Lemongrass

Bring lemongrass into your kitchen and garden! Learn how to grow, dry, and harvest this robust herb.

| July 2019

lemongrass
Photo by Tory McTernan

I’ve cooked with lemongrass for many years, but until this year I’d never grown it myself. As I harvested my first stem, I wondered why it had taken me so long to try growing it in my garden. I suppose I’d always assumed lemongrass was an exotic plant that wouldn’t fare well in the UK’s climate. However, it’s actually pretty robust and is happy to languish outdoors in the sunshine all summer long. Given the current fashion for grasses, it’s also an excellent plant for a small garden, providing soft fountains of lush green spikes that rustle and sway in the wind.

Grow: H 1-1.5 m; W 0.5-1 m

You can buy plug plants (as I did) or grow lemongrass from seed, sowing it in small pots in spring and using a heated propagator to get them going – well, they are used to tropical temperatures. Pot them on as they grow, but make sure the plants are quite established before putting them outside – the Royal Horticultural Society recommends waiting until they’re big enough for a 20 cm (8 in) pot. You can even grow this perennial plant from shop-bought stems, popping them in pots until roots appear and then potting them up. Choose a sunny spot for them and keep them well watered.

Care

At the end of the summer, bring lemongrass indoors so you can keep it in the manner to which it is accustomed, with temperatures no lower than 5 degrees C (41 degrees F). The foliage will turn brown in autumn, at which point cut back to about 10 cm (4 in). When you see new growth in spring, start feeding and watering regularly.



Pests & Diseases

None to worry about, apart from the odd snail.

Harvest & Storage

Harvest stems as and when needed. If a clump is quite tightly packed, use a knife to remove a section and then prise the stems free. A good tip is to take a section off the stem and plant it, using the remainder in the kitchen – that way you’re not completely depleting stocks. Fresh is best when it comes to lemongrass, though cut stems can be stored in the refrigerator for a few weeks or they can be frozen. To dry lemongrass, tie it in bundles and hang upside down.

suzyholman
10/10/2019 10:48:40 AM

I am in zone 7b in Southern Oklahoma, USA. Are you saying I have to dig it up??? I thought it would be safe here. It will get below 41 degrees, but only briefly and mostly at night.







mother-audience

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

February 15-16, 2020
Belton, Texas

Join us in the Lone Star state to explore ways to save money and live efficiently. This two-day event includes hands-on workshops and a marketplace featuring the latest homesteading products.

LEARN MORE






Become a Preferred Subscriber and start enjoying the benefits today!

Fall in love with the flavor, versatility, and beauty of Heirloom Gardener

Heirloom GardenerDelight your taste buds, mind and eyes with beautiful photos and inspirational techniques on everything you need to know to grow, preserve and cook your own heirloom fruits and vegetables. You won’t want to miss the stories about plants passed down from generation to generation.

Don’t miss a single issue of Heirloom Gardener. Published by the editors of MOTHER EARTH NEWS, Heirloom Gardener provides decades of organic gardening experience from the most trusted voices in the field. Join today and save off the newsstand price! Get one year (4 issues) for only $24.95! (USA only)




Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube

click me