Doing this can be effective if you live in a cooler climate or want to get a head start on your gardening.
Growing Lemongrass Seedlings
Germinating lemon grass seedlings isn’t tricky to do with a bit of research and some help from an expert.
There are several steps to growing lemon grass seeds, from choosing which variety you prefer to transplanting it to your garden. Keep reading to find out how to grow lemongrass from seed indoors.
- If you’ve decided that you want to grow your own lemongrass, the first place to start is by selecting which type you prefer.
- Doing this can be challenging since the genus Cymbopogon includes more than 50 species, although only two are the lemongrass we know and love.
- It can be helpful to consider what you intend to do with your lemongrass when choosing which one is right for you.
- East Indian lemongrass and West Indian lemongrass are both used in cooking, but the West Indian is the preferred variety. Its leaves tend to be larger and more flavorful than the East Indian.
- Once you’ve decided which seed you want, you can prepare to plant them roughly one month before your projected final frost, which will keep the plant safe until the danger of freezing has passed.
- In the warmest zones, lemongrass is a perennial, and you can harvest it at any time of the year. It will need to be brought in during the winter months in cooler regions. Some gardeners treat it like you would any annual and replant it each season.
Check out: How to Grow Lemongrass From Stalk
- Many growers prefer to start cursing their lemongrass inside using seedling trays. The trays are divided into individual compartments and covered to preserve moisture in the container. Some even have an adjustable vent to control the humidity level within the tray.
- If you don’t want to invest in an expensive seedling tray, however, there are some instances where you can start lemongrass in an egg carton.
- If the cartoon is made of biodegradable material and you have the correct soil, you can separate the individual crops and place them directly into your garden.
- Whichever tray you intend to use, make sure that you can cover it and put drainage holes at the bottom of each section to prevent root rot.
- Another essential component of starting lemon grass seeds is the proper soil. Lemongrass prefers rich, fertile soil that drains well with a pH of 6.5-7.0. You can help give it a boost by adding some aged compost or leaf mold to the soil.
- Start your seeds by filling each tray section with fresh soil. Place the seeds on top of the soil, then using your pointer finger, push the seeds into the ground about 1/4 of an inch deep. Next, you will want to cover the tray to help trap moisture and encourage the seeds to germinate.
- Lemongrass prefers a hot climate, so keeping your seedlings in a warm, dark environment is essential. If you don’t have a dark room, placing it in a cupboard will suffice.
- While your siblings are still germinating, you don’t want to flood them with water. Spritzing them with a spray bottle is typically plenty of moisture. Try to get the top inch of the soil just moist enough to wet your finger. You shouldn’t be able to see standing water.
- After about 21 days, your seeds should have germinated. At that point, it’s time to start exposing them to sunlight. Move the tray to a window where they can get a minimum of 6 to 8 hours of sun.
- When the average nighttime temperature remains above 50°F, you can transfer your seedlings to the garden.
Check: Is Lemongrass a Perennial?
- Before placing your seedlings in the ground outside, you’ll need to pick a spot where your lemongrass can thrive. Start by choosing a space in your garden that gets exposure to full sunlight. Even in hot climates, this plant needs several hours of full sun to remain lush and hearty.
- A few hours before the transplant, your seedlings should be watered and fed to ensure maximum durability for the move.
- You should also turn the soil about four inches deep in the area where you’re going to plant your seeds. If you have compost or nutrient-rich manure, you can add it to the soil at this point.
- Make a planting hole slightly wider than the pot the seedling is in and roughly the same depth. Remember that lemon grass clumps at the base and spreads wide as it grows, so it needs ample space to spread out. Dig your planting holes at least 20 inches apart.
- Once your lemongrass is planted, you can gauge when to water if the top inch of the soil is dry. Otherwise, these plants don’t need much care.
- You can harvest your lemongrass once it’s at least one foot tall throughout the season. In cooler regions, gardeners usually harvest toward the end of the season. From germination to harvest, reaching maturity should take about 75 to 100 days.
- To collect the grass, you can cut or twist it off the stalk as close to the ground as possible. You’ll want to choose the oldest stalks first, which are usually one-quarter to one inch thick. After that, you can dispose of the leaves or use them as compost.
Common Uses of Lemongrass
This brightly scented herb is most commonly used in cooking, but there are several other ways it’s utilized by people worldwide. Check out all of these awesome ways you can use your lemongrass.
- Spicing up your favorite dishes like steamed chicken with lemongrass can give your meal a refreshing edge.
- Dried lemongrass is perfect for teas due to its exciting flavor and medicinal properties. Drink it to improve bloating and lower cholesterol.
- Lemongrass doesn’t just taste good. It looks good too. So it’s easy to incorporate this plant into your landscape and add a touch of green to your home’s facade. If you leave it uncut, it turns a gorgeous red in the fall.
- Lemongrass is exceptionally fragrant, making it the perfect plant to add to your home if you want a natural, refreshing aroma in your garden.
For Your Health
This herb has strong medicinal qualities that generations have taken advantage of. Although most formal studies are small, research suggests that it is an effective pain reliever, fever reducer, and has antimicrobial properties.
Most insects don’t appreciate the citrus scent of lemongrass, making it an excellent pest deterrent for your garden. Citronella oil comes from lemongrass, which is why many citronella candles and bug sprays smell like lemons.
Lemongrass Through the Ages
- Lemongrass has a long history, and people have been using it for its pleasing scent and powerful flavor for decades. But where did lemongrass come from, and how did it become so popular?
- Answering these questions is tough because finding the exact origins of a plant can be difficult to pin down.
- Most experts agree that West Indian lemongrass is likely native to Malaysia, Southern India, and other tropical locations. East Indian lemongrass probably came from India, Burma, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.
- In the early 1900s, the herb’s popularity skyrocketed as Thai food and other Asian cuisines started gaining steam in the United States. Since then, lemongrass has become one of the most common herbs used worldwide.
As with all gardening, growing lemongrass can come with a few challenges. Fortunately, this plant isn’t terribly finicky, so a few tips should be all you need to help this plant thrive.
- Just like animals and people, plants can get sick. Learning to spot plants plagued with disease or pests can help you catch potential dangers before they spread.
- Pay attention to leaf color and stature. Are they graying or turning yellow? Are the stalks becoming droopy?
- Sticking to a watering schedule is a great way to ensure your plants get sufficient hydration. When watering becomes part of your routine, you’re less likely to forget.
- Missing just one or two waterings can spell disaster for specific plants.
Like most living creatures, Lemongrass needs nutrients to live a full life. Adding aged compost to your soil, like fruit and vegetable skins or leaf mold, can boost your garden’s nitrogen, vitamins, and minerals.
- Most garden pests avoid lemongrass naturally, so pesticides aren’t necessary, but there is one critter to watch out for.
- The yellow sugarcane aphid and a few other species of aphids will make themselves at home in lemongrass.
Growing lemongrass is a great way to add some pep to your garden and lifestyle. By starting seeds indoors, you have a high chance of successful germination, plus the amazing experience of witnessing something grow.
Order some seeds today and start reaping lemongrass’s many benefits.
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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.