Lemon Grass

How to Grow and Use Lemon Grass

Lemongrass is a tropical herbaceous grass grown not only for its culinary value, but its aesthetic landscaping appeal as well. It has an intense lemon aroma and strong citrus flavor that lends itself well to many culinary endeavors, sauces, soups, tea and drinks all benefit from the use of Lemon Grass. It is grass in the true sense, I would advise Bernie Sanders Fans not to smoke it.

There are more than 50 varieties of Lemon grass all with similar qualities and characteristics. Color varies from green or bluish green to golds and yellows, depending on the variety. Also depending on the variety it can reach anywhere from 3 to 8 feet in height.

It grows as a tall grassy cluster and is visually indistinguishable from many ornamental grasses found in suburban landscape scenarios. It is a tropical native and will not survive winters in cooler regions north of zone 8, so is best grown as an annual. Zone 8 and warmer - it can be grown as a perennial. Lemon grass can overwinter in a dormant state indoors in cold regions in a dark cool location.

Well drained soil is essential, clay will not suffice. Well rotted compost or manure added when planting is advisable, as is a thin layer of organic mulch.

Moisture is another requisite, it needs persistent daily watering, but avoid allowing water to puddle up to avoid fungal issues both above and below the soil surface. Never let the roots dry out, a little mulch goes a long way in moisture retention.

Full Sun is best, even partial shade is not advisable, although the plant would probably survive it wouldn't thrive.

Optimal Spacing - 2 Feet

During its active growth season it should be fertilized lightly twice monthly. A mild mixture of seaweed extract, fish emulsion or blood meal will suffice.

Pests are not a major concern with Lemon grass. It actually repels many common garden pests and works well in companion planting scenarios for this reason. Lemon Grass is related to Citronella grass and both contain citronella, frequently used as a mosquito repellent. Lemongrass is also proven effective against mites and ticks as well [1]. Also See - Herbal Pest Control

Harvest when the plants are about a foot tall, the stem bases should be about a half inch thick. Cut stalks below the base but just above the ground level. You can also hand pull up the entire plant to be sure to get the onion like base. Its bulbous base stem is the best part, it is packed with citrusy lemon flavor. Leaves can be harvested periodically as well.

In order to use lemongrass in any recipes that call for it remove the hard outer layers and use only the softer layers inside.

Growing Lemon Grass

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