Lemongrass is a perennial grass that can grow as tall as 5 feet. It is a delightful herb to keep around the house for its lemony scent and makes a wonderful addition to food. The white stem can be cut and added to any food, quickly cooking down and disappearing, leaving only its rich flavor behind.
The leaves can be used as well for much the same flavor, but the thick fibers do not break down and you need to remove the leaves before serving. The leaves, fresh or dry, also make a rich, lemony tea that is purported to have many wonderful health benefits. There are many reasons to have a lemongrass plant around your home. A container-grown plant is perfect to harvest year round and will survive in any region.
Necessary Light Levels
Lemongrass requires at least 6 hours of strong sunlight a day whether grown indoors or outdoors. If your window sill doesn't provide enough light, it is necessary to get a fluorescent lamp and place it close to the plant. If using a lamp, keep it on 14 hours a day.
Do not use garden soil for an indoor lemongrass plant. Lemongrass requires good drainage and a moist environment. Use a potting soil with perlite to retain moisture.
Keep lemongrass moist. However, it is better to let the soil get a bit dry and then water well rather than water a little daily. Definitely water if the plant begins to wilt.
Lemongrass rarely needs repotting, especially if you harvest it for cooking. However, if the plant begins to get crowded then it is time to repot. Never trim the roots of a lemongrass. Better to put it in a larger pot.
Lemongrass is a native of the warm climate of Asia near the equator. Be sure to keep your plant warm. It will grow best if the temperature varies between day and night. However, the most important thing is not to let the plant be exposed to freezing temperatures. If you live in a region with cold winters and you keep your lemongrass on a window sill, keep the foliage away from the glass. The cold will scorch the leaves.
Fertilize Potted Plants
Any plant kept in a container will need fertilizer to replace the nutrients are leached from the soil when you water. Provide a bit of all-purpose fertilizer in the spring when your lemongrass comes out of dormancy.
Careful of Pets
Cats can be entranced by lemongrass. Be careful to keep it out of reach as a cat will quickly demolish the plant.
Once the plant has expanded to more than three stalks, harvest as needed. Leaves can be cut at any time and used fresh or dried for later use. Be careful when handling the leaves as the edges can be very sharp. The other portion to use is the white base of the stem. This can be pulled from the soil. The attached leaves can be stored or used. The stem can be cut up and added to food.