Thursday, March 4, 2010

Lemongrass


One of the lemongrass stalks that I rooted in a jar of water on the ledge of my kitchen window is ready to be potted up. These stalks came from a plant that is growing in a large glazed pot out in front of the house. The pot is in a fairly well protected spot and I never brought it inside or even bothered to cover it this winter. The top growth of the  plant is brown but the base of the plant is still ok. That plant was started in the same way from a stalk that I bought at the grocery store. I'm going to try transplanting the original plant into the new garden area outside the vegetable garden. I'm pretty sure the deer won't eat it, I'm not so sure about the gophers, so I wanted to start some new plants.

If you want to grow lemongrass that is of good culinary value you have to start it vegetatively, i.e., start from a cutting. If you buy lemongrass seeds they are actually citronelle, a related plant that has a similar aroma but is not very tasty. That's what is used in citronella candles. True lemongrass doesn't bloom and set seeds. Look for lemongrass stalks at the market that are not too dried out. Place them in a jar of water to cover their bases and wait and see if they root. Then pot up the rooted stalks and grow the plants in a warm, sunny location.

For information about how to grow lemongrass see my latest post about growing lemongrass here.

19 comments:

  1. I grew lemongrass a couple years in a pot and overwintered it inside. Ok did ok but died when I brought it outside too early in the Spring. Thanks for reminding me. I'll have to head to the Asian market in a month or two to buy some stalks to root and plant out this year. This time around, I'm planting it out with the rest of my warm season crops.

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  2. I have never tried lemon grass before, I should get some. Thanks for the growing info!

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  3. Good luck with your lemongrass.

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  4. I've heard of lemongrass but have no idea at all about it, so an interesting post.

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  5. You are just full of information! So, when are you going to write a book?

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  6. Do you have pets? My dog and cat love lemongrass. I plant enough for all of us.

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  7. I'm glad you shared this information, We were going to try finding some lemon grass seeds to grow this year but never got around to it. I will keep my eye out for some already planted ones at the farmers markets instead, perhaps I will luck out and find something. If not we still have the lemon verbena, and lemon thyme.:)

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  8. Thomas, Maybe you should find some stalks now and get it started indoors, it takes a while to get large enough to start harvesting. I wonder if a couple of pots would do ok under one of you hoop houses to get an early start outside?

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    Dan, you should try it, keep your eye out at the grocery store for some fresh looking stalks.

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    Daphne, thanks!

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    Jan, oh I hardly covered the topic, just the bare basics of starting a plant, but I'm glad you found it interesting. :)

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    Susan, Become an author like you? Moi! I don't know where I would find the time, I can barely keep up with this blogging thing.

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    NellJean, I have 4 cats and they do like to nibble on all the grasses in the garden.

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    Mr. H., If you find it at the farmers market make sure that they didn't grow it from seed. You can usually tell the seed grown starts because they start out small and spindly. A plant grown from a rooted stalk will have part of the original stalk, the base of which is fairly thick. A fresh stalk of lemongrass should be about 12 inches long without the leafy part which is usually cut off.

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  9. I love Lemongrass!! In fact, my hubby and I call it our 'love plant' as he asked me to marry him in a restaurant called "Lemongrass." So about 2 years ago I bought a lemon grass plant, we have had it ever since. I bring it in the house in the winter and it grows all year long. This past summer I transplanted it into a bigger pot and was so beautiful. (Well as beautiful as a grass can be LOL!!) I will have to try growing more from some cuttings! Thanks for the info about my 'love plant!!'

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  10. that's a great idea. I had an idea for tofu lemongrass soup but never did it. And now I see the ginger is sprouting in the kitchen. I might have to pot that up. We don't get a lot of warm and sunny, though.

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  11. Mahalo for sharing this! I planted lemon grass seeds in August and I was so disappointed in my results. I'll get some stalks today and try your technique! BTW - since Nov. I've planted and replanted 2 different caper seed varieties and I finally have a little baby caper start! I hope I can get it to grow as your capers look so wonderful!

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  12. Cantor Craziness, What a wonderful "love" story. Now you can grow a bunch of plants and share the love. ;> I think lots of grasses are beautiful, lemongrass included!

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    Stefaneener, I have been tempted many times to pot up sprouting ginger and never got around to it. But I do know of some Bay Area gardeners who grow it in pots so it might be worth your while to try. The lemongrass did really well for me in the South Bay, I had clumps a foot wide at the crown of the plant.

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    A Kitchen Garden, I think you'll be much happier with the results from sprouting a stalk, it should grow like a weed in your climate. Congrats on your baby caper!

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  13. How long did it take for your lemongrass to root? My friend's trying to root some and I'm growing some.... from seeds. lol. wished i've seen this post before I got the seeds!

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  14. Katie, I don't remember for sure, but I think it was a couple of weeks before the roots started andI let them grow a couple more weeks until I potted the plants up.

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  15. Thank you, I have been looking for seedlings everywhere, but to no avail. Rooting the grocery store material never occurred to me! Hooray for the internet.

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  17. How far down the blade of a pre-existing lemongrass plant should you cut in order to optimize its rooting? Or will any section of a lemongrass blade eventually develop roots in a jar of water?

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    1. If you can actually pull or cut out a piece that has some roots already that would be the best, but you should be able to get a piece to root so long as the base of the stalk is solid and stem-like, you dont want rings of cut leaf blades, the outer most leaf should be attached to the stem.

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    2. Thanks so much. I have two lemongrass plants outdoors. As it's only March in central North Carolina, they're still brown from winter. I trimmed the brown blades down to within twelve inches of the ground at the end of fall. Should I wait until the plant starts to return in a month or so to graft the new blades in a jar, or would it be okay to start now with the still-brown-from-winter blade and roots? Thanks for your help.

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