Lemongrass or citronella is an herbaceous plant that can be used both as an ornamental and as an aromatic plant. In both aspects, it is a plant with great possibilities and obviously, one use does not exclude the other. Cymbopogon citratus belongs to the Gramineae family. It is native to Southeast Asia, although it is currently cultivated commercially in subtropical and tropical areas around the world. Learn all about how to propagate lemongrass in this article.
Lemongrass is a plant that needs direct sun and mild temperatures to live, it does not tolerate frost so if we live in a cold climate it will be better to grow it in pots and thus be able to shelter it under cover during the winter. It needs a rich, fertile soil to which manure or any other organic matter has been added before cultivation.
How to Propagate Lemongrass – 2 Ways
Although we can sow it from seeds it is much faster to do it by cuttings. We can take advantage of the stems that are sold for use in the kitchen and so we will have the plant ready in a very short time. The seeds are sowed indoors at the end of winter and we will place them in a warm and luminous place. When the seedlings can be handled, plant them three by three in a small pot and place them on a window sill.
If we have bought lemongrass stems we will put them in a glass with water in a place with light. The roots will take a couple of weeks to appear and in the meantime, we will have to change the water several times so that it does not rot. When the stems already have roots we will cut their top end and we will plant them in a pot with a new substrate. Every 15 days we can fertilize with a little compost or worm humus. Watering should be regular and abundant.
At maturity, the plant also develops new stems. If it is grown in pots, it should be transplanted when the roots show through the drainage holes. The young shoots can be pulled out to propagate the plant. When the lemongrass is large, it can also be propagated by dividing the bush. In Asian cuisine, especially in Thai cuisine, lemongrass is used extensively. It is used to flavor rice, just finely chop a stalk of lemongrass, put it in a muslin bag, and add it to the rice cooking water. It is also used in a large number of recipes in soups, meat, fish, or vegetable dishes.
From lemongrass is extracted the essential oil that we all know to repel mosquitoes, the plant also has that effect. It has digestive properties and is very good for treating flatulence. In infusion, it is also used as a febrifuge. Curiously, despite repelling mosquitoes, it can attract bees, which is why it is used in beekeeping to recover swarms.
Tips for Lemongrass
Remember that it does not support very low temperatures.
Needs direct sun.
It needs rich, fertile soil.