Why Is My Lemongrass Turning Purple? [Reasons & How to Fix]

Lemongrass is also known as Cymbopogon citratus and includes a stunning green color.

The spires of this plant spear upward and flop over to create a vibrant display of lush green, with a hint of red or purple.

However easy to maintain, this plant can turn different colors when it needs specific minerals. What happens when your Lemongrass turns purple, and how can you fix it?

Lemongrass Rootstalk (Cymbopogon Citratus) 2 Live Plants

Your Lemongrass May Need Phosphorus

  • Lemongrass turns purple when it lacks phosphorus, a vital component for capturing the sun’s light and turning it into molecules that a plant needs for life.
  • If your Lemongrass is turning purple, it may mean that it doesn’t have enough phosphorus within its body to keep functioning.
  • Phosphorus is supplemented into your Lemongrass by adding common ingredients to the soil or at the base of the plant.

Also read: Growing Lemongrass in Pots

Signs of Phosphorus Deficiency in Plants

  • The signs of a phosphorus deficiency in plants begin with a purplish color. However, this color can take over an entire plant.
  • Being deficient in phosphorus will also cause the tips of a plant’s leaves to become brittle, dry, and decayed.
  • The deeper the color purple, the more severe the phosphorus deficiency in the plant. A plant may not yield as much of its leaves upon harvest.
  • Plants with a phosphorus deficiency will be small, brittle, and weak.
  • More signs of a phosphorus deficiency in plants include the following:
    • Reddish, purple, or blue leaves.
    • Weak, brittle leaf tips.
    • Decayed leaves at the base of a plant.
  • Phosphorus is essential to ensure your Lemongrass grows full and provides plenty of leaves to be harvested at the end of the year.
  • Purple leaves will not have a strong, sweet scent and may be useless for home projects or cooking.

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

Read: How to grow Lemongrass From Cuttings

How To Give Your Lemongrass Phosphorus

  • You can add plant food abundant with phosphorus and other essential vitamins to the top of the soil bed to help your Lemongrass get phosphorus.
  • Adding food items to your plant can help it get all the nutrients it needs without disturbing the roots or causing trouble.
  • Additionally, you can add a thin layer of fertilizer to the top layer of your plant soil. Fertilizer usually has plenty of vitamins that all plants need to survive.
  • Lemongrass is resilient and does well with general fertilizers.
  • However, some household items can add phosphorus to your Lemongrass. Some of these ingredients may seem strange, but they are tried and true.
  • Here are just a few household items you can add to your garden to boost phosphorus and save your Lemongrass plant:
    • Bat guano
    • Eggshells
    • Shellfish waste
    • Banana peels
    • Burned cucumber skins
    • Mushrooms

Check out: How To Grow Lemongrass From Seed Indoors

Lemongrass Should Have Some Purple Color

  • Noting a small amount of purple at the base of your Lemongrass plant is no need for concern. Lemongrass plants should have a small amount of purplish color as they grow out of the soil.
  • The purple color in Lemongrass becomes an issue when the purple color takes over the leaves and becomes more dominant than the original green color.
  • If the purple color of your Lemongrass plant stays strictly in the center or base, your Lemongrass may be healthy.
  • Adding too much phosphorus to a healthy Lemongrass plant can be detrimental, so it is vital to diagnose your plant correctly.
  • Excess phosphorus can cause a plant to grow poorly and die since it will be overwhelmed with this nutrient.
  • Add fertilizer and plant food as per the instructions on the package, and no more. If you add household items, only use one item per month and monitor your plant carefully for changes.

Read: What to Plant With Lemongrass

Outsidepride Lemon Grass Plant Seeds - 2000 Seeds

Vital Minerals for Lemongrass and How To Get Them

  • Lemongrass needs some minerals to survive in any condition, and these minerals can be added in many ways.
  • Some common household ingredients can add vital minerals to your plant’s soil and cause a boost in mineral intake.
  • Other minerals and vitamins can be added through a supplemental spray, plant food, or fertilizer added to the base of the plant.
  • Regardless of the method you choose, there are plenty of ways to ensure your plant remains green, healthy, and functioning.

Check: How to Care For a Lemongrass Plant [Useful Tips]


  • Calcium is vital to the healthy growth and development of plants. This nutrient is responsible for building cell walls and ensuring the strength of cell structures.
  • Without proper calcium, a plant will be weak and susceptible to diseases.
  • Calcium deficiency in plants begins with new leaves and manifests as dark, brown spots.
  • Calcium can be added to a plant through plant food or fertilizer. However, many household items can provide a calcium boost. Use crushed oyster shells and eggshells to give your plants an added allotment of calcium and keep them healthy and strong.
  • Lime is a common addition to the soil during the fall and winter months. Lime is acidic and works well in a pinch to increase the amount of calcium in the soil of a plant. Use one or two small limes once every six weeks.

Eden Herbs Organic Enriched Fertilizer (5 lb Bucket)-Neem Plant Food 3-7-3 Enriched Formula for Growing Healthy and Natural Herbs

Read: How Do You Keep the Lemongrass Plant Healthy?


  • Potassium is vital for plants that live in tropical or arid locations. Without adequate potassium, a plant won’t be able to fend off droughts or use its access to water effectively.
  • Because potassium is vital for a plant’s resistance to drought and water usage, a deficiency will mean wilted and dry leaves.
  • A plant without proper potassium may also show curling leaves with tips that are dry, yellow, and have pale veins.
  • You can use a general fertilizer or plant food, but household items can have a greater and more immediate impact.
  • Consider using banana peels, citrus rinds, spinach, or old tomatoes to boost the amount of potassium in your plant soil.

Also, Check: Is Lemongrass Safe for Dogs? Can Dogs Eat Lemongrass?


  • Manganese is a lesser-known nutrient that plants need but is no less vital. Manganese is important for the photosynthesis process and for helping a plant disperse nitrogen reserves.
  • Manganese deficiency in plants can be tough to spot but manifest as pale leaves and veins.
  • The best way to add manganese to your plant is through plant food or fertilizer spray.
  • Manganese is not overly abundant in everyday foods and will only add marginal increases, leaving fertilizers to be a clear choice.

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  • Magnesium in plants is vital for photosynthesis and capturing sunlight.
  • A magnesium deficiency in plants manifests as short plants with a stunted maturity. This means that your plants may be much smaller than their healthy counterparts.
  • You can add magnesium to your plant’s soil by purchasing a magnesium supplement and dissolving it with Epsom salt.
  • This solution can give your plants a healthy boost of magnesium without overwhelming them.
  • Use this solution to water your plants over several days and note how your plant begins to change.

Read: Is Lemongrass a Perennial?


  • Iron in plants is responsible for breaking down chlorophyll, a vital component of a plant’s survival.
  • If chlorophyll can’t be broken down, a plant simply won’t get enough food or nutrients for life.
  • An iron deficiency in plants manifests with yellowing of leaves where they should be a deeper green color.
  • You may also notice a light yellow color in a place where dark green veins should be. If a plant doesn’t have enough iron, it may turn whitish and die soon after.
  • Iron can be added to a plant through general plant food and fertilizer.
  • You can also add blood meal to your Lemongrass to boost the amount of iron in its soil. Blood meal solution comes as a liquid or powder.
  • You can also use an iron-water mixture made with rusty nails.
  • This shocking method can save non-edible plants from iron deficiency and revive them. Simply allow several rusty nails to sit in water for four days and use that water in your plant’s soil.

Check: Why are my hanging basket plants dying?

Yunakesa 5 Live Lemongrass Stalks Plugs Cymbopogon Sereh Plant Healthy Herb Lemon Grass

How To Care for Lemongrass

  • Lemongrass is easy to care for, as long as it has all the vital nutrients and minerals it needs. This herbaceous perennial prefers neutral pH soil and full sun to thrive.
  • Adding a nitrogen-rich fertilizer can help this plant grow quickly and feed it a steady diet of vitamins and minerals.
  • Lemongrass can be grown indoors and outdoors, although it doesn’t do well in especially shady, overly rainy areas.
  • Tropical regions like Florida, California, and New Mexico are ideal locations to grow Lemongrass.
  • This plant can grow up to 12 inches tall when given consistent water and sunlight. Lemongrass can be used in cooking or can be placed in a dish for display.
  • The sweet, lemon-like aroma can give your home a candle-like scent without causing headaches or troubling those with sensitivity to candles.
Why Is My Lemongrass Turning Purple
Why Is My Lemongrass Turning Purple

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Final Thoughts

Lemongrass can add a vibrant and tropical look to any front yard or back garden.

This plant offers a bulbous shape of greenery that can be a hiding place for lizards or a pitstop for butterflies. This plant is easy to maintain and offers a sweet odor.

Lemongrass may turn purple when it lacks phosphorus, and it may turn other shades when lacking vital minerals.

Ensure your Lemongrass has all the vital nutrients it needs to retain its green color.