Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) is a perennial in the grass family. It is a native of Southeast Asia but is now found worldwide. It is a popular ingredient in Thai cuisine. In addition, lemongrass is often used in perfumes, cosmetics, and household cleaning products. It is also known by various names including also known as cochin grass, barbed wire grass, oily heads, silky heads, malabar grass, citronella grass or fever grass.
A Brief History of Lemongrass and its Uses & Benefits
Throughout the Centuries, lemongrass has been used in many different ways throughout history and is still used today. It is a plant that belongs to the ginger family with a very pleasant smell that can be used in a variety of ways including aromatherapy, flavor, and for medicinal purposes. It was first used for medicinal purposes because it was believed to cure stomach problems such as indigestion and diarrhea. It is mainly grown in Asia, South America, and Africa. It is also grown in the United States but it doesn’t grow well in colder regions or climates.
In ancient China, this plant was used to help with blood flow and circulation which lead to increased energy levels and in India, it is often seen in curry dishes.
Growing and Caring
Lemongrass can be started from seed, but it can be slow to germinate. Seeds should be planted in small pots and then transplanted into the garden when they are large enough. It can also be cultivated from cuttings. Take a section of the stem of a healthy lemongrass plant and put it in a glass of water. It will form a new plant in a few weeks.
It can be grown in most climates; however, in cold climates, mulch it well in the winter. This plant requires regular watering but should not be over-watered. When it comes to feeding, fertilize it once a month with a balanced fertilizer also trim once they are 2-3 feet tall; aim to cut them back to 6 inches from the ground.
This plant needs plenty of water and but as mentioned before, avoid overwatering. Water should be kept at a consistent level in its soil or potting mix, and the soil should be kept moist but not soggy. In the summer, water should be applied daily once a week.
Lemongrass grows well in hot, humid areas when nighttime temps in your region reaches the 60s; then it’s time to plant. Due to this plant being sensitive to drastic temperature changes during the winter, it will be advisable to locate it indoors before temps drops very low.
This a tropical plant hence prefers to be grown in a sunny location. It needs a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight a day.
The temperature range in which lemongrass can be grown is wide. For example, it can be grown in temperatures as low as 40°F and as high as 105°F, but the ideal temperature range would be between 70°F and 90°F.
Fertilizers are an important part of your plants’ life. They provide the nutrients and minerals that the plant needs to grow and develop.
Different plants have different fertilizing needs. For example, a lemongrass plant will require a lot of nitrogen to grow, while a cactus plant will need very little nitrogen. So when you are fertilizing your plants, it is important to know what kind of plant they are in order to use the right fertilizer. You may use a slow-release fertilizer to feed lemongrass during the growing season.
Pruning is a process of cutting off the stems or branches from a plant to make it grow better. Pruning is necessary for your plant to look healthy. Pruning is not too difficult, all you need to do is cut the stem at the desired height ideally about 6 inches from the ground when winter ends and when the plants are dormant. Lemongrass plants will begin to grow again as soon as the weather warms up.
Lemongrass Harvesting and Storing.
In most regions, lemongrass can be harvested in the fall. You can use its leaves to prepare several dishes, and its leaves for tea or herbs for your favorite dishes. Even though the plant’s green leaves may seem unappealing, they can be snipped can be add such delightful flavors to your meals.
Lemongrass requires a lot of sunlight and regular watering. When the plant is first planted, it is essential to water it frequently and once the plant is established, it can be watered less often.
How to Start Lemongrass Seeds
Lemongrass is also a relatively simple plant to grow from seed. In warm, wet soil, the seeds germinate readily. Lightly press seeds into the sterilized potting mix and keep wet until germination begins, typically taking around 10 to 14 days. Thin plants to a foot apart after reaching around 3 inches in height, and keep in mind that indoor pots should be placed in a sunny location. It can also be propagated by division or stem cuttings. To propagate by division, divide the clump of plants into four or five pieces. To propagate by stem cuttings, cut a four to six inches long stem. Strip the leaves from the bottom two inches of the stem and plant the stem in moist soil.
Lemongrass grows in full light in its native environment, even in hot climes. At least six hours of direct sunlight each day are required to satisfy the energy requirements of the plants. In addition, these plants may thrive on fertile, loamy soil. This perfect soil may be created by using a variety of soil amendments: compost, manure, and leaf mold are all beneficial additions that can be used at planting time.
Replanting and Potting
Potting and repotting a lemongrass plant is an easy and simple task. This plants are not fussy and they grow well in pots.
The first thing to do is to find a pot that has drainage holes in the bottom. The size of the pot depends on how big the plant is, but it should be at least ten inches deep. The pot should have enough room for some soil, water, and space for the roots to grow. Fill up about one-third of the pot with good quality soil and set your lemongrass plant inside it. Add more soil up to about half way up the sides of your pot so that there is enough room for water to reach all around your plant .Water your plant using the method you prefer – a watering can, hand watering, or a hose.
Common Plant Diseases and Pest.
The most common diseases found in lemongrass are gray mold, brown patches, and leaf spots. These diseases can cause the plant to die if they are not treated quickly enough. The most common pest that infests this plant is the mealybug which feeds on the plant’s sap and causes it to wilt or look stunted.
Aphids also commonly infest this plants by sucking out the sap from its leaves or stems, which eventually causes the plant to wither away. When treating these pests, you can use a pesticide containing pyrethrins such as pyganic dust, or it may be necessary to cut the aphid-infested plant or leaves away to prevent further spread.
Pest Prevention Techniques for Lemongrass
- -If you have lemongrass planted in your garden, the best way to keep pests away from it is by using natural repellents.
- -Keeping the plants in pots will help minimize pests reaching the leaves if the pot is kept indoors or isolated from other plants.
- -Natural repellents like garlic, peppermint oil, or cayenne pepper can be sprayed on the plant as well as around its base.
- -Insecticidal soaps are also an option if you want something stronger than natural repellents.
The following are the 5 reasons why Lemongrass is a must-have herb in your garden:
- It has a fresh citrusy aroma, is easy to grow, and can deter insects and pests from your area.
- It has anti-bacterial properties that can help prevent foodborne illnesses like salmonella and E. coli
- It has many medicinal benefits, such as treating diabetes and high blood pressure.
- It can be used to make tea which is good for colds, coughs, flu, and respiratory problems
- Its leaves are edible too, and it is an excellent herb for cooking.
How to Use Lemongrass as a Great Herbal Tea and as a Cooking Ingredient
Lemongrass is a plant that has a strong citrus aroma and flavor. It is native to Asia and parts of Africa. It can be used as an ingredient in cooking or herbal tea. In addition to the leaves, It can be used as an ingredient in cooking if you want a strong citrus flavor, but it doesn’t have much nutritional value.
Lemongrass Plant Uses and Side Effects
Lemongrass has been found to have many health benefits such as reducing inflammation and improving digestion. Some people may experience side effects such as dizziness, nausea or headaches if they consume too much of it, so it should be consumed in moderation.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do you use lemongrass for?
There are many uses for this plant; it is often used as a food seasoning in Asian cooking, and it is a popular ingredient in Thai cuisine. Thai cooking uses this plant as a food seasoning and as a tea flavoring.
Does lemongrass keep mosquitoes away?
It can be used as a natural mosquito repellent and it has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine and as an insecticide in Europe and Asia. Many other plants can be used for the same purpose, but lemongrass seems the most popular. The plant has a strong smell, which masks human odor and makes it difficult for mosquitoes to find their prey.
What are the benefits of drinking lemongrass tea?
As a medicinal plant, it has a long history in India and Southeast Asia. It is used to treat a variety of ailments such as colds, flu, digestive problems, and arthritis. Also, it can be used for its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. It also has diuretic effects that help with water retention, bloating, and gout symptoms.
Lemongrass tea has been shown to have the following additional health benefits:
-Help with digestion
-Reduce fever and cold symptoms such as coughing and sneezing
-Relieve stress and anxiety
-Improving your immune system
-Reducing stress levels
The benefits of drinking lemongrass tea are:
1) It is an anti-inflammatory agent which can help reduce inflammation in the body.
2) Lemongrass tea helps with pain relief, especially when it comes to headaches or menstrual cramps.
3) It has diuretic effects, which help with water retention, bloating, and gout symptoms.
Is lemongrass edible?
It is a plant with many benefits and can be used in many ways. It can be used as a spice, in tea, or eaten raw. It has a subtle citrus flavor and aroma. Its leaves are often used in Asian cooking for its lemony taste, scent, and its medicinal properties.
How to Make Lemongrass Tea.
The most common way of making lemongrass tea is to steep the plant in hot water for 10 minutes, then strain the tea with a strainer. Alternatively, follow the steps below in making a great tea:
- Bring one cup of water in a pan to a boil
- Add one teaspoon of fresh or dried lemongrass to the pot.
- The water should boil for five minutes or until it turns yellowish-green in color.
– Remove from heat and let it cool down before drinking it.
Lemongrass is a great herb that has a lot of benefits. It can be used in cooking, as an air freshener, and even as a natural insect repellent. It is also used for its medicinal properties. The oils from this herb are known to have antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. It is also good for your skin because it has anti-inflammatory properties.
If you are looking for a fragrant, easy-to-grow plant for your home garden, this plant may be perfect. With proper care, this grass can provide you with years of enjoyment.