Thursday, June 2, 2011

How to Grow Lemon Grass

Site: Plant Lemongrass in full sun in rich, well-draining soil. Lemongrass also works well in containers. We recommend a three-gallon pot.

Propagation: Lemongrass is easily propagated by root division. When dividing clumps, each stalk should have about one-inch of root attached. For better success, cut the blades to about two-inches before dividing. Lemongrass has a very extensive root system. So, for potted plants, it is important to divide it yearly.

Growing: Allow soil to dry between waterings in the growing season. Water sparingly in winter.

Fertilize every two weeks during the growing season. Most balanced fertilizers are adequate, but 15-30-15 worked best in our trials. Time-release granules also work well. Fertilizing is not necessary during the winter.

This tender perennial can be grown year-round outdoors in USDA Zones 8-12 (southern United States). In cold climates, Lemongrass should be overwintered inside. It is easily dug up and re-potted, if necessary. When frozen, Lemongrass will die.

Pests and diseases are very infrequent.

Harvesting: Blades must be 12-inches tall before cutting. If you're harvesting for food, cut about one-inch above the crown. If you cut any lower, that section of the plant will not re-grow.

Culinary Uses: Lemongrass has long been in used for teas, soups and in Oriental cooking. Just about every part of Lemongrass can be used, including the leaf tips, tender shoots and whole leaves. Snip a few leaves into a pot of tea for a refreshing flavor and added aroma. For a delicate hint of lemon, add a bunch of Lemongrass to the water used for steaming meats and vegetables. Add the tender shoots to a stir fry for a subtle, yet exotic flavor enhancement.

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