Learning Download: How to Grow Lemongrass
Lemongrass originates from southern India and is an aromatic plant with a citrusy scent. Lemongrass is a perennial herb, which means it will come back year after year. It grows in grassy clumps that can reach up to 5 feet tall.
Before Planting: Lemongrass grows best in the summer and does well in heat, as it is a tropical plant. It grows best in a container and prefers full sun.
Planting: Plant lemongrass seeds ¼ inch deep and 1 inch apart and begin them inside up to three weeks before the last frost date. If planting inside, plant the lemongrass in seedling trays that can be covered so the seeds have a warm, moist environment to germinate. Once the seedlings appear, remove the plastic covering and transplant them outdoors to a location in full sun.
Watering: Throughout lemongrass’s growing period, keep its soil moist by watering two to three times a week.
Fertilizer: Feed lemongrass with a high-nitrogen fertilizer when you transplant it outdoors, such as alfalfa meal or blood meal. To fertilize, mix ½ cup of the fertilizer into the soil before transplanting the lemongrass seedlings. After transplanting, fertilize lemongrass every couple of weeks during its growing season with a liquid plant food or fish emulsion.
Days to Maturity: Lemongrass is ready to harvest when the stalks are at least ½ inch thick, dark green and at least 18 inches tall. (See variety for days to maturity)
Harvesting: Harvest lemongrass by snipping the entire stalk at its base. When harvesting lemongrass, be sure to wear gloves as the stalks can irritate the skin. At the end of its growing season, cut lemongrass plants back to only 6 inches tall and reduce watering and discontinue fertilizing.
Tips: Sometimes, lemongrass can suffer from leaf blight, which is when the lemongrass leaves turn brown and begin to wilt. Remove the infected leaves and spray the plant with copper sulfate, which is a fungicide that is safe for edible plants.