Lemongrass is a tropical plant that is well-known as an ornamental plant and for its medicinal properties. Being a native of the hot climates, you might wonder if you can grow lemongrass in winters or indoors. So, before you grow lemongrass, you should know how to grow and care for this plant in any season.
In this post, we have covered everything you should know about lemongrass plant care.
Does The Lemongrass Plant Have Any Other Names?
Yes, the lemongrass plant has many other names too. Popular names for lemongrass include Cymbopogon citratus, oily heads, citronella, barbed wire grass, fever grass, Cochin grass, and silky heads.
Different Types of Lemongrass Plants
Lemongrass is a genus of Poaceae, a grass family. There are more than 50 types of the lemongrass plant. Some of the types of lemon grass include:
- Ornamental lemongrass
- Jama Rosa
- East Indian lemongrass
Main Uses of Lemongrass Plants
The unique flavor and the properties of the lemongrass plant make it useful for different purposes. The primary uses of lemongrass include:
- The lemongrass plant adds a lemon flavor that makes it perfect for Asian cuisine. It’s a prominent ingredient in Thai and Vietnamese recipes.
- Due to the medicinal properties of this versatile plant, it’s used for curing colds and congestion. It’s used to make an ayurvedic drink known as khadha, famous for its healing properties.
- It serves as an ornamental plant and can decorate your home, office, or other places.
- Lemongrass oil, known as citronella oil, is helpful for mosquito control and acts as whitefly repellent.
- Fresh or dried lemongrass is used to make herbal tea, also called lemongrass tea.
How To Prune Lemongrass Plant?
Lemongrass is a low-maintenance plant and doesn’t need much pruning to look tidy. Moreover, it’s an evergreen plant if appropriate conditions are provided. So, unless you see dead foliage on your lemongrass plant, you can leave it without pruning.
If dead foliage doesn’t appear, you can prune it to improve its appearance and get some fresh lemongrass stalks for the kitchen. To prune the plant, you can grasp the stalks more than ½ inches tall and remove them from the plant by pulling. Alternatively, you can also use a sharp knife.
You can do the required pruning at any time in the growing season. While pruning, make sure you don’t damage the healthy stalks. Don’t prune the plant when it’s about 6 inches tall from the ground. A slight pruning in the early spring will keep your lemongrass green and healthy during the growing season.
Best Soil For Lemongrass Plants
The best soil for growing lemongrass is rich and loamy soil. You can further enhance the fertility of the soil by adding a compost pile, leaf mold, and manure. All these are a rich source of crucial nutrients for lemongrass. You can add them while planting the lemongrass plant.
How Much Light Does Lemongrass Plant Needs?
Lemongrass grows in full sun, even in hot tropical habitats. To fulfill its energy requirements, this plant needs a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight. If lemongrass grows in indirect light or at a dark place, it will not grow properly and is prone to pest attack.
How Often to Water Lemongrass Plant?
Growing lemon grass needs moist soil for optimal growth. Once your plant has matured, it can tolerate drought, but not during the growing phase. To keep the soil moist for growing lemongrass, spread a generous amount of mulch around your plant. It will conserve the soil moisture and act as a nutrient source for lemongrass.
Ideal Temperature Conditions for Lemongrass Plants
Lemongrass plants need warm climates to survive. The ideal temperature for these plants is between 40-60 degrees F. If the temperature falls below 15 degrees F, it can freeze lemongrass to death. Therefore, colder climates having freezing temperatures are not suitable for growing lemongrass.
Humidity Conditions for Lemongrass Plants
Lemongrass plants need humid conditions for the best growth. You can create the required humidity levels for lemongrass by sprinkling water around your plant when it’s growing outdoors. However, if your plant is growing indoors, you can use humidifiers or dehumidifiers to get the required humid conditions.
Best Fertilizer for Lemongrass Plants
Like other grass family plants, lemongrass plants also need nitrogen-rich fertilizers for growing well. You can fertilize lemongrass by slowly adding 6-4-0 fertilizer. It will provide your plant with the necessary nutrients during the growing season. You can also feed the lemongrass plant with manure tea, which contains vital trace nutrients.
How to Propagate Lemongrass Plants?
Propagation of lemongrass plants is quite easy. All you need is the plant’s stalks. You can get lemongrass stalks from the market or cut from a grown plant. You can remove the leaves and roots attached to the cuttings. The stalks of lemongrass are capable of producing more plants. The new plants will produce roots and leaves while growing.
Growth Rate of Lemongrass Plants
Lemongrass plants show a tremendous growth rate when the right growth conditions are provided. Mature lemongrass can be at least 2-4 feet tall. Therefore, it’s recommended to maintain a space of 24 inches if you’re growing many lemongrass plants in planting beds.
Ideal Pot Size for Lemongrass Plants
To grow lemon grass plants, you should select a pot having 300 mm of depth and at least 12 inches in diameter. It’s essential for good root and plant growth. But the pot size can vary depending upon the different varieties of lemongrass.
Repotting Tips For Lemongrass Plants
If your lemongrass grows in a pot, you’ll have to repot it at some time. Here are some tips for repotting lemongrass plants that might help you:
- Ensure that the new pot contains at least one hole for proper drainage.
- Fall is the best time of the year to repot lemongrass. By this plant, the plant will have completed its growth year, and repotting it will save it from the freezing outdoor temperatures. You can shift your plant to a new pot to keep it indoors.
- While moving the root ball to a new pot, ensure that each root section has some grass attached.
Are Lemongrass Plants Edible?
Lemon grass has many varieties, and not all of these are edible. Some edible types include Cymbopogon citratus, Cymbopogon flexuosus, and Cymbopogon ambiguus.
Are Lemongrass Plants Toxic to Cats and Dogs?
Yes, lemongrass plants are toxic to cats and dogs. These plants produce lemongrass essential oil, which is slightly toxic for cats, dogs, and other wild animals.
Is The Lemongrass Plant Poisonous?
No, lemongrass isn’t poisonous. This misconception is due to its resemblance with citronella grass, which belongs to the family of lemon grass. Citronella grass is mildly toxic, unlike the lemongrass plant.
Does Lemongrass Plant Prefer To Grow Indoors Or Outside?
Lemongrass plant prefers to grow outdoors as they are native to tropical regions. So, lemongrass grows better in a sunny spot with hot growing conditions. However, if you can provide the required light in the house, lemongrass can also thrive indoors.