How to Care For a Lemongrass Plant [Useful Tips]

Lemongrass can be a beneficial plant to have around the house. This plant can be grown outdoors or in a pot indoors. Lemongrass can be utilized as an herb, medicine, and bug repellant.

As a bonus, it smells nice. This plant has many benefits. Learn how to take care of lemongrass to get everything out of this plant.

Lemongrass Rootstalk (Cymbopogon Citratus) 2 Live Plants

The Lemongrass Plant

  • Lemongrass is a tropical plant that is native to South and South-East Asia. There are 55 species of Cymbopogon, but only two of those species are what we know as lemongrass.
  • While not native to the USA, lemongrass plants have been planted and grown throughout the country. Lemongrass plants need plenty of sunshine, water, and well-draining soil.
  • Lemongrass is growing in popularity due to its variety of uses and easy maintenance. Lemongrass grows big and full in the proper conditions.
  • Lemongrass stalks have many uses once harvested. Lemongrass is used in soups, teas, and many other recipes. It can be used as an herb or oil as well.
  • This plant has many benefits anyone can take advantage of and is easily grown indoors or outdoors.

Clovers Garden 2 Large Lemongrass Plants Live - 4”– 7” Tall in 3.5” Pots - Edible Medicinal Herb, Mosquito Garden Plant, Cymbopogon Citratus

Basics of Planting Lemongrass

  • Lemongrass thrives best in a wet, humid environment with plenty of warmth, so it will do well if you live in a climate that provides these conditions.
  • The best time to plant lemongrass is in the early spring, after the season’s last frost. Lemongrass will die if the temperature is too low or there is a frost.
  • Place the lemongrass seeds a few inches deep in the soil and cover the seeds with the displaced soil to even out the top.
  • Once planted, the lemongrass needs plenty of water and sunshine.
  • Lemongrass plants can grow six feet tall and four feet wide.
  • Plant with several feet in between each plant when outdoors. Potted lemongrass needs a container with at least a five-gallon capacity.
  • Maintain the lemongrass plant with plenty of sunshine, water, and pruning when needed. Personal preference and issues with growth are some reasons pruning is necessary. 
  • Conditions need to be favorable for lemongrass to grow. Ensure that the needs of the plant are satisfied if there is insufficient growth.
  • Lemongrass plants have sharp edges on the stalks that can result in cuts. Be careful when tending to the plant.

Lemongrass Plant- 3 Seperate in 2.25 Inch Size! Non GMO! Organic! Also Known As Fever Grass, Cymbopogon Citratus/ by Daylily Nursery

Check: How to Grow Lemongrass From Stalk

Planting Lemongrass Outdoors

  • The best soil in the USA to grow lemongrass is in USDA zones eight and nine. Lemongrass will die if exposed to freezing weather and frost.
  • The lemongrass plant will grow well outdoors with proper sunshine, warmth, and water.
  • Add fertilizer or nitrogen-rich soil to help the lemongrass plant grow to its full potential if there are any problems with growth.
  • Lemongrass plants grow best in sandy soil. The soil should retain enough water to properly hydrate the plant, but not too much water that it drowns or rots the lemongrass.
  • Roots of lemongrass tend to get thick and spread out. Therefore, allow several feet between each plant.

Also, read: Is Lemongrass a Perennial?

Planting Lemongrass Indoors

10 Lemongrass Pot not Included Each 4" Inch Tall Rooted Pot not Included (LEGENDARY-YES)

  • Potting lemongrass plants indoors is always an option when outdoor conditions are not favorable.
  • Lemongrass plants need a pot with at least a five-gallon capacity to allow room for the roots to grow and spread.
  • Rich with nitrogen and made for plants in containers, potting soil will work the best for lemongrass. Slow-release fertilizer is another option to encourage the growth of lemongrass.
  • Mature lemongrass can grow plentiful. However, the tops of the lemongrass get heavy, so select a place in your home where the plant will not easily tip over.

What Kind of Soil is Best for Lemongrass?

  • A healthy lemongrass plant requires regular watering or rain. Lemongrass needs soil that hydrates and allows the water to drain away from the plant. 
  • When choosing soil for lemongrass plants, find rich and moist soil that drains quickly and thoroughly.
  • Lemongrass thrives best in sandy, nitrogen-rich soil. Sandy soil allows the water retention required, but it also drains well.
  • Lemongrass does not grow well in any clay-based soil. Clay retains too much water and can end up drowning or rotting the lemongrass roots. 

Blue Ribbon Organics OMRI Certified Natural Premium Organic Compost for Plants | Plant Food | Odorless Natural Fertilizer | Soil Builder | 7.9 Gallons | 1 Cubic Foot | 32-35 Pounds

How Much Water Does a Lemongrass Plant Need?

  • Lemongrass is a tropical plant. It prefers consistent rain and a humid environment. Water lemongrass regularly when it is grown in an environment with little rainfall.
  • Lemongrass plants grow well with plenty of water. Regularly check the lemongrass soil and pot for signs that the plant is drying out.
  • On the other hand, lemongrass soil requires well-draining soil. So check that the soil is not holding on to too much water.

How Much Sunlight Does a Lemongrass Plant Need?

  • Lemongrass can be grown with as little direct sunlight as three hours a day. However, it will grow slower when only given three to five hours of sunlight.
  • Six hours of sunlight is best to grow lemongrass.

Lemongrass Plant- 3 Seperate in 2.25 Inch Size! Non GMO! Organic! Also Known As Fever Grass, Cymbopogon Citratus/ by Daylily Nursery

How to Take Care of Lemongrass Plants in the Summer

  • Summer typically has more favorable conditions for a lemongrass plant.
  • Ensure that the lemongrass plant has plenty of sunlight and warmth by planting in an area with little shade.
  • Monitor the soil to confirm the lemongrass is getting enough water. It should not feel dry up to two inches deep.
  • Lemongrass may not get sufficient water naturally. If this is the case, water it regularly and irrigate deeply into the soil.

How to Take Care of Lemongrass Plants in the Winter

  • Lemongrass is a tropical plant and takes a little more consideration in the winter or even in the colder fall and spring months.
  • Lemongrass plants cannot tolerate temperatures lower than 40℉. Therefore, lemongrass plants grown in areas with prolonged cold temperatures must make arrangements for the plant to survive.
  • When planting lemongrass outside USDA zones eight and nine, take precautions such as preserving the roots of the lemongrass to replant after the last frost has passed or potting the plant indoors. 

10 Lemongrass Pot not Include 4" Inch Tall Cymbopogon Sereh Lemongrass Pot Exclude

Preserving the Dormant Lemongrass Plant Indoors

  • Take action to save the lemongrass plant if frost or cold weather is in the forecast. Keeping the root intact, dig up the entire lemongrass plant.
  • Trim the stalks down to six to twelve inches long. Plant the root and shortened stalks in a smaller pot for the winter. 
  • Separate the stalks into bunches of two to four stalks. Leave at least an inch between the stalks when preserving several in one pot.
  • A pot about six inches deep and wide will suffice for this smaller piece of lemongrass plant to survive the winter.
  • Once inside, find a place cool and damp for the plant to be dormant throughout the winter, which should be a space that will stay between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • While dormant, the plant will not grow, but it will survive.
  • During the dormant winter months, water the plant any time you notice the top of the soil is dry. Give the plant just enough water to live but continue in dormancy.
  • In early spring, after the last frost of the season, replant the lemongrass in an area with plenty of sunshine and water.

Lemongrass Plant | 3 Live Plants | Cymbopogon Citratus | Low Maintenance Fragrant Edible Herb Grass

Covering an Outdoor Lemongrass Plant

  • In certain circumstances, you can cover the plant to protect it from frost or colder weather. For example, if the plant is growing in USDA zone nine, covering the plant with a floating row cover is an option.
  • Before covering the lemongrass plant, make sure to cut back the plant to six to twelve inches long to help it preserve water over the winter months.
  • Cover the plant or row of plants with the floating row cover. Weigh down the sides and corners and secure any edges that will allow cold air to seep through to the lemongrass plant.
  • Lemongrass plants outside USDA zone nine will need to be brought indoors for the winter. It can be maintained as a whole plant or cut down and preserved in a dormant state. 

Pruning Lemongrass

Lemongrass Plant- 3 Seperate in 2.25 Inch Size! Non GMO! Organic! Also Known As Fever Grass, Cymbopogon Citratus/ by Daylily Nursery

  • Lemongrass plants can grow quite large. The plant may need to be trimmed to fit in a smaller area or for preference.
  • Lemongrass plants flourish when given enough sunshine, water, and fertilizer. Maintain the plant by pruning when necessary.
  • Cold weather or frost may cause dead or dying pieces of the lemongrass plant. Remove any dead or dying sections of the plant.
  • Lemongrass plants with any fungus or pest can also benefit from pruning the diseased parts of the plant.
  • Pruning can also help rejuvenate a lemongrass plant that is not growing well.
  • Pruning a lemongrass plant even down to the whites of the stalks will allow the plant to grow back healthier and stronger.

What to do to Improve Lemongrass Plant Growth

  • Lemongrass is a relatively easy plant to maintain. However, there are some reasons your lemongrass plant may not thrive.
  • Lemongrass plants may not be growing well due to several reasons. Dying, wilting, or small lemongrass plants could be due to insufficient watering, poor soil, fungus or pests, or neglect.
  • Lemongrass does best in well-hydrated, well-drained soil. Start with regular watering. Check about two inches below the surface. If that soil is dry, it needs more water.
  • Lemongrass needs rich, nitrogen-filled soil. Try a premium potting mix meant for growing vegetables.
  • A slow-release fertilizer or a nitrogen-rich fertilizer also helps lemongrass to grow. 
  • Lemongrass that is dying or wilting can be pruned to the white part of the stock. Cutting it down will revitalize the plant to grow back stronger.
  • Lemongrass can be susceptible to fungus or rust on the leaves. If the leaves are the only thing affected, try a fungicide to combat rust or fungus on the leaves.
  • Cutting back the lemongrass plant is a natural way to fight fungus or rust on the leaves. Cutting below the infected area will allow the plant to grow back and heal naturally.

Benefits of Taking Care of Lemongrass Plants

10 Live Lemongrass Rooted Plants Fresh Herb Thai Culinary Garden (4’’+ Tall)

  • Lemongrass plants are low-maintenance plants that can grow plentiful with the right amount of sunshine and warmth, fertilizer, and water. There are many reasons to grow lemongrass.
  • Lemongrass has a pleasant citrus aroma. Its great smell is in things like deodorant, perfumes, sprays, and candles.
  • Another great reason to grow lemongrass is to use it as an herb for cooking. Lemongrass is a fantastic source of flavor to add to things like teas, soups, or pesto.
  • Lemongrass stalks are in recipes like stir-fries, soups, marinades, and salads. When harvested, no part of the lemongrass plant goes to waste!
  • Lemongrass plant is also used medicinally. Few studies support the use of lemongrass plants. However, there are many speculated health benefits of lemongrass.
  • Lemongrass has antioxidant properties. Additionally, lemongrass might reduce pain, swelling, and fever. It could also improve blood levels of sugar and cholesterol.
  • Lemongrass leaves and stalk pieces steeped in hot water could have incredible benefits. It seems to relieve asthma symptoms, gastrointestinal issues, and fever.  
  • Another incredible benefit of caring for a lemongrass plant is that it repels mosquitos.
  • When used as an oil, lemongrass has been known to repel mosquitos plus other insects such as flies, fleas, ticks, and lice. But unfortunately, the plant itself does not seem to repel insects.

Is Lemongrass Plant Safe to Have Around The House?

  • Lemongrass is safe for humans—harvest lemongrass by cutting the stalks from the plant.
  • Lemongrass can be used in recipes and consumed by crushing it down into herbs or chopped stalks. As an oil, lemongrass has medicinal purposes and repels bugs.
  • Lemongrass is safe for dogs in small amounts. Dogs typically have no reaction when ingesting lemongrass in small quantities.
  • Lemongrass ingested in large amounts can result in an upset stomach for the dog. The dog may have diarrhea or vomiting. Call the veterinarian if you are concerned.

Lemongrass in the USA

  • While lemongrass is not native to the USA, it can be grown anywhere as long as the conditions are right.
  • Most importantly, lemongrass needs plenty of water, warmth, and rich sandy soil. Growing lemongrass is doable whether the conditions are right indoors or outdoors.
How to Care For a Lemongrass Plant
How to Care For a Lemongrass Plant

Also, you may like some more below Gardening articles:


Lemongrass has many uses: as an ingredient in stir-fries, teas, marinades, soup, and more! In addition, it is used in fragrances, oils, and medicinal purposes.

Anyone can grow a lemongrass plant and reap the benefits!