Lemongrass

Cymbopogan citratus

West Indian Lemongrass

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Lemongrass is an easy to grow tropical grass with long thin leaves that grow in tall clumps. The plant's leaves and stems have a distinct lemony citrus fragrance as well as a strong citrus flavour. Young shoots can also be prepared as a vegetable. Due to its height, it can be grown as a scented, ornamental grass. Lemongrass has various uses such as culinary, medicinal, cosmetic, essential oils and as insect repellent.

Planning

Difficulty

Easy

Flowering time

Summer

Fruiting time

Spring, Summer

Harvesting

Start harvesting as soon as plants are 30 cm tall and stem bases are at least 1 cm thick. Leaves and stalks can be harvested throughout the growing season. Young stalks can be pulled by hand or cut at ground level and the leaves trimmed and discarded.

Propagation

Division

Divide the root ball and replant immediately.

Seed

Sow seed in Spring. Keep moist until germinated.

Rhizomes

Cut off at least 2 cm from the end of the leaves of a lemongrass stalk, and put the base end in a glass of water in the sun until roots sprout. Transplant when roots are 2 cm long.

Special features

Crop rotation

Lemongrass is a light feeder

Attracts useful insects

Attracts honey bees

Repels harmful insects

Repels some insects, like mosquitoes and whiteflies.

Pot plant

Lemongrass can be planted in a pot at least 30 cm across, in a wind protected area either outdoors or indoors, provided they receive enough light.

Indoor plant

Special features

Origin

Asia, India and Sri Lanka

Natural climate

Hot humid conditions

Environment

Light

Full Sun

Soil moisture

Moist

Soil type

Loam

Soil PH preference

Neutral

Frost hardiness

Tender

Uses

Medicinal

South American folk medicine used the grass for treating hypertension, inflammation, nervousness, sleep disorders, infection, fevers and gastrointestinal disorders.

Edible

Stems and leaves are edible

Personality

Family

Poaceae

Flower colour

Yellow

Scent

Mild

Problems

Few pests bother lemongrass. Occasionally lemongrass will be affected by leaf blight and indoor plants may be attacked by spider mites.

Related Problems

Companion plants

Lemongrass are great as a borderplant for vegetable gardens.

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