Lemongrass: How to grow it and what to do with it!

Several years ago my husband and I stumbled across a lemongrass plant at a local nursery while we were doing our spring garden shopping.  Since both of use are HUGE fans of Thai food (which uses a lot of lemongrass) we picked up a plant to put in the back yard. I had no idea how to grow lemongrass but not having to traipse to the store every time we want to make Thai food sounded like a great plan.  That plant THRIVED for several years in our back yard.  It grew close to 4 feet tall and almost as wide around at the top.  With lots of sun and an average amount of water we had more lemongrass than we could ever possibly use.  And then came an unseasonably cold winter.  With a full week of single digit temperatures, many of our plants didn’t survive the winter.  Winters here in Georgia are usually fairly mild but last year we lost not only the lemongrass but also several varieties of bamboo and my rosemary bush.  Mother nature can be cruel and we were forced to start our lemongrass plant as a baby again this past spring.  It is doing incredibly well and loves the location we chose for it.  If we have a few mild winters it may even be around for a while!  Even if you don’t have a green thumb, I swear you can grow lemongrass without any problems!

How to Grow Lemongrass

How to grow lemongrass and what to do with it!

So, how do you grow lemongrass in your own yard? Obviously, the easiest way to get started is to find a lemongrass plant at your local nursery.  There are a few different varieties available, some of which are better for producing essential oil, some of which make larger bulbs, etc.  Talk to your nursery employee about which varieties they carry or check out the National Horticulture Board for descriptions of all the varieties currently available.  The other really easy way to grow lemongrass is to find a bulb at the grocery store that still has a few roots on it.  If you put it in water for a few weeks it will start to create a nice root system and you will be able to plant it in your yard.

How to grow lemongrass and what to do with it!

Ideal conditions to grow lemongrass would be full sun, plenty of water and rich, organic soil.  You can plant it directly in the ground or it grows well in containers as well.   The bulb of the plant is the part that is most often used as food while the grassy tops make a great tea.    Once your plant is well established just grab an individual stalk very low to the ground and pull firmly but gently.  Try this when the ground is damp after a good rain for best results.  Once you have your stalks out of the ground you want to wash and remove the outermost layers around the base. The part of the lemongrass stalk most often used in cooking is the tender, white interior of the plant.

How to grow lemongrass and what to do with it!

So, what can you do with lemongrass?  If you bruise the stalk of the lemongrass and put it in soups or stock you will get a wonderfully light lemon flavor.  Drying the grassy tops of the plant will give you a wonderful ingredient for tea.  Lemongrass also makes a wonderful ingredient for a DIY herbal steam facial.  Just place a few stalks of bruised lemongrass in a bowl and cover with boiling water.  Place a towel over your head and put your face over the steaming bowl of lemongrass.  This steamy facial will help open up your pores and soften your skin.

How to grow lemongrass and what to do with it!

Lemongrass has many uses, both in our food and as a medicinal plant.  Lemongrass is used to treat stomachaches, high blood pressure, cough, fever, and many other common ailments.  Check out WebMD for more detailed medicinal uses for lemongrass.  If you enjoy the flavor of lemongrass, try this Spicy Lemongrass Soup.

How to grow lemongrass and what to do with it!

 

Want to start growing lemongrass?

Shop through my Amazon affiliate link for lemongrass seeds or  lemongrass plants and have them delivered!

 

Check out my lemongrass jelly recipe if you are getting hungry!

Lemongrass and Ginger Jelly Recipe (no canning required!)

 

Love gardening?  Learn how to grow thyme and get a few ideas of what to do with it!

How to Grow Thyme

 

 

About Diane

Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke!

Comments

  1. Dorlis Grote says:
    Lemon grass is also great for cats. I have a 5' plant I brought in for the winter. It sits in front of south facing window behind a chair which my cats love to sit on and chew on "their" grass.
    • I did not know that! Although I have noticed that whenever my dog has a grumbly tummy she heads right for the lemon grass and starts eating it!
      • so does mine. I planted my two plants in the ground in the fall and hope they grow if not two more will go in the ground
  2. Roz.warner says:
    I started my lemon grass plant off with two pieces bought from my local supermarket. Place in clear container with small amount of water and leave for a few weeks. Small root stems will begin to form, leave untill they are approximately 1 inch long and then plant in a pot. I left mine on a window sill untill big enough to plant out.
  3. Good post. I am bookmarking this!
  4. I have been told that it helps keep mosquitoes away. Is this true?
  5. Jean Burrell says:
    Lemongrass is also a mosquito deterant. They don't want to be around it. I want one to put by my back door.
  6. Ida Pletz says:
    at the end of fall last year we put our two lemon grass plants in the ground. They are pretty brown does anyone know what step I should take next trim it to the ground and let it grow back up or what? help need some advice.
    • I leave mine and cut back that dead material about March? (leaving about 8 inches behind). Ours comes back here in Georgia if the winter wasn't too harsh. If no green shows up by late april or so, I would think it probably didn't survive the winter.
    • I live just south of Jax Florida. Last winter I divided my plant by digging it up and separating the stalks, cut back all the green leaves and made fresh tea from the leaves then froze in ice cube trays some with ginger a smidge of raw sugar. Dry the rest for more tea later. I stuck all the small stalks in a glass of water to get new roots and then overwintered the large stalks in pots at a window. This summer my plants was huge that I planted in the ground.I am making more ice cubes of boiled lemongrass and ginger with a tad of raw sugar. My granddaughter loves it.
  7. Gail Granat says:
    I'm going to give this a try. thanks for the idea.

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