How to grow lemongrass
Lemongrass is an essential, zesty and citrus-flavoured herb used widely for Asian cooking and herbal teas. Lemongrass thrives in gardens with warm dry winters and hot, wet summers but it will grow as far south as Melbourne if given protection from the winter cold and frosts.
Lemongrass needs a rich, free-draining soil and can be grown in garden beds or pots. It’s upright, clumping growth habit makes it easy to grow amongst other plants that also like full sun to part shade position.
Use the thicker stems, with a stronger flavour, for cooking and the leaves for brewing teas.
Top 4 steps to growing lemongrass
- Grow lemongrass in pots or a free draining garden bed
- Lemongrass loves a rich soil, improve it with Scotts Performance Natural Soil Improver before planting
- Water regularly, especially during hot and dry weather
- Lemongrass is frost sensitive, grow in pots so it can be moved if frosts are common in your area over winter.
- Lemongrass seeds or potted plants
- Scotts Performance Naturals Organic Based Soil Improver
- Scotts Performance Naturals All Purpose Organic Based Fertiliser
- If growing in pots, Scotts Performance Naturals Premium Organic Potting Mix
- Garden trowel
Lemongrass can be grown from seeds, potted plants or by dividing established lemongrass clumps. Choose a full sun or part shade spot with moist and free draining soil.
Prepare the soil before planting by mixing Scotts Performance Naturals Organic Based Soil Improver and Scotts Performance Naturals All Purpose Organic Based Fertiliser through the top 10-20cm of soil.
If growing lemongrass in cooler climates, select a spot that’s protected from frosts or plant it in a pot, so it can be moved to a warmer, frost-free spot during winter.
Planting in the garden
Established lemongrass plants will grow to around 70-90cm wide by up to 90-100cm tall, so give them some space to grow.
Lemongrass prefers a full sun spot, but will also tolerate an area that only receives sun for half the day. During warmer, drier weather lemongrass will need regular watering. Apply an open organic mulch around the plants to retain moisture and suppress weeds.
Growing from seeds
Lemongrass seeds can be slow to germinate (approximately 14-25 days), so plant several seeds at each planting to improve success rates. Sow seeds 5mm deep into pots filled with Scotts Performance Naturals Premium Organic Potting Mix. Once the seedlings are 10-15cm tall they can be transferred to larger pots or their final position in your garden.
Growing from potted plants
Plant potted lemongrass plants into prepared soil or Scotts Performance Naturals Premium Organic Potting Mix if growing in pots. Water them in well and apply an open organic mulch around the plants to retain moisture.
Growing from divided clumps of established lemongrass
It’s best to divide existing clumps of lemongrass in spring. Dig up the clump of lemongrass and split it using a sharp knife, spade or pruning saw into smaller pieces - make sure each smaller section has roots and remove any dead material. Before replanting, cut the stalks on each section back by half.
Replant the small pieces into prepared soil or pots fill with Scotts Performance Naturals Premium Organic Potting Mix and water them in well.
Planting in pots
Lemongrass will happily grow in medium size pots or containers that are at least 30-40cm wide and deep.
Fill the pot with Scotts Performance Naturals Premium Organic Potting Mix, before removing the lemongrass plant from its nursery pot and plant it into the prepared potting mix. Backfill around the plants and water in well.
Add a light layer of open organic mulch to retain moisture during the warmer months and suppress weeds.
Harvest & Maintenance
You can harvest lemongrass stalks as you need them. Lemongrass will be ready to harvest when the stalks are about 30-40cm tall and the stalk base is at least 2cm thick. Cut the stalks off that you need just above soil level or you can pull and break off the stalks as needed (just be careful not to pull the whole clump out!).
If you’re growing lemongrass in a cooler climate, don’t harvest it too heavily during the winter months. Excess lemongrass can be cut up and frozen for use whenever you need them throughout the year.
Scraggly-looking lemongrass clumps can be cut back hard at the end of winter. Fertilise it with a dose of Scotts Performance Naturals All Purpose Organic Based Fertiliser in early spring to encourage a new flush of growth.
Pests & Diseases
Lemongrass is relatively pest and disease free. To prevent rust or other fungal diseases avoid overhead watering and make sure it’s not growing in waterlogged soil. Allowing space around lemongrass plants for good airflow can also reduce the risk of fungal diseases.