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Growing Lemongrass: an Easy Step-by-Step Guide (2023)

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tips for growing lemongrassHave you wanted to grow your own lemongrass, but not known where to start? Whether you’re aiming to cook with this zesty tropical herb or simply enjoy its refreshing scent, we’ve combined the most practical tips for cultivating your own lush lemongrass patch.

You’ll discover the ideal conditions and practices for maximizing yields with this easy-to-grow plant – from proper fertilizing and optimal warmth and light to troubleshooting common issues. With the right knowledge and a little attention, you can master growing thriving lemongrass as an aromatic addition to your garden or windowsill.

We’ll walk through choosing the right varieties, starting from seeds or store-bought plants, and caring for them at all stages. Let’s jump in and explore the simple steps for successfully raising an abundant lemongrass harvest at home.

Key Takeaways

  • Plant lemongrass in full sun, nutrient-rich, well-drained soil.
  • Space plants 24 inches apart.
  • Keep soil consistently moist.
  • Start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost.

Quick Guide to Growing Lemongrass

Quick Guide to Growing Lemongrass
You’ll find success in sowing seeds or rooting stems now as this heat-loving herb thrives midsummer. For hardy growth, plant lemongrass in full sun and nutrient-rich soil, spacing plants 24 inches apart.

Lemongrass loves consistent moisture – prevent dehydration by watering at the soil level.

Harvest lemongrass stalks when they are 12 inches tall, using a sharp tool to remove them at ground level. Only the tender white inner base is edible – peel off the outer layer. In zones 8b-9, lemongrass can live outside year-round.

Elsewhere, grow it in pots and bring indoors for winter. Place potted lemongrass in a protected area and use quality potting mix.

The edible lemongrass base adds zest when added fresh to stir fries, teas, marinades, and more.

Soil, Planting, and Care

Soil, Planting, and Care
When growing lemongrass, start by choosing a spot that gets full sun for at least 6 hours a day. Lemongrass needs nutrient-rich, well-drained soil, so incorporate compost before planting.


You’d do well to place your lemongrass in an area with at least 6 hours of daily sunlight, as this tropical plant craves the heat and light. Lemongrass thrives in full sun. Situate it where it gets a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight daily.


Enrich the soil with compost if you want your lemongrass to thrive. For optimal growth, amend the ground soil with one part aged compost and one part Miracle-Gro.


Consistently water your lemongrass to prevent dehydration. Apply one inch of water weekly, avoiding wet leaves. Use drippers or soakers for a steady supply of moisture. Check soil moisture before watering.

Temperature and Humidity

Keep that lemongrass happy with plenty of sun and heat since it thrives in hot, humid conditions, darling. Full sun and sultry heat bring out lemongrass’s tangy citrus flavor. Feed frequently with water-soluble plant food during the growing season for robust growth.


Feed it weekly with organic fertilizer to keep those lemongrass stalks growing strong.

  1. Add compost and fertilizer to the soil before planting.
  2. Water with liquid seaweed or fish emulsion monthly.
  3. Top dress with compost in spring and fall.
  4. Feed every 2 weeks during the growing season.

Overfeeding can cause floppy growth. Test the soil first and amend as needed. Target a soil pH around 6.5-7.0 for the best nutrient availability. Give it just what it needs for healthy, delicious lemongrass.

How to Grow Lemongrass: Picking the Right Variety

How to Grow Lemongrass: Picking the Right Variety
Y’all must consider climate when pickin’ lemongrass varieties, though this dry info fails to water my soul.

  1. West Indian lemongrass thrives in hot, humid southern climes with its bold lemon notes.
  2. East Indian lemongrass grows in subtropical and tropical areas with its milder, sweeter flavor.
  3. Citronella grass needs tropical environs and imparts a strong lemon aroma.
  4. Aromatic lemongrass is a cold hardy choice for northern gardens with its lemony intensity.

Evaluate your growing zone and research varieties to find the right match. The correct lemongrass will reward you with abundant lemony flavor and fragrance for sippin’, cookin’, and enhancin’ your gardenscape.

How to Grow Lemongrass From Seed

How to Grow Lemongrass From Seed
You’ll feel a sense of pride when those lemongrass seeds you planted sprout into tender green shoots.

  • Start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost in a bright spot.
  • Use a small pot with high-quality potting mix amended with 2-3 inches of aged compost to get roots alive.
  • Keep the soil moist and at 70°F for quick germination in 7-21 days.
  • Once sprouted, provide light fertilization every 2 weeks.
  • Transplant outdoors once night temperatures stay above 50°F, spacing plants 12-24 inches apart in full sun and nutrient-rich soil.

With a little patience and care, you’ll be rewarded with an abundant lemongrass harvest to use fresh or preserved in your favorite recipes.

How to Grow Lemongrass From Shop Purchased Shoots

How to Grow Lemongrass From Shop Purchased Shoots
After buying those lemongrass shoots from the store, stick ’em in the ground pronto – they’ll explode into a jungle of tangy, lemon-scented fronds in no time at all!

Get yourself a stock pot or place those containers in a sunny spot outdoors.

Use smaller pots for indoor growing.

Add compost and beneficial microbes to nourish your lemongrass.

Keep the soil consistently moist but not soggy.

Harvest stalks when they reach 12 inches tall for the best flavor.

You’ll be rewarded with an abundance of lemongrass to flavor your cooking. The tender inner bases pack the most punch, so use ’em fresh or freeze some for later. With the right care, those store-bought shoots will deliver heaps of tangy grass.

How to Grow Lemongrass for the Best Crop

How to Grow Lemongrass for the Best Crop
You’ll find that growing lemongrass leads to a productive crop when you pay attention to pruning, propagating, potting, and repotting, and overwintering. Proper pruning helps lemongrass develop a lush and full growth habit. Taking steps to propagate new plants from existing ones expands your crop.

Potting in a rich mix and repotting as needed give lemongrass the nutrients it craves. And overwintering indoors provides conditions for the plant to thrive from one season to the next.


Prune lemongrass regularly for vigorous growth and high yields. Trim stalks when they are 12 inches tall, and clip leaves as needed in spring and summer.

When to prune What to prune How often
Early spring Dead leaves and spent stalks Annually
Early summer Outer leaves As needed
Late summer Flower heads Weekly

Propagating Lemongrass

Dig your hands into the soil and feel the potential for new life as you propagate lemongrass, nurturing the cycle of rebirth.

  • Take 6-inch cuttings from established plants in spring or fall. Remove leaves except the top 2.
  • Place the cut end in water until roots emerge.
  • Plant in potting mix, water, and feed weekly. New plants in weeks.

Potting and Repotting Lemongrass

You’ll want to transfer the lemongrass to a larger pot once it has outgrown its current home. Use a spacious pot and excellent soil to provide ample room for this perfect plant to thrive.


Bring container-grown lemongrass indoors before night temperatures drop below 50°F because this plant won’t survive a frost. Keep roots sheltered from the cold. Dig up entire stalks, not just tops. Slice off roots that seem dead.

Replant in aged, compost-enriched Miracle-Gro inside. This herb’s strong citrus flavor is worth the effort.


As you grow lemongrass, you may encounter some common problems. Watch for rust fungus, which causes brown spots on the leaves – you can prevent it by watering at the soil level rather than wetting the foliage.

Spider mites can become an issue on overwintered plants, so inspect regularly when bringing lemongrass indoors. With some attentive care and preventative measures, you can avoid the most prevalent diseases and pests affecting lemongrass.

Common Plant Diseases

If rust fungus rears its ugly head, just make sure to water at the soil level to fend it off. Lemongrass’ tropical nature means entire swollen bases need consistent moisture to prevent dehydration. Avoid splashing water on leaves, as dampness spreads fungal spores, causing telltale brown spots.

Instead, deliver water directly to the soil, keeping bulbous stem bases happily hydrated while curtailing rust. Give your citrusy-flavored grass its preferred growing conditions, and you’ll be rewarded with an abundant harvest.

Common Problems With Lemongrass

Lemongrass tends to get rust fungus if watered from overhead, so it’s best to water right at soil level. Use orchid potting mix or add sand and peat to regular potting soil for the lemongrass plant’s well-drained soil needs.

Store harvested stalks in a dark place or they’ll dry out fast. Mix up citrus-flavored grass stalks, leaves, and roots for potent teas, marinades, and stir-fries.

Harvest and Storage

Harvest and Storage
You’ll know your lemongrass is ready to harvest when the stalks reach about 12 inches tall and half an inch wide at the base. Use a sharp knife or pruning shears to cut the stalks off right at ground level, then peel away the tough outer layers to get to the tender, flavorful white inner stem.

To preserve lemongrass for extended use, slice the stems into half-inch pieces and freeze them in airtight bags for up to 3 months.

How Long Does It Take to Grow Lemongrass?

You’re looking at around 10 weeks before your lemongrass is ready for harvesting, give or take. Use quality potting mix with composted manure when planting seeds or propagated plants. They’ll need full sun and consistent moisture to reach 12 tall and grow that tender white inner base, about 0.

5 thick, before going dormant when temperatures dip. Harvest by cutting stems above the dark spot just above soil.

How to Prepare Lemongrass to Eat?

Chop the tender white base off each lemongrass stalk to use right away or freeze for later. Scrape away the outer fibrous layers to expose the inner portion, one inch thick, swollen at the entire base.

This is the most flavorful part, grown in rich organic matter. Remove it by slicing across the whole plant just above the rich, swollen base. Use immediately or freeze, leaving the stalk intact before chopping for recipes.


You can add lemongrass stalks and leaves to so many dishes to infuse them with intense lemon flavor. Slice up the tender inner stalks to stir-fry with veggies or meat. Or add lemongrass pieces to chicken or seafood as you grill or bake it.

Use chopped lemongrass in marinades for meats to really make the citrus flavors pop. Try adding sliced lemongrass stalks to salads for a refreshing tang. And lemongrass makes fantastic herbal tea. Boil the leaves to infuse hot water, then strain out the solids. The tea will relax and rejuvenate you.

With its versatility and bright flavor, lemongrass is essential for Asian cuisine and any dish needing a lemon kick.

How to Grow Lemongrass So It Comes Back Every Year

How to Grow Lemongrass So It Comes Back Every Year
Give the roots space by planting in a roomy container, and move it inside when Jack Frost comes knocking. Like a hibernating bear in winter, the lemongrass slumbers through the cold months, then springs back to life when warmer weather returns.

Plant lemongrass in a 12-inch or larger pot with drainage holes using a quality potting mix.

Situate the container in an area with at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily during the growing season for the best growth.

Provide consistent moisture without overwatering. Check the soil regularly and water when the top inch is dry.

Every 2-3 weeks, feed your lemongrass plant with organic fertilizer to ensure it gets the right organic nutrition.

Keeping the roots undisturbed in their pot, overwintering lemongrass indoors allows it to rejuvenate when warmer weather returns.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How much sun does lemongrass need each day?

You’re drawn to lemongrass like a moth to a flame. This tropical beauty thrives in the blazing sun, needing at least 6 hours of direct light daily. Give it full sun and watch it grow towards the heavens, its grassy leaves yearning for the warmth and radiance that fuel its essence.

Can I grow lemongrass indoors?

Yes, you can easily grow lemongrass indoors! Start lemongrass from seed or transfer rooted cuttings to a pot. Use quality potting mix and a 12-inch container. Place it in a sunny window and keep the soil consistently moist.

Lemongrass thrives with 6+ hours of daily light. Grow it indoors year-round or move it outside in summer.

What pests commonly affect lemongrass?

Spider mites can be a problem on overwintered plants. Prevent issues by providing good air circulation, avoiding overwatering, and spraying neem oil or insecticidal soap if populations boom.

How do I know when my lemongrass is ready to harvest?

Harvest lemongrass when stalks reach 12 inches tall and half an inch wide at the base. Use a sharp tool to cut them off right at ground level. The edible part is the tender white inner stalk, so peel off the outer layer.

How long does lemongrass last in the fridge?

Store peeled, sliced lemongrass stems in an airtight container or ziplock bag in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. The stalks will stay fresh longer if you wrap them in a damp paper towel before refrigerating.


You’ve likely wondered if it’s worth growing lemongrass yourself when stalks are cheap to buy. But with minimal care, lemongrass thrives in pots or beds, rewarding you with seasoning for months and regrowing each year.

By providing the right temperature, soil, sun, and moisture when planting lemongrass and taking care to harvest correctly, you’ll have homegrown lemongrass ready for teas, stir-fries, and more for years to come.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and agriculture expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of people make their yards lush and thick.