All products were chosen independently by our editorial team. This review contains affiliate links and we may receive a commission for purchases made. Please read our affiliates FAQ page to find out more.
Rooting a lemongrass stalk in water

How to grow your own lemongrass

All you need to know about growing and caring for lemongrass, in our Grow Guide.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Sow
Sow

Do not Sow in January

Do not Sow in February

Do Sow in March

Do Sow in April

Do not Sow in May

Do not Sow in June

Do not Sow in July

Do not Sow in August

Do not Sow in September

Do not Sow in October

Do not Sow in November

Do not Sow in December

Plant
Plant

Do not Plant in January

Do not Plant in February

Do not Plant in March

Do not Plant in April

Do not Plant in May

Do Plant in June

Do not Plant in July

Do not Plant in August

Do not Plant in September

Do not Plant in October

Do not Plant in November

Do not Plant in December

Harvest
Harvest

Do Harvest in January

Do Harvest in February

Do Harvest in March

Do Harvest in April

Do Harvest in May

Do Harvest in June

Do Harvest in July

Do Harvest in August

Do Harvest in September

Do Harvest in October

Do Harvest in November

Do Harvest in December

  • Plant size

    1.5m height

    20cm spread

Lemongrass is a sweet, lemony herb, native to tropical climates. The stems are widely used in Asian cooking, it can be used in meat or fish dishes, and it works particularly well in curries. You can also use the leaves to make a delicious, refreshing tea. As well as its culinary value, lemongrass also makes an attractive plant.

Advertisement

How to grow lemongrass

Grow lemongrass in pots – it’s a tender plant so can be kept outside in summer before moving indoors for the winter months.

Lemongrass needs a lot of moisture, so ensure the compost doesn’t dry out. Reduce watering in winter but keep the soil just moist.

Lemongrass can be grown from supermarket stems or seed.


Where to grow lemongrass

Lemongrass growing in a container

As it comes from tropical regions, lemongrass needs a warm environment. It will grow best in a greenhouse or conservatory that doesn’t drop below 5°C, or you can keep it outside in a sunny spot for summer and bring it indoors for winter. It’s tender, so will require protection from frost.

Growing lemongrass in a pot will allow you to move it to shelter when you need to.


How to plant lemongrass

Rooting a lemongrass stalk in water

There are two options for growing lemongrass, you can either grow lemongrass from seed or from a supermarket brought stem.

Growing lemongrass from seed

Growing from seed is easier than you might think. Sow seeds in spring, sowing thinly on the surface of moist compost and don’t cover them. If you need to water the pot after sowing then do so from the bottom, by placing the pot in a dish of water for an hour or so. Keep the pot covered in a heated propagator to aid germination.

When the seeds are large enough to handle, prick them out into larger pots, and then place these in a sunny spot, away from any risk of frost. Once the roots are showing through the bottom, transplant into a larger pot. You can repeat this process a number of times.

Growing lemongrass from a stalk

The other option is to grow lemongrass from a supermarket stalk. Take a whole lemongrass stalk, and if the base is woody, slice off a sliver using a sharp knife. This will help expose a fresh area to the water. Cut off any leaves and place the stalk into a glass of tepid water. Put it on a warm, sunny windowsill and refresh the water every day. It should take a couple of weeks for roots to appear. Put the rooted stalk into a pot of peat-free, multi-purpose compost. Water and keep in a warm and bright spot. Repot when the roots poke out of the base.


How to care for lemongrass

Trimming lemongrass foliage

Lemongrass is best grown in a container so you can keep it in a sunny, sheltered spot outside during summer, and move it indoors for winter. When the foliage turns brown, cut back the stems to 10cm. Once new growth appears in spring, feed weekly with a liquid fertiliser.


How to harvest lemongrass

Once your new plant matures and produces lots of stems (at least 10), you can start using them for cooking.  Cut stems just below the base, but make sure you leave plenty on the plant to allow it to produce new growth.


Growing lemongrass: pests and diseases

Brown, red or yellow marks on leaves could be lemongrass rust, which is caused by too much moisture and humidity. Keep the plant healthy with regular feeding, pruning diseased leaves and avoid watering from above.

Advertisement

Yellow or brown spots on leaves could be a sign of the yellow sugarcane aphid, although lemongrass is unlikely to be troubled by this pest. If you need to, wash the aphids off the lemongrass with water.

Advice on buying lemongrass

  • There are a few varieties of lemongrass to choose from when growing from seed, in particular Cymbopogon citratus and Cymbopogon flexuosus
  • You can also grow lemongrass from stems brought in the supermarket.

Where to buy lemongrass seeds