Lemongrass in a nutshell:

Latin name : Cymbopogon citratus
Family : Grasses (Poaceae)
Kind : aromatic

Height : up to 1.50m
Planting distance : 5 to 7 cm

Exposure : full sun
Floor : all, well drained, lightly enriched

Planting : spring – Harvest : Summer

Madagascar lemongrass, also known as “lemongrass”, “Indian verbena”, and “Indian lemongrass”… Is a herbaceous perennial plant with a rhizomatous strain, native to Southeast Asia. Is, and part of the grass family.

Each lemongrass plant forms a dense clump of grey-green, evergreen and aromatic leaves, from which it exudes a strong lemon scent.

Caution: Do not confuse Madagascar lemongrass with lemon verbena (or lemon balm). These are two very different aromatics, although their flavors are both lemony.

Lemongrass sowing

We sow lemongrass warm at the end of winter, between the months of January and March.

For each seedling, use a pot previously filled with moist, and above all well-drained, seedling soil. Lemongrass seeds, deposited on the surface, are barely covered with the substrate.

  • Then install your seedlings in a warm location.
  • The ideal temperature here is between 20 and 25°C.
  • Always watch out keep the substrate moistwithout however soaking it.

lemongrass plantingGermination generally occurs after 20 to 40 days.

Planting lemongrass

Lemongrass is a frost-susceptible plant (-1°C maximum) which are grown mainly in pots in our latitudes, and which are always placed in warm and sunny exposure. It can be grown in the garden only in Mediterranean regions.

  • When the lemongrass seedlings reach 15 cm in height, transplant them into a pot of at least 30 cm in diameter.
  • Install a bed of clay pebbles or gravel at the bottom of the pot before filling it with a mixture of equal parts garden soil, potting soil and sand.
  • You can also use a potting soil light special sowing and cuttings

See to space your plants 5 to 7 cm between themso as to provide enough room for the roots to develop.

Water thoroughly (without letting water stagnate in the saucer under the pot) and remember to add a natural fertilizer about a month after planting.

Cultivation and care of lemongrass

lemongrass cultivation maintenanceDuring the summer period, water your lemongrass plants regularly, so that the soil on the surface of the pot remains continuously moist. Space your waterings in the fall, and stop them completely in winter.

During winter, precisely, install the lemongrass pots in a frost-free location. If you grow it in the garden, cover the stump with a thick mulch to protect it from the cold.

  • About every two years, repot your lemongrass plants if their roots overflow the pot.

Remove withered leaves as you go, and remove the oldest stems.

Diseases and pests

Lemongrass is not affected by any serious disease. However, it can happen that its leaves wither and become covered, at their ends, with brown-rusty spots. A natural fungicide quickly solves the problem.

Naturally repellent, citronella has the ability to scare away most insects. Its only notable pest is the snailwho appreciates the leaves.

Harvesting and storing lemongrass

lemongrass harvest usewait between 3 and 4 years old before starting your lemongrass harvest. Indeed, it is necessary to wait until the plant has emitted enough bulbs, and that it is provided with abundant foliage.

The lemongrass stalks are then harvested as needed, during the summer. Stop your harvests when winter approaches, in order to offer it better resistance during the cold period.

Lemongrass stalks keep for up to five days in the refrigerator. You can also freeze, without any prior bleaching being necessary. Be careful, however, to freeze the upper part and the lower part of the stems separately.

Lemongrass can also be chopped to air drybut it is then much less aromatic.

How to cook lemongrass?

lemongrass in the kitchenThe white, fleshy and tender part of the rush is used fresh, as a condiment, in Indonesian, Cambodian, Thai, Vietnamese and Malaysian cuisine. It wonderfully flavors curries, vegetable, meat and fish dishes, sauces and soups.

Fresh or dried, lemongrass leaves are used in infusions and herbal teas for their digestive and refreshing properties.

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