Are you tired of buying lemon grass from the grocery store? Wouldn’t it be great to have your lemon grass plant growing in your backyard? Growing your own lemon grass plant is easy and offers an abundance of uses, from adding it to recipes, making tea, and even incorporating it into aromatherapy. This article will teach you everything you need to know about growing and maintaining your lemon grass plant. So let’s get started!
What is Lemon Grass?
Lemon grass is an herb with a vast list of culinary and medicinal benefits. It’s a perennial grass native to Asia and India, with a distinct lemony scent and taste. Lemon grass is widely used in many cultures worldwide as a flavoring in soups, teas, curries, and other dishes. It is a fragrant, flavorful, and relatively easy-to-grow herb.
Lemon grass has many beneficial compounds, including citral, geraniol, citronellol, and flavonoids. These compounds are used medicinally to treat digestive issues, colds, fevers, headaches, and more. It is also believed to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties.
Whether you’re looking to add a touch of flavor to your favorite recipes or for the medicinal benefits of lemon grass, growing your lemon grass plant could be the perfect solution. This fragrant herb is an easy-to-grow addition to any garden and provides many incredible benefits.
How to Grow Lemon Grass Plants
Not only is it simple to start, but it also requires minimal maintenance once established. Here are some tips to help you get started.
Choosing a Pot and Soil
Choosing the right pot and soil is key to ensuring your lemon grass grows healthy, vibrant, and full.
First, let’s start with the pot. You’ll want to choose a pot at least 10 inches in diameter and 8 inches deep. This will give your lemon grass plant ample room for roots to grow. You should also opt for a pot with suitable drainage holes at the bottom. This will help ensure the soil doesn’t get too soggy and can help prevent root diseases.
Next, you’ll need to pick suitable soil for your lemon grass plant. You’ll want to choose a nice and loose soil that drains well. Mixing half garden soil, half perlite, or sand is an excellent mix for lemon grass. This soil will provide good drainage while still providing plenty of nutrients.
Planting the Seeds or Stalks
For starters, you’ll need to decide whether you want to plant from seed or stalks. Growing a lemon grass plant from seed can be challenging since the seeds are small and require patience. On the other hand, if you go with stalks, you’ll want to look for a healthy bunch with green stems and no brown spots.
Once you’ve decided on your method, the next step is to prepare the soil. Lemon grass plants prefer soil with a slightly acidic pH. You can use a soil testing kit to check the pH levels in your garden before planting. Aim for a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. If the soil is too alkaline, you can add peat moss to lower the pH. After the soil is prepped, it’s time to plant!
If you’re planting from seed, you can either sow the seeds directly into the soil or start them indoors in a warm environment. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil and keep them moist but not soggy. Warmth and high humidity are essential for germination.
If planting from stalks, you’ll want to look for healthy stems that are green and pliable with no brown spots. Plant the stalk about 3 inches deep in the soil and keep it moist. It’s also important to keep an eye on the temperature and ensure it doesn’t drop below 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
Watering and Sunlight Requirements
Generally, you should water this plant about once a week and use well-draining soil to drain the excess water. The soil should also never be soggy or overly moist.
Lemon grass requires at least four to six hours of full sunlight or eight hours of partial sunlight a day to grow properly. To maintain the plant’s vigor, place it where it will get sunlight all day.
During the winter, lemon grass can be susceptible to cold temperatures and should be kept indoors or in a greenhouse. If you place it outdoors, ensure it is sheltered from any extreme temperatures that can ruin your lemon grass. Check the soil’s moisture level during the winter, as you may need to water it more often, depending on the temperatures and location.
Lemon grass does not require much fertilizer. Too much fertilizer can do more harm than good to your lemon grass plant. Apply a slow-release fertilizer once a year in the spring when the plant is actively growing. Avoid applying fertilizer to the foliage, and make sure to water the plant well after using it.
By following these steps, your lemon grass plant should thrive and grow!
Harvesting and Pruning the Plant
You should consider harvesting the entire lemon grass plant once a year; this will help promote new growth throughout the growing season. Cut the entire plant down to around five centimeters above the soil to harvest. Once you do that, you can begin to prune the plant to control its overall growth. Pruning lemon grass is about controlling the size and shape you want your plant to maintain.
The best time to prune is in the spring when new growth begins to emerge. At this stage, you can remove any dead leaves or stems and thin out any overly thick growth causing overcrowding within the plant. As the plant continues to grow throughout the summer, you can remove any tips of the stems that you would like to control the growth of the plant. As the summer seasons start to close, late pruning will help the plant develop a more stable structure and contain the growth of the entire plant.
Adding Lemon Grass to Recipes
When you add lemon grass to a recipe, you’ll want to start by cutting a few stalks off the plant. Make sure to cut the stalk near the base and not over two or three inches above the base. You’ll want to use the lower stalks because they have the most flavorful oils. Peel off the outer leaves of the stalk, and slice or chop the stalk. You’ll be able to determine how small or large you want the pieces to be depending on the recipe.
You can add chopped or sliced lemon grass to soups, stews, curries, marinades, and more. A great way to use it is to add a chopped lemon grass stalk to your marinade. Let it steep for an hour or two to add even more flavor. You can also add it to a soup or stew near the end of the cooking time for an extra punch of flavor.
Lemon grass can also be added to cocktails, teas, and desserts. To make tea, put a few stalks in a pot of boiling water and steep for 10 minutes. The result will be a refreshing lemon grass tea. To make a great cocktail, muddle a few pieces of lemon grass in the bottom of a shaker and add your favorite vodka and simple syrup.
Making Tea with Lemon Grass
Making tea with lemon grass is a great way to enjoy the wonderful flavor of this unique plant. Whether you’re looking for a refreshing drink on a warm day or a calming beverage before bedtime, this is a perfect choice. You don’t have to buy these valuable herbs- you can quickly grow them in your garden!
To make yourself a delicious cup of lemon grass tea, you’ll need a few things: fresh lemon grass, a kettle, a mug, and boiling water. First, take a few sprigs of the lemon grass plant and wash them off with cool water. You can then cut the leaves off of the stem and discard them stem.
Once your lemon grass is washed and chopped, you’re ready to make your tea. Place the lemon grass and boiling water into a mug and steep for two to three minutes. When the time is up, strain off the lemon grass leaves and pour the fragrant tea into a cup. If you want an extra lemony flavor, add a few slices of lemon to the steeped tea to enhance the flavor.
Enjoy your freshly brewed cup of lemon grass tea and bask in the comforting aroma of this unique and special plant. With just a few simple steps, you can create a delicious beverage that will surely be a hit with the family, friends, and even yourself. If you’re lucky enough to have your lemon grass plant growing in your garden, the freshness of your tea will be unbeatable.
Incorporating it into Aromatherapy
Incorporating your homegrown lemon grass plant into your aromatherapy practices can give you a unique, fresh scent. Lemon grass oil has been used in aromatherapy for centuries, and the essential oil can be extracted from the leaves, stems, and roots of the plant for its fragrant and calming properties.
When growing your lemon grass plant, you can get creative in using it. Try harvesting the leaves, stems, and roots and combining them for an all-in-one aromatherapy session. You can also dry the plant and store it for later use. No matter how you use your homegrown lemon grass, you’ll quickly enjoy its refreshing, invigorating scent.
When using lemon grass in aromatherapy, it’s essential to take proper safety precautions. Lemon grass should never be used orally or in its essential oil form. Always dilute the essential oil before use, and remember that it is flammable. You should never use the essential oil near an open flame or heat source.
Growing your lemon grass plant can be a rewarding experience. It is easy to grow, requires minimal maintenance, and provides a unique flavor for many recipes. With just a bit of effort and patience, you can enjoy the incredible smell and taste of lemon grass in your home. Plus, when harvested and pruned correctly, you can reap the benefits of aromatherapy and making tea with lemon grass. Whether you are a novice or an experienced gardener, anyone can quickly grow this flavorful herb right in their garden. So why not try it and start growing your lemon grass plant today!