How to Grow Organic Lemongrass Plants

How to grow organic lemongrass plants

Last Updated on March 7, 2024 by Kimberly Crawford

Have you ever wondered about the secrets behind growing lush, aromatic Lemongrass Plants in your garden? Lemongrass, known for its strong citrus flavor and numerous health benefits, is a prized plant in kitchens and gardens worldwide. But, why stress the need for growing it organically? The answer lies in the pure essence and maximum benefits we derive from plants grown without synthetic additives, ensuring a healthier option for both us and the environment.

This guide will walk you through the essentials of nurturing your own organic lemongrass, from the initial steps to the joyful moment of harvest.

Expect to learn about the right soil conditions, organic pest control methods, and the perfect time to pluck your lemongrass for use. Join us as we delve into the green world of organic gardening, guaranteeing you a fruitful journey ahead.

See also: Types of lawn grass

How to Grow Organic Lemongrass Plants

Understanding Lemongrass

Lemongrass is a plant that loves the sun and grows in warm environments. It looks like tall grass, but it has a strong lemon smell. People use it for cooking, making tea, and even in some medicines because of its good smell and taste.

There are different kinds of lemongrass, each with its own special traits. Growing lemongrass without using chemicals is a smart move. It makes sure the plant stays healthy and safe to use in your food or drink. Let’s dive deeper into what makes lemongrass special.

Description of Lemongrass Plants

Lemongrass grows in warm places and can reach up to six feet tall in the right conditions. It has long, thin leaves that look a bit like the grass in your yard but much taller. This plant is famous for its lemony scent, which comes from the oils in its leaves. People enjoy using it in their cooking for that fresh, citrus flavor it adds.

Varieties of Lemongrass

There are a few different types of lemongrass, but the two most common ones are Cymbopogon citratus and Cymbopogon flexuosus. Cymbopogon citratus is what most people use in their kitchens, while Cymbopogon flexuosus is often found in products like soaps or candles because of its strong scent.

Cymbopogon citratusCookingLight and fresh
Cymbopogon flexuosusProductsStrong and lasting

Benefits of Growing Lemongrass Organically

When you grow lemongrass without using artificial chemicals, you help keep the earth clean. Chemicals can harm the soil and water, but organic gardening keeps them safe.

Organic lemongrass also tends to be healthier and can even taste better because it grows in a more natural way. Plus, when you grow lemongrass yourself, you know exactly what goes into it and can enjoy its fresh flavor with peace of mind.

Growing lemongrass in your garden is not only easy but also rewarding. You get a plant that adds beauty with its tall, green leaves and offers a natural, lemony scent that can brighten up your garden space.

By choosing to grow lemongrass organically, you commit to a healthier way of living and gardening, benefiting both yourself and the environment. So, give it a try and see how this amazing plant can transform your cooking and your garden.

Preparing for Planting

Before you start planting lemongrass, there are a few important steps to make sure your plants will grow healthy and strong.

Choosing the right place in your garden, getting the soil ready, and knowing the best time to plant are all key to your success. Let’s break down these steps to help you get started on the right foot.

Choosing the Right Location

Lemongrass loves sunlight and warmth, so finding a spot in your garden that gets plenty of sun is crucial. The plant will thrive best in areas that receive at least six hours of direct sunlight each day.

It’s also wise to pick a location that is protected from strong winds, as lemongrass can be quite tall and might get damaged.

Soil Preparation and Requirements

For lemongrass to grow well, the soil needs to be well-draining and rich in nutrients. You can improve your soil by adding organic matter like compost or well-rotted manure. This not only boosts the nutrient content but also improves soil structure, helping with water retention and drainage.

Soil AspectDescriptionHow to Improve
DrainageAvoids waterloggingAdd sand or perlite
Nutrient-richFeeds the plantMix in compost or manure
pH levelSlightly acidic to neutralTest and adjust with lime or sulfur

When to Plant Lemongrass (Seasonality)

Lemongrass should be planted in the spring, after the last frost has passed. This gives the plant plenty of time to establish itself and grow throughout the warmer months. In regions with mild winters, planting can also be successful in early fall, allowing for a longer growing period before cooler temperatures set in.

SeasonIdeal Planting Time
SpringAfter the last frost
FallIn mild winter areas

Starting your lemongrass garden requires some planning, but it’s not complicated. By ensuring you have the right spot picked out, your soil ready, and timing your planting correctly, you’re setting the stage for a bountiful and aromatic lemongrass harvest. Remember, the effort you put into preparing will pay off when you’re enjoying the fresh, lemony flavor of your own home-grown lemongrass.

Lemongrass In the Garden

Planting Lemongrass

Getting lemongrass into the ground correctly sets the foundation for a healthy, vibrant plant. Whether you’re starting from seeds or using stalks (cuttings), the approach you take can significantly impact your success. Let’s go through the steps for both methods and discuss how organic materials like compost and fertilizers play a crucial role in this early stage.

Step-by-step Guide to Planting Lemongrass Seeds

Planting lemongrass seeds requires patience and attention to detail. Here’s a simple guide to get you started:

  1. Prepare your soil: Make sure your soil is loose, well-draining, and rich in organic matter.
  2. Sow the seeds: Sprinkle the lemongrass seeds lightly on top of the soil. Cover them with a thin layer of soil, about ¼ inch thick.
  3. Water gently: Use a spray bottle to moisten the soil, being careful not to displace the seeds.
  4. Provide warmth and light: Keep the soil warm, ideally between 70-85°F (21-29°C), and in a spot that receives plenty of indirect light.
  5. Wait for germination: Seeds should sprout in about 10-14 days. Once they do, ensure they get 6-8 hours of sunlight daily.

Tips for Planting Lemongrass Stalks (Cuttings)

Starting lemongrass from stalks is a quicker method than seeds and can be very rewarding:

  1. Select healthy stalks: Choose stalks that are fresh and green, with a bit of the base intact.
  2. Root the stalks: Place the stalks in a glass of water, with the base submerged. Change the water every couple of days to keep it clean.
  3. Wait for roots: In about 2-3 weeks, roots should begin to appear. Once they’re about an inch long, they’re ready to plant.
  4. Plant the stalks: Plant the rooted stalks in soil, covering the roots completely. The soil should be rich and well-draining.
  5. Water and sun: Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged, and place the plants in a sunny spot.

The Role of Compost and Organic Fertilizers in Planting

Using compost and organic fertilizers is essential for healthy lemongrass growth. They provide nutrients, improve soil structure, and help retain moisture.

CompostSoil amendmentAdds nutrients, improves moisture retention
Organic FertilizerNutrient boostProvides essential nutrients without chemicals

Incorporating compost into your soil before planting improves its quality and fertility, ensuring your lemongrass has a strong start. A few weeks after planting, applying an organic fertilizer can give your lemongrass an additional nutrient boost, supporting its growth and health.

Caring for Your Lemongrass Plants

grow your own lemongrass

Once your lemongrass is in the ground and starting to grow, your attention shifts to taking care of it. Proper care involves watering correctly, mulching to control weeds and retain moisture, and keeping an eye out for pests and diseases. Doing these steps right helps ensure your lemongrass not only survives but thrives.

Watering Requirements and Tips

Lemongrass needs consistent moisture to grow lush and full, but too much water can be just as bad as too little. Here’s how to get it just right:

  • Frequency: Water your lemongrass deeply when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch.
  • Amount: Aim for about 1 inch of water per week, including rainfall.
  • Method: Water at the base of the plant to avoid wetting the leaves, which can lead to fungal diseases.

Mulching for Weed Control and Moisture Retention

Mulch is a gardener’s best friend when it comes to controlling weeds and helping the soil retain moisture. Here’s how to use it with your lemongrass:

  • Material: Use organic mulch, such as straw, bark, or wood chips.
  • Thickness: Apply a 2-3 inch layer of mulch around the base of your lemongrass plants.
  • Benefits: Mulch helps keep the soil moist, reduces weed growth, and adds organic matter to the soil as it decomposes.

Identifying and Managing Pests and Diseases Organically

Lemongrass is relatively resilient but can occasionally encounter pest or disease issues. Here’s how to manage them organically:

ProblemSignsOrganic Solution
AphidsSmall, green insects on leavesSpray with water or use neem oil
RustOrange or brown spots on leavesRemove affected parts; improve air circulation
Fungal diseasesMold or mildew on leavesEnsure good drainage; apply organic fungicide

Dealing with Pests

rust on lemongrass

One of the biggest concerns for growing organic lemongrass is how to deal with pests. Since organic means that no chemical pesticide solutions are used, controlling pests must be done through other measures.

The good news is that most insects don’t like the smell or taste of lemongrass, so the lemon grass plants should stay relatively pest free.

The only type of pest that sometimes causes problems is the spider mite. Spider mites are very tiny and difficult to see, but their masses of cobweb-like strands on the surface of the lemon grass are easy to spot.

To rid organic lemongrass of spider mites, spray all surfaces of the lemon grass plants with a forceful spray from the garden hose to dislodge the spiders.

Epsom salts and crushed egg shells are cottage garden ingredients for healthy plants. The use of organic remedies like these help improve plant health and groundwater.

Organic lemongrass is one of the easiest plants to grow and through a little trial and error gardeners will find that it adds a unique flavor to many food dishes.

Encouraging Growth and Health

To ensure your lemongrass not only grows but thrives, incorporating natural fertilization techniques, regular pruning and trimming, and companion planting can significantly impact its health and productivity. Each of these practices supports the plant in different but complementary ways, leading to a robust lemongrass plant.

Natural Fertilization Techniques

Feeding your lemongrass naturally encourages strong growth without the need for chemical fertilizers. Here’s how to do it:

  • Organic compost: Adding compost around the base of your plants provides slow-release nutrients that are easy for lemongrass to absorb.
  • Fish emulsion: This is a gentle, organic liquid fertilizer that can give your lemongrass a nutrient boost during the growing season.
  • Green manure: Planting cover crops like clover or alfalfa and then tilling them into the soil adds nutrients and organic matter.

Pruning and Trimming for Healthier Plants

Regular pruning and trimming of your lemongrass encourages the plant to become fuller and bushier. Here’s what you need to know:

  • When to prune: Trim lemongrass stalks as needed throughout the growing season to encourage new growth.
  • How to prune: Cut the stalks about 6 inches from the ground to promote more leaves and stalks to sprout.
  • Benefits: Regular trimming helps prevent the center of the plant from becoming too woody and unproductive.

Companion Planting to Benefit Lemongrass

Planting lemongrass near certain plants can help deter pests, improve growth, and even enhance flavor. Here’s a guide to companion planting with lemongrass:

Companion PlantBenefit to LemongrassAdditional Notes
BasilRepels insects; enhances flavorAlso benefits from the same soil conditions
MarigoldDeters pests with its scentAdds beauty to your garden
TomatoesLemongrass may deter tomato pestsBoth enjoy sunny conditions

Harvesting Lemongrass

Harvesting lemongrass at the right time and in the right way ensures you get the best flavor and aroma from your plants, while also keeping them healthy for future growth. Understanding the signs that your lemongrass is ready to be harvested, how to harvest without harming the plant, and methods for storing and preserving your lemongrass are key steps in enjoying your harvest for as long as possible.

Signs Your Lemongrass is Ready to Be Harvested

Knowing when your lemongrass is ready to harvest is the first step to enjoying its fresh, citrusy flavor. Look for these signs:

  • Height: Lemongrass is ready when it’s about 12 inches tall or more.
  • Stalk thickness: The base of the stalks should be about 1/2 inch thick.
  • Leaf color: Look for leaves that are vibrant green at the top and transitioning to pale green or white near the base.

How to Harvest Lemongrass Without Harming the Plant

Harvesting lemongrass correctly ensures the plant continues to grow and produce. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Select stalks: Choose the thickest and most mature stalks from the outer edges of the plant.
  2. Cut carefully: Use a sharp knife or scissors to cut the stalk at ground level, being careful not to disturb the roots or nearby stalks.
  3. Leave some stalks: Always leave a few healthy stalks in the center to allow the plant to continue growing.

Storing and Preserving Your Lemongrass

Once you’ve harvested your lemongrass, it’s important to store it properly to preserve its freshness and flavor. Here are some methods:

MethodDescriptionShelf Life
RefrigerationWrap fresh stalks in plastic and store in the refrigeratorUp to 3 weeks
FreezingChop or whole, freeze in airtight containersUp to 6 months
DryingHang stalks upside down in a cool, dry placeSeveral months to a year

Common Challenges and Solutions

Growing lemongrass, like any gardening endeavor, can come with its own set of challenges. However, with the right knowledge and approach, you can overcome these obstacles and ensure your lemongrass thrives. We’ll look into common growing issues, organic solutions to pests and diseases, and tips for troubleshooting poor growth or plant health to help you navigate these challenges smoothly.

Addressing Common Growing Issues

Sometimes, lemongrass plants might not grow as expected. Here are some common issues and how to fix them:

Poor germinationEnsure seeds are fresh; maintain warmth and moistureUse high-quality seeds; proper soil preparation
Slow growthCheck for adequate sunlight and water; fertilize with organic matterRegular watering; apply compost or organic fertilizer
Leggy plantsProvide more sunlight; trim to encourage bushinessPlace in a sunnier location; regular pruning

Organic Solutions to Common Pests and Diseases

Pests and diseases can hinder the growth of your lemongrass. Here’s how to deal with them organically:

Pest/DiseaseSignsOrganic Solution
Spider mitesFine webs on leaves; yellow spotsSpray with water or apply neem oil
RustOrange or brown pustules on leavesRemove affected leaves; improve air circulation
Fungal infectionsMold or mildew on leavesEnsure good drainage; use organic fungicide

Tips for Troubleshooting Poor Growth or Plant Health

If your lemongrass isn’t thriving, consider these troubleshooting tips:

  • Check the roots: Sometimes, the problem lies below the surface. Inspect the roots for signs of rot or overcrowding.
  • Soil quality: Poor soil can affect plant health. Enhance your soil with compost or organic matter to improve nutrient content.
  • Watering habits: Over or under-watering can lead to poor plant health. Adjust your watering schedule based on the plant’s needs and weather conditions.
  • Sunlight: Lemongrass needs plenty of sunlight to grow well. If your plant is in a shady spot, consider moving it to a sunnier location.


Growing organic lemongrass involves several key steps that we’ve walked through together. From preparing the soil and choosing the right location to planting, caring for, and finally harvesting your lemongrass, each step plays a vital role in the success of your plants. Remember, providing your lemongrass with enough sunlight, water, and organic nutrients will help it thrive.

I encourage you to try growing lemongrass organically. It’s not just an addition to your garden but a step towards a more sustainable way of living. Organic gardening practices enrich the soil, reduce chemical use, and create a healthier environment for everything living in and around your garden.

The benefits of organic gardening go beyond just the produce you harvest. It’s about nurturing the land, preserving biodiversity, and contributing to a healthier planet. As you enjoy the fresh, citrus scent of your own lemongrass, know that you’re also making a positive impact on the earth. So, why not give it a go? Your garden and the environment will thank you.

FAQs: Growing Organic Lemongrass

How long does it take for lemongrass to grow from seed?

It usually takes about 10-14 days for lemongrass seeds to germinate. However, reaching maturity and being ready for harvest can take several months. For quicker results, consider starting with stalks or cuttings.

Can I grow lemongrass in pots?

Yes, lemongrass grows well in pots. Choose a pot that is at least 12 inches deep and wide to accommodate the root growth. Ensure it has good drainage holes. Potted lemongrass is ideal for balconies or patios.

How often should I water my lemongrass plants?

Water your lemongrass when the top inch of soil becomes dry. The plant enjoys consistent moisture but doesn’t like to be waterlogged. In hot, dry weather, you may need to water more frequently.

Do I need to use organic fertilizer for my lemongrass?

While lemongrass will benefit from organic fertilization, it’s not strictly necessary for growth. Organic compost, fish emulsion, or green manure can provide a natural nutrient boost without the need for chemical fertilizers.

What pests should I watch out for when growing lemongrass?

Common pests include aphids and spider mites. Organic solutions like neem oil or simply spraying with water can help manage these pests. Lemongrass is also known for its pest-repelling properties, making it a beneficial plant in any garden.