All About Lemon Grass

lemon grass

Lemon Grass [ Cymbopogon citratus ]

Originally native to grasslands in Southeast Asia, lemon grass is now cultivated in many tropical regions, including Guatemala, the West Indies (Antilles and Caribbean area), and the Philippines. It is used as a culinary herb and in distillation for its essential oil. The herb is a popular digestive aid in Asia.

Lemon grass requires warm temperatures and is not frost hardy, often dying very quickly if temperatures drop below 50 F. Grow lemon grass in the summer, and bring the plants indoors in late September. Lemon grass must have moist, fertile soil and full sun. Mist the leaves often in winter as it likes humid conditions.

Parts used are the leaves and stems. Propagate by root division in late spring. You can also grow lemon grass from seed. Check online specialty stores that sell the seeds or rooted cuttings.

Growth habit: under ideal conditions, lemon grass reaches an impressive height of 3 feet. Lemon grass grows quickly, forming clumps from the base of the plant. It is considered a perennial in Florida and California, but not in areas that have frost or nighttime temperatures below freezing. Lemon grass can be grown in heated green houses. A greenhouse is an ideal place to start cuttings or seeds in late March (for the colder zones).

Many Asian supermarkets sell lemon grass as a culinary herb. The leaves and stems may be chopped and made into teas and used to flavor drinks, broth and clear soups. A staple in Asian cooking, lemon grass has a delicious and delicate flavor. Stir fry the tender shoots with bean sprouts, water chestnuts and thin slices of fresh ginger.

Blessed be sweet ones.

~ Meadow Walker

2 Comments on All About Lemon Grass

  1. Do you know if it is a good idea to use grocery store lemongrass to propagate?

    • Hi Sarah,

      I think it would be okay to try and root them in soil. Just make sure they have some roots on the stems.

      Place the lemongrass in water when you bring it home to help rehydrate the stems. If you’re planning to grow them in planters or pots, use premium potting soil. Keep the lemongrass well watered, and place them in the shade for a few days to allow the plants to adjust. I would suggest morning sun for the lemongrass. The colors are brighter and the lemongrass has a much more pronounced flavor when grown in the morning sun.

      Thank you for asking, and if I can be of further help, let me know.

      Blessings to you.


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