All about growing and using lemongrass. Learn how to take care of your own lemongrass plants and grow and make your own tea!
Growing and Using Lemongrass
One of my favorite herbs that I grew in my herb garden this last summer was Lemongrass. Actually, I didn’t grow it directly in my garden, but rather in a large container outside by my garden. My Lemongrass did very well throughout the summer, so I decided to bring it in for the winter and see if I could keep it going. It has done beautifully inside! Here is a picture of my Lemongrass right now.
You can get Lemongrass as a seed to start (it’s very inexpensive, you can find 500 Lemongrass Seeds for around $4.50) or you can purchase a starter plant from your local nursery.
You can also start lemongrass with a stalk of lemongrass from the grocery store. Place the stalk in a shallow glass of water, changing the water daily for about one week. Then, cute the stalks down to about 3 inches and put them into a nice large pot. Once the roots are established, lemongrass will start to spread by itself so make sure to leave plenty of room between plants if you are starting more than one.
Lemongrass doesn’t hold up well to harsh, cold winters so if you are wanting to keep your plant going year-round, you will need to plant it in a container so that you can easily bring it indoors. It likes full sun and rich soil with plenty of water. So when you are growing lemongrass indoors make sure you have a pot that drains well and a nice place to sit it in the sun.
How to Use Lemongrass
Using Lemongrass Leaves
I love using lemongrass leaves in teas. You can use it plain or add it to a loose tea mixture. I wanted to grow my own, since I do mix up the tea mixtures in bulk. Otherwise, you can order Lemongrass from Starwest Botanicals. When I first started, that is exactly what I did. Now, I harvest my own Lemongrass.
–Learn more about how to Make Your Own Tea
Cooking with Lemongrass
The lemongrass stalk can also be used in cooking. It’s often used in Asian dishes such as stir-fries, curry pastes, marinades and salads because of it’s zesty lemon flavor and aroma.
To uses, look for fragrant, tight stalks that are a lemon-green color near the base (or bulb) of the stalk and are a bright green at the end of the stalk. Avoid using stalks with dried or discolored leaves. Similar to a green onion, you only want to use the bottom few inches of the stalk. (Don’t use the leaves or bulb in your cooking.) Peel off the outer layers and slice or mince the soft middle layers to use in your cooking.
Other Benefits of Lemongrass
Growing lemongrass can also help deter mosquitos! It is very closely related to citronella so just having the plant around your garden and porch will help keep those pesky mosquitos away.
–Lemongrass essential oil is even used in Homemade Bug Spray
How to Dry Lemongrass
If you don’t plan on keeping your lemongrass going all year round, you may want to preserve it to get the most out of it.
For cooking, you can easily freeze the stalks to preserve them. Simply pull off the outer layers of the stalk and place them in a container to pull out as needed. Just follow the directions above to slice and mince and use according to your recipe.
Here’s how I dry my lemongrass to keep on hand for tea:
First, I trim the Lemongrass plant back to approximately this size, using kitchen shears. Then, I further trim the long pieces to approximately 1 – 1 1/2 inch pieces and place them on my dehydrator rack. I dry them in the dehydrator for approximately 2 – 4 hours, or until dry, depending on your dehydrator. (If you don’t have a dehydrator, that’s ok….just place them on a clean towel or plate to dry thoroughly. They will take just a bit longer this way.)
After the leaves are dry, I place them in a glass container.
Now you can easily get them out to make a fresh cup of Lemongrass Tea. I actually like to make a bulk mixture with the Lemongrass that we enjoy. I mix approximately equal portions of Red Rooibos, Lemongrass, Bilberry, Orange Peel and Rose Hips. If you don’t grow and harvest your own, you can purchase all of these through Starwest Botanicals. I mix this combination together and place it in a gallon glass jar. It is a loose tea that can be served hot or iced. It is one of our favorite combinations.. It also can be mixed up and placed in smaller, decorative glass jars to give as a gift! Enjoy!!
Until next time, Julie
If you enjoyed this post, here are some others you may want to read next:
- Drying and Preserving Flowers; What to Do With Dried Flowers
- Growing and Using The Nasturtium Plant
- Growing Vegetables in Pots
- How to Grow Fresh Produce in the Winter
- Creating a Winter Garden
- Planting a Winter Garden
- How to Grow an Herb Garden
Have you ever tried to grow lemongrass? How do you use it?
This post on Growing Lemongrass was originally published on Little House Living in December 2011. It has been updated as of December 2019.