Botanical Name: Cymbopogon citratus (sim-bo-PO-gon si-TRA-tus)
Family: Poaceae (Gramineae) (Grass)
Hardy in Zones 8 – 10. Note: I am in Zone 8b and have lost lemongrass over the Winter. Most years the tops freeze back and new shoots emerge from the root zone when the soil warms up sufficiently. But, not always. So, if you live in an area where the hardiness is questionable, grow your lemongrass in a pot and protect it during the Winter.
uses:Lemon grass is also used as an addition to tea, and in preparations such as kadha , which is a traditional herbal brew used against coughs, colds, etc. It has medicinal properties and is used extensively in Ayurvedic medicine. It is supposed to help with relieving cough and nasal congestion.
Spread a 2- to 3-inch layer of equal parts of coarse sand, organic compost and sphagnum peat moss on a seed tray.
Bury the lemongrass seeds 1 inch apart and 1/4 inch deep in the mixture of sand, compost and sphagnum.
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Cover the seeds with a thin layer of compost or vermiculite and mist or gently water the mixture.
Put the seed tray in a sealed plastic bag or wrap it with clear plastic cling wrap.
Store the seed tray in the dark at 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit and gently water or mist it daily to keep the seeds moist.
Remove the bag or plastic wrap when the seeds sprout. Put the tray in full sunlight. The sprouts will produce seedlings in two to four weeks.
PROPAGATION FROM CUTTINGS
Snip 2 inches from the top of a lemon grass plant with a pair of scissors or a sharp knife.
Put the base of the stalks in a jar of shallow water. Put the jar on a window sill with exposure to the sun.
Keep the bottoms of the cuttings moist. Roots will develop in one or two weeks. When the roots are 2 inches long, plant the seedlings in a pot; if you let roots grow more than 2 inches long they get brittle and break easily.
GROWING IN A GREENHOUSE
Plant lemongrass seedlings at least 3 feet apart in a mixture of soil and compost or aged manure. The mixture should be well drained.
Water the plants two to three times a week to keep the soil moist but not saturated.
Fertilize the plants monthly with a standard formula. A standard formula fertilizer contains equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
Trim the tops of the leaves after the stalks are 3 feet high.
GROWING IN CONTAINERS
Plant a seedling in a pot that contains a loose mixture of soil and compost. The pot should have a hole in the bottom for drainage.
Keep the pot in a location that receives at least 6 hours of sun a day.
Water the plant two to three times a week to keep the soil moist. Do not saturate.
Move your pot outside during warm summer weather.
Fertilize every two weeks in the summer with a standard mix of fertilizer.
Separate your plants if they spread too wide for your pot. Transplant the separated stalks to another pot.
Lemongrass is an herb with a plethora of uses medicinally, from being a stomach soother to being an effective insect repellant and fungicide.
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