Native to Malaysia and India, lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) is a popular herb-like grass used in Southeast Asian cuisine. Lemongrass is a fragrant perennial plant that thrives in warm climates and offers a lemony flavoring to dishes. Lemongrass can grow up to 5 feet tall, either planted in pots and kept indoors in cooler climates or grown outdoors in subtropical or tropical regions. Lemongrass is easy to grow from seed, requiring no special pretreatment in order to germinate. Plant the seeds between late January to March.
Fill a seed tray with a 2- or 3-inch layer of a mixture of equal parts organic compost, sphagnum peat moss and coarse sand. Place the lemongrass seeds about 1 inch apart on top of the mixture.
Spread a thin layer of organic compost or vermiculite to just cover the lemongrass seeds. Gently water or mist the seeds to moisten the potting mixture.
Wrap the seed tray in clear plastic cling wrap or slide the seed tray into a sealed plastic bag. Keep the seed tray at 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mist or gently water the seed tray daily to keep the seeds moist. Remove the plastic wrap or bag when the lemongrass seedlings sprout and place the tray in full sunlight.
Transplant the strongest lemongrass seedlings into individual 3-inch-diameter planter pots with drainage holes in the bottom. Transplant the seedlings when they’re about 3 or 4 inches tall, filling the planter pots with a mixture of equal parts well-draining, lightweight potting soil, organic compost and sphagnum peat moss.
Water the lemongrass once every three days to keep the soil moistened thoroughly. Place the pots in bright, indirect sunlight.
Transplant the lemongrass outdoors or into 10-inch-diameter planter pots when they reach about 12 inches tall.
Things You Will Need
- Lemongrass seeds
- Seed tray
- Organic compost
- Sphagnum peat moss
- Coarse sand
- Water spray bottle
- Clear plastic food wrap or plastic bag
- Planter pots, 3-inch diameter
- Lightweight potting soil
- Planter pots, 10-inch diameter
- Harvest lemongrass when the stalks are dark green in color and at least 18 to 24 inches tall. Grab the stalk near the soil surface and pull the stalk and roots up from the soil. Snip off the root end of the stalk and rinse it well to remove any excess soil.
- Lemongrass requires warm temperatures and winter temperatures that stay around 45 degrees F. Don't attempt to grow lemongrass outdoors if you live in a cool climate.
- Always wear gloves when handling lemongrass, because the stalks can irritate your skin.