!

It is important to note that these plants are toxic to pets. Do not place them in an area your pets frequent to avoid accidental poisoning.

Cymbopogon citratus

How to Grow Lemongrass

Growing your plant is a rather simple task and you can place them in the ground for an annual bloom. If you live in a warm area, plant it outdoors since it love hot weather and thrive in an environment that provides heat. Fear not, if you live in a colder climate, you can still grow the lemongrass plant. Plant your Cymbopogon citratus in a container and make sure to put your plant in a sheltered area. They do not like weather that is below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, so make sure you move them to a protected area before cold weather kicks in.

Your plant will be happy in a container as long as the container has a drain hole. When placing it in a pot, fill it with about 8 inches of fresh potting soil. The crown of the plant should sit slightly below the surface. Once your plant is in the pot, place it somewhere sunny. We recommend a windowsill or an outdoor patio. Make sure you water well after the initial planting.

Full sun is best for these plants so when placing your Lemongrass directly into the ground, do it in a full bright area. You also need to remove any weeds in the area you are planning to place your plant before doing so. Once you dig a hole and place your plant in, make sure the root system is a little bit below the level of the soil. If you are placing multiple plants, ensure they are at least 24 inches apart.

You can also grow lemongrass easy from seed. It just takes a bit longer than buying and planting an established grass.

lemongrass

Propagating Your Plant

Since the Lemongrass grows in clumps, it’s easy to divide and propagate and you can divide your plant when harvesting it to save time. What you’ll do is dig it up and take a look at the bulb-like root base. These bulb-like rooted areas have the ability to become new clumps of lemongrass. You can replant these bulbs. It is recommended to plant 5 or 6 bulbs at a time to make the grass look bigger than it would with 1 bulb. The bulbs will break apart easily, making the process something even a new gardener can do.

Lemongrass Varieties

The lemongrass plant is part of a genus that has over 50 varieties as members of its family. There are a few different types of lemongrass that are popular in nurseries. The citronella variety makes the infamous citronella oil that is used as an insect repellant. The East Indian lemongrass is another popular variety. This is the lemongrass that has a pleasant citrus scent and harvested as an herb.

lemongrass

Caring For Your Lemongrass Plant

Watering Your Lemongrass

When you first grow your lemongrass plant, you will need to keep its soil moist. It likes wet but not soggy soil in the beginning. Once it is established, it is drought tolerant. To keep it happy, have a thin layer of mulch in your soil to help preserve moisture. You want to  prevent the soil from drying out completely. If you’re unsure when to water your plant, try sticking your finger into the soil. If it is dry up to your knuckle, it’s time to water your lemongrass.

Pruning Your Plant

You will not need to prune your plant until it is established. If your plant lives past one growing season, you will want to prune it. You should do this once a year. This will allow you to cut down the size and remove dead foliage. These plants can grow quick, so pruning can come down to personal preference as well.

You should give your lemongrass a light shearing in the winter months. Since these plants grow fast, they will bounce back well come summertime. Cutting them down can help with growth when the hotter months roll around.

Soil and Fertilizer

These plants like a rich and loamy soil. In order to keep your plant happy, you might want to mix several things together. A combination of compost, manure, and leaf mold will enhance your plant’s soil and keep the grass thriving.

Your lemongrass plant will need a fertilizer. Any grass variety will need a nutrient-rich fertilizer to keep it in its best condition. You should use a slow-release fertilizer. These will allow your plant to consistently have nutrients throughout the growing season.

Light

Your plant will need a lot of sunlight. These plants are native to a tropical area, so they do their best in an environment that mimics that. Your new grass grows best in at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. If you attempt to grow the lemongrass plant in a shaded area, you will see that it grows slower. It will also attract pests without the sun.

Cymbopogon citratus

Harvesting Your Lemongrass

You can harvest your plant regardless of how long it has been in your garden. Lemongrass can be harvested at a young age without hurting future growth. Remove individual stakes from your plant, as well as the roots and clumps, then, simply remove the outer leaves and enjoy lemongrass in your kitchen.

Lemongrass Diseases and Pests

These plants are not immune to disease and pests, unfortunately. However, what they do attract is rather easy to avoid. Rust fungus is something that can affect your plant. You will know it is infected by the fungus if your lemongrass has brown spots or streaks on its leaves. This will cause the plant to die. You can avoid this by making sure your plant is watered at the soil level.

Some pests may be drawn to the grass if it is not planted in a proper area. If in a shaded area, your plant may experience some issues with pests. It’s easy to avoid this by planting it in a sunny spot in your garden. Another option is keeping it in a container where you can monitor the amount of sun it gets.

Takeaways

The lemongrass plant is a fast-growing addition to your garden. It requires little maintenance. If you enjoy using the plants you grow in your garden in the kitchen, lemongrass is for you. You can make everything from tea to seafood dishes with your plant.

These plants are easy to manage when given the right environment to grow. A lot of sun, good soil, and enough water will lead to happy and healthy plants.

If you are ready to add a lemongrass plant to your garden, share this post on social media! If you think this guide will be helpful for your buddy with a green thumb, make sure to send it to them. Happy gardening!