Lemongrass can be one of the easiest plants to grow. With the proper steps, you can produce an entire plant from the lemongrass cuttings in your friend’s backyard.
What Is Lemongrass and How Is It Used?
- Lemongrass is a yellowish-green plant with grass-like shoots harvested and used in several ways, including flavoring Asian cuisine.
- The plant’s citrus smell makes a great addition to candles or soaps. It also adds a zesty flavor to any dish.
- You can use lemongrass in several different ways; here are the most common ways the US uses lemongrass:
- As aromatherapy and essential oils to reduce inflammation and skin irritants
- Gives a zesty flavor to everyday Asian dishes, teas, and sauces
- Repels mosquitos and other insects
Steps To Grow Lemongrass From Cuttings
Here are some simple steps that you can do to grow the best lemongrass plant.
Step 1: Purchase Lemongrass Cuttings
- To grow a plant from cuttings, you need to start with some shoots from a lemongrass plant. You don’t need a whole plant with the roots intact; just the clippings and the base will work.
- If you get the clippings, ensure the leaf (the grass-looking part) is still attached to the base (this is where the roots grow).
- The base will look white. If you look closely, there are even tiny ridges along the bottom. Pick the shoots with the best-looking bases for a healthier-looking plant.
- I recommend getting a few stalks just in case some don’t develop roots.
Step 2: Trimming
- Take each stalk and look for browning areas on the leaves. Only cut off the top parts of the shoots. Cut the brown and dried-up parts where the leaves start to split off from the base of the shoot.
- You don’t necessarily need to do this step, but it helps keep things tidy. Cutting also helps new and better shoots to grow in place of the old ones.
Step 3: Put the Stalks in Water
- Find a vase, jar, or glass where you can set your lemongrass stalks upright. Make sure you cover the base of the plant with water, which should only be a few inches high.
- Check the color of your water. If the water turns cloudy, it’s time to replace it with new water. You will only need to do this every other day.
- Changing the water will help prevent fungus growth on your plant.
Step 4: Place in the Sun
- Just about every plant needs sunlight, but lemongrass needs a lot. This particular plant thrives off of warm sunlit areas. So please keep it in the water jar and place it in a south-facing window for optimal growth.
Step 5: Watch Those Roots Grow
- Lemongrass roots only take about a week to emerge. Along with new roots will come new shoots.
- Don’t plant these new roots just yet; you must wait until they fully develop.
- When the plant has grown roots about 3 inches long is the perfect time to plant them in the soil. You will also notice the shoots dividing at this point.
- Three weeks is all it takes for the shoot to develop fully.
Step 6: Replant
After it’s fully developed, you can plant your lemongrass into a pot or directly into the soil.
Read Growing Lemongrass in Pots
How To Properly Fertilize and Maintain Lemongrass
- After you complete the above steps, you will need prepped soil to plant your new lemongrass. When finding the perfect spot, you want to look for an area of your yard that gets the most sunlight.
- Lemongrass will thrive with rich organic loamy soil. Loamy means the soil consists of sand and silt. After you find a well-lit area, you can start fertilizing the soil.
- Mix fertilizer in the soil high in nitrogen to give your plant the proper nutrients. A fertilizer should gradually but consistently release nourishment to the plant.
- Do not fertilize your plant during the winter months while your plant is dormant. It will cause the plant to have unhealthy growth patterns and not last as long.
How To Harvest Lemongrass
- When your lemongrass has grown about a foot or so tall, it’s ready to harvest.
- First, you want to push back the grass part at the top of the plant to reach the base of the shoots.
- With a pair of scissors, you want to cut one stem off. Cut as close to the ground as possible without removing the roots.
- Do not peel the grass off the base while harvesting. Peeling can cause damage to the root system and damage plant fibers.
- Typically you would peel back the leaves of the plant and use the shoot on the inside. This part of the plant has the most potent flavor and smell.
- You can use the leaves that you peel off for teas or composting.
Frequently Asked Questions
Even though lemongrass is relatively easy to grow, there are ways to increase plant production.
Where in the US can I grow lemongrass?
You can grow lemongrass anywhere in the US during the summer months. However, the winter months are a different story.
If you live in hardiness zones nine or below, you must bring your plants inside for the winter.
Zones 10 and 11 allow you to leave your lemongrass outside year-round. The only states you find these zones in would be parts of Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California.
Where can I purchase lemongrass?
Lemongrass isn’t too hard to find. You can find clippings, seeds, or the full plant at these types of places:
1. Farmer’s market
2. Home and garden stores
3. Rural lifestyle stores (southern states or tractor supply)
4. Local farms
5. Grocery stores
6. A friend’s house.
A typical full-grown plant will cost between $10- $20.
How fast does lemongrass grow?
If grown from a shoot, lemongrass will take anywhere from 2 to 4 months to grow fully.
It will take 75-100 days to get a fully mature plant if it’s grown from seed.
How do you multiply lemongrass?
What happens if you want a massive perimeter of lemongrass plants but can’t afford them? You can remove your existing lemongrass plant and expand your perimeter with clippings.
If you want to multiply your plants, start digging up small root clusters. You should have at least one inch of root to grow a successful plant.
Then you separate the bulbs from each other into 6-inch sections. Plant those 6-inch sections at least four feet apart. The shoots of the plant can grow from 4 to 6 feet tall and therefore need some space.
The other way is to follow the harvesting method. After you cut off the clippings from the base, peel back the foliage until you see the white part.
Take the white part out and follow the above mentioned steps for growing lemongrass from cuttings.
Can I grow lemongrass in the winter?
If you live in zones 10 or 11, you can keep your plants outside in the winter. If you live in hardiness zone nine, you might get away with leaving them out with correct winterizing.
You need to cover your plants’ roots in zone nine to keep them away from frost. Try covering them with mulch or a sheet.
If you live in Zones eight or below, take up your lemongrass and put them in pots to store them for the winter.
If you pot your plants, you can do one of two things. First, you can keep growing your plant. Just repot it and put it in a south-facing window, and get a plant light. Make sure you keep the soil moist.
Alternatively, you can allow your plant to go dormant for the winter. When taking up the bulbs from the ground, trim the stalks so they stand a few inches tall.
Store your plant in a cool 50-60 degree room, only water about once a month. Make sure the soil doesn’t look dry; otherwise, water it more. Don’t fertilize the plant until spring.
How long does lemongrass stay alive?
Lemongrass is a perennial plant, meaning it will continuously grow. Unfortunately, that’s not the case if it’s planted outside in zones nine and below.
Freezing temperatures will kill these plants because they are indigenous to hot tropical areas. Plant them in movable pots to bring them inside for the winter.
What companion plants go well with lemongrass?
Companions are plants that complement each other in the garden. They act as good neighbors and help each other grow.
Sometimes plants don’t get along very well and shouldn’t be planted next to one another. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough studies indicating whether or not lemongrass has a companion.
We do know that lemongrass repels insects with its citronella oil scent. Insects despise the smell of citronella and will steer clear of your garden.
In a way, lemongrass helps out all the plants in your garden by repelling harmful pests.
Also, you may like some more gardening articles:
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- How to prune areca palm [complete guide]
- How often do eggplants need to be watered?
- Polka Dot Plant Turning Yellow [How to Fix]
As you can see, planting lemongrass, even in the US, is pretty simple. With the proper knowledge, you can have a perimeter of mosquito repellent or the best-tasting lemony-tasting tea.
I’m Elsa, and I love gardening. I started GardeningElsa.com as a resource for other gardeners, and I offer expert advice on gardening topics such as plants, flowers, herbs, and vegetable gardening. On my website, I share my latest tips and tricks for creating beautiful gardens. When I’m not working on my website, you can find me in my own garden, tending to my plants and flowers. Read more about me.