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

| July 2019

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.


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.

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.



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