Grow your own lemongrass!

April 15, 2010

I love the smell of lemongrass: fresh, clean and zesty. My favourite way to use it up is in this lemongrass drink that I learned from one of my favorite local restaurants. Back then, lemongrass was a hard-to-find ingredient and since I’d never tried it in a drink, it was difficult for me to figure what the chef had added to a mundane sweet soda. The waiter was kind enough to share the recipe, and now I can make it myself at home. Now I’m even more thrilled because I can have my favourite drink whenever I want because I finally grow my own lemongrass!

And you know the good news? Growing lemongrass is child’s play. All you need to do is plonk the stalks that you buy at the supermarket into a jar filled with about an inch or so of water and just watch it grow! Within just two days you will see the roots sprout and you know you’re on your way to a bountiful lemongrass garden. Just a pot or two will do the trick, so even for those of you who, like me, live in apartments, growing your own lemongrass is so easy.

Just keep changing the water every day or every second day at most. In about three to four weeks, the lemongrass would have grown about 2 inches of roots. Now is when you can transfer the lemongrass sapling to the soil. Keep it watered well, but make sure the soil isn’t soaked in water. It can withstand a good amount of sunlight as well.

Have a look at these weekly progress photos in case, just like me, you didn’t believe that growing lemongrass could be this easy:

Grow your own lemongrass!

Oh, and here’s an old post I had written back in 2007 about lemongrass. What’s special to me about that post is that it was the first ever post on PurpleFoodie.com!

{ 112 comments… read them below or add one }

1 davis June 14, 2012 at 3:56 PM

few years ago at an herb gardening class instructor gave out root snippets of lemon grass, rosemary, basil, etc. Only one that flourished was the lemon grass – have to cut it back often…its huge.

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2 Chas Gardner June 5, 2013 at 6:48 PM

Where can you buy the shoots or the seeeds? I’d realy like to have some!

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3 jocon August 10, 2013 at 2:29 PM

what country you from? coz here in the Philippines you can buy it in supermarket.

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4 bay October 12, 2012 at 8:35 AM

Wow!! the first time i would never thought of this & cant wait to grow my own lemon-grass, thank you for the most amazing website! i love it very exciting!!!

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5 Ila October 14, 2012 at 1:44 AM

I want to grow the lemon grass plant. I need cuttings. Where can I get it in Cincinnati Ohio?

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6 Jeanette B October 22, 2012 at 3:25 PM

You can get it at Asian markets. It is so easy to sprout. I am trying it for the first time and in just a week I had sprouts.

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7 don October 18, 2013 at 6:22 AM

amzon.com sells lemongrass plants & stalks

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8 trailing wife January 9, 2014 at 7:38 AM

Jungle Jim’s carries lemongrass, and everything else as well. And they recently opened a second store somewhere on the east side of Cincinnati.

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9 Yabbi Yum November 17, 2012 at 7:58 PM

Propagation is one thing, how to care for it after planting?

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10 Max Schutze June 13, 2014 at 5:43 PM

Lemon Grass is a member of the grass family. It is hardy and invasive. You will have little trouble caring for it as long as it is watered occasionally. It flourishes in full, hot sun. pests are a rare problem. Your biggest problem may be containing the plant, therefore you’ll probably opt to keep it segregated in a pot or planter.

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11 Kimbra December 1, 2012 at 2:00 PM

Just keep it watered, warm and in sunshine. Occasional feeding is appreciated! E-A-S-Y !!!

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12 Lyn January 3, 2013 at 7:37 AM

Hi. I’m from Singapore, which is pretty much on the equator. Lemongrass does best with full sun here, so I presume it needs as much sun add it can get anywhere else. Just be sure to water it generously when it gets more sun to prevent it from drying out. Because over here, we also get torrential downpours very frequently; everyday for the months of Nov and Dec.

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13 Seamus Ward January 5, 2013 at 10:52 PM

i would like to try to grow lemon-grass as the supermarket product has been in transit and in controlled storage for a conciderable time before its purchased, It then looks tired and will have lost its strength of flavour..So in being able to grow my own, would ensure i could have fresh lemon-gras when i require it . . Im not sure how it will fare in Ireland as we are in the northern hemisphere. But im going to try growing some this coming springtime.. happy gardening to all .

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14 Sharon January 24, 2013 at 11:16 PM

I am also in Ireland…Grow it in a pot on a sunny windowsill as I have – keep it well watered! – success!

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15 Kimbra January 8, 2013 at 3:07 AM

Ireland~Seamus, You CAN grow it! Put it in the sunnyist window you have, or supplement with full-spectrum florescent lights, and it WILL grow. Sunny, water, and an occasional feed, with love, it will grow! Just try it. ;-)

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16 Seamus Ward January 8, 2013 at 11:06 PM

Thank you Kimbra.. i will try this come spring time and the weather warms up .

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17 Shalott January 30, 2013 at 4:57 AM

I’ve been trying to grow my own lemongrass for about a week now. I used slightly older dry lemongrass. No roots yet but it’s turning a slight purple hue. Suggestions on what’s wrong/what can be done?

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18 Nicole April 29, 2013 at 10:02 AM

Mine was looking pretty dried up too, but I noticed that there were little roots forming on the base. I cut the dried tops off the plants to give the new growth a chance to get out and I think it helped.

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19 Max Schutze June 13, 2014 at 5:55 PM

I think you are probably on the right track. “topping” the lemongrass plant will take away the stress of sustaining upper growth, and allow resources to go into developing a new root system. Remember these cuts were traumatized when severed from big, healthy root systems in order to be shipped to the store where you got them. They need to start over completely. Topping them off lets the severed roots catch up to the rest of the plant.

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20 Seamus Ward January 30, 2013 at 9:17 AM

reply to Shallot. re; growing Lemon-grass.
My thinking on this is that the Lemongrass you are trying to grow is old . judging by your discription of what you have . id imagine what you rquire is some that is fairly green and has a semblence of root attached . even one strand , in order for it to feed on the wate. Good luck.

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21 Debbie February 23, 2013 at 3:24 AM

I am reading this with great interest! We are in Ubud, Bali, now and I watch the cook gather lemongrass for meal prep from three huge clumps of it! It is wonderful when fresh, and I would to give growing it a go. We live in the Pacific NW, US, but am hoping our large windows will be provide enough light. Wondering what type of potting mix is best?

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22 Kimbra February 23, 2013 at 3:50 AM

Debbie, I love “PRO-MIX”. It’s a peat blend, so retains water. Lemongrass really likes water. Everyone is on the Organic train, which isn’t a bad thing, but also isn’t necessary for the soil. (I just don’t recomend dollar store type brands due to their being so inconsistent.) As far as the sun issue, you can use flourescent light as a supplement. You DO NOT have to buy “grow lights”. A full spectrum bulb is good enough! Fl. lights don’t get hot like incandescents, therefore you can keep it within a couple of inches above the plant(s) without them getting burned. 8-10 hrs. is good as supplemental light and 6 would work. They wouldn’t have to be on daily, only if it were prolonged darker days. I say try it! I grow it and it’s easy! :-)

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23 Julie Vaughn February 26, 2013 at 1:04 AM

I bought two stalks today thinking to do this, so it is great to see the documented results – thanks so much! Seems that link for your fave lemongrass drink is no bueno, do you have it posted elsewhere? Thanks

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24 Shaheen February 26, 2013 at 9:23 AM

Hi Julie, thanks for the heads up! I’ve updated the link and it’s working now. All the best with the lemongrass project.

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25 nellie-claire March 13, 2013 at 10:47 PM

I had my husband buy me 4 stalks of fresh lemongrass last Friday at Wegman’s. I used one whole stalk in soup and the other three, I put in a glass of water. None of the stalks had roots but in two days, one stalk had a big root and the other two stalks had grown at least an inch. It is truly amazing! I am hoping that the other two stalks will root but so far it doesn’t look as though it will happen. By the way, I am pretty sure that you can find fresh lemongrass at Whole Foods and other grocery stores, in addition to Asian Markets. Nursery Centers such as Lowe’s and Home Depot also carry potted lemongrass. It should be very easy to find. I have bought it on eBay and I have also found lemongrass seeds online.
For those of you with not much light, I wouldn’t worry about it. It has been very dark and gloomy here in Baltimore, MD yet my glass of lemongrass on the edge of my kitchen sinking is very happy. Good luck!

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26 nellie-claire March 13, 2013 at 10:48 PM

I had my husband buy me 4 stalks of fresh lemongrass last Friday at Wegman’s. I used one whole stalk in soup and the other three, I put in a glass of water. None of the stalks had roots but in two days, one stalk had a big root and the other two stalks had grown at least an inch. It is truly amazing! I am hoping that the other two stalks will root but so far it doesn’t look as though it will happen. By the way, I am pretty sure that you can find fresh lemongrass at Whole Foods and other grocery stores, in addition to Asian Markets. Nursery Centers such as Lowe’s and Home Depot also carry potted lemongrass. It should be very easy to find. I have bought it on eBay and I have also found lemongrass seeds online.
For those of you with not much light, I wouldn’t worry about it. It has been very dark and gloomy here in Baltimore, MD yet my glass of lemongrass on the edge of my kitchen sink and it is very happy. Good luck!

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27 KarishmaKalro March 15, 2013 at 6:11 AM

Very interesting ! I love gardening but stay in an apartment so just have a few plants in my balcony. will now try growing lemon grass esp cos my husband and me love its fragrance

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28 Lise April 2, 2013 at 7:14 PM

I’m going to try to plant lemongrass here in Denmark. My plan is to start in a sunny window and then when the frosty nights are over I want to plant them outside at my terrace. I’ve seen pictures on pinterest of big bushes of lemongrass, but how close should I plant the sprouts then?

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29 Ger April 3, 2013 at 11:45 PM

How about growing them in just water. Do you need to plant them in soil? Thanks

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30 Shaheen April 14, 2013 at 2:45 PM

Not sure – please let us know if it works for you!

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31 carey April 4, 2013 at 2:55 AM

Hi,I read about the lemon grass .I would like to have the recipe for thatwoderful beverage u get at the resuraunt. Thank yon Enjoy spring time

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32 Reshmy Kurian April 11, 2013 at 6:32 PM

Hi, Just started growing the lemon grass myself and now stumbled on this post. For a lot of our Indian uses of lemongrass (mainly the milk tea) we simmer the leaves in the drink. For this the potted plant is perfect. Every time you cut it, it grows even more prolifically. However a lot of the other asian preparations seem to demand the use of the stalk itself. Am loathe to part with the stalk since I guess I will then have to sacrifice the plant itself. Or do you think the plant will regenerate itself if I cut it from as low as that? How did you use your plant?

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33 Shaheen April 14, 2013 at 2:20 PM

Hi Reshmy, Yes it’s a pity and kinda heartbreaking to to use up the stalk itself. And while that’s the only reason I planted my lemongrass, I just didn’t have the heart to use it to cook. So while I let my plant grown, I’d still go and buy the stalk to cook East Asian food. I’m not much of a tea drinker so the leaves aren’t very useful to me – my parents ended up using them occasionally.

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34 Mayo April 15, 2013 at 9:43 PM

Does lemon grasss come back in the garden every year.

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35 Seamus Ward April 15, 2013 at 10:06 PM

I would imagine that it does.. your best bet is to GOOGLE it , as its easy to propogate . my guess (i havnt googled it YET) is that it does.
im gong to grow some this year . bet of luck with your efforts.

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36 Tess April 19, 2013 at 8:16 AM

I was looking on how to grow lemon grass in my garden and found out how easy it is to grow this herb plant. Looks like everyone on this blog has an interest because of its flavor and aroma. I would like to share that I found out in many medical study that lemon grass (as tea – hot or cold or in a soup) is also good for hypertensive individuals . People who suffer from high blood pressure may find that drinking the tea or having a soup of lemon grass can reduce high blood pressure.

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37 Connie's May 5, 2013 at 12:59 PM

My father and mother would always tell me to plant lemongrass on four corners of the house because to drive away snakes.

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38 Sondra May 16, 2013 at 6:41 PM

I’m so glad I found this! I’ve had lemongrass sitting in a cup of water for a little less than a week and it’s barely sprouting roots (tiny little thin ones). I was worried that it wasn’t going to take because other plants I’ve tried had rooted within a week. It has new growth on it though, so hopefully with the new green leaves that are popping out the roots will get more food.

What was the lemongrass drink from the restaurant made of? I’ve never heard of it being used in anything other than teas.

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39 Shaheen May 20, 2013 at 4:59 PM

Hi Sondra, Here is the recipe http://purplefoodie.com/lemongrass/

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40 Karishma kalro June 21, 2013 at 10:25 AM

Dear shaheen,
I just got back from a holiday in thailand. Had purchased some fresh green lemon grass, galangal, thai chillies and kaffir lime leaves from the local market there. I stored these in the refrigerator in my hotel room till I returned to INDIA . Now when I placed my lemon grass in a container of water it has all turned brown in colour and died. So now I can’t grow my own lemon grass ! Can you tell me what went wrong ! I’m very disappointed

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41 Shaheen July 1, 2013 at 12:09 AM

You can buy lemongrass from Trikaya and try to propogate it.

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42 Gerard July 17, 2014 at 10:28 PM

You probably killed it by putting it in the fridge. It’s a semi-tropical plant.

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43 Sujash Raha July 1, 2013 at 8:24 PM

Hai I am from Rajasthan, India. After looking your comments I also want to grow lemon grass at home. Incidentally then stalks are not available in any of the supermarkets in India.

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44 fungenee July 11, 2013 at 3:46 AM

I bought lemongrass shoots from wholefoods mine did not grow. It has been 3 weeks, unless I am not doing something I was suppose to do.

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45 charanya August 14, 2013 at 6:30 AM

can i grow galangal the same way? or can i plant it in d soil directly? i m from india

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46 ThatCompostGuy August 16, 2013 at 3:06 PM

I bought lemongrass plants several years ago and put them in the ground and they did wonderfully. But I didn’t know much about it or how or when to harvest and thought it would come back. not here in Zone 7, upstate SC. Spring 2011, I bought two more plants and put in 12″ pots. Harvested in the fall before frost and brought the pots in. Pulling the stalks, I saw lots of stiff roots on the bottom. So I cut off minimal amounts of the bulb with the roots attached and tried to grow them in cups. It worked great! But I soon found out that you can’t keep lemongrass in a cup the whole winter, so they soon died. That’s fine.

They do become rootbound in pots very quickly. One season, in fact. Letting mine go two years was wrong, so now I know. The 12″ pots had roots coming out the bottom and circling under them. I split the mass of growth in half vertically and trimmed off at least half of the lower half of the root ball. I figured if it was so easy to root individually, I wasn’t worried. They look so much better this year and are not so thirsty. My two pots became 4. plus I had some stalks fall off, which I also rooted and then planted in the ground once it was warmer. I’ll harvest those before frost and let those plants die. Take the pots inside and over winter in a window. Next spring, I’ll divide all the pots and plant most of the divisions in the ground and keep the pots going. It’s amazing how easy it is to care for once you figure it out.

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47 Emy August 22, 2013 at 9:48 AM

Hi! I live in Lapland, North Finland. I wonder how often should I water lemongrass during winter since we have long winter and no sun at all for months. Any suggestions? Thanks a lot!

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48 Gin Bendell August 31, 2013 at 4:26 PM

I’m so glad I found your website! I’ve now got 3 stems in water and 2 of them have roots, so I wondered what to do, came back to the site and saw the picture of them in a pot. Right, I’ll go ahead and plant them just like that. Thanks very much!

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49 Brian Michael M. Garcia September 1, 2013 at 5:07 AM

I buy my stacks here in Arizona @ Lee Lee’s Asian Seafood Market… It cost about $1.00 per bundle of 6 stalks. What I do is clean the stalks, cut the tops, and put it in a jar… with it I include about a 1/4 teaspoon of Epsom Salt, 1 Teaspoon of Honey, and 3-4 teaspoon of Hydrogen Peroxide, and the rest fill it up with regular tap water…

you may ask why I do this… well here is the Science behind it.

Epsom Salt–> makes the plant more blush with greens, it promotes the production of Chlorophyl.
Honey–> it is a natural antiseptic, natural antibiotic, protect the plant from rotting.
Hydrogen Peroxide –> Here is a question… Why do plants like rain water instead of ordinary water…??? …Because when It rains water from the clouds pours down on us and the plants, and the water grabs an extra oxygen molecule from the oxone layer, which in then turns the rain water super oxygenated… so literally tap water + H2O2 = Man-made Rainwater.
I would do this every other 3 days, and clean the jar and replace the fluid again for about 4 weeks until you see roots. Once it roots, replant it in the ground or in a large pot with potting soil.

I water my lemongrass plant twice a day and fertilize it 2 a week. I made my own blend of fertilizer:

Compost Tea Extract
Aerator
Rubber Tubings
Airstones
a 5 gallon of Urine (From a Healthy Person that is not taking any kind of medication, preferrably) + 5 gallon of water with Ground Sea Weed (Nori) fermented to about a week and a half –> aerate this liquid solution for about 1+1/2 days and … include ingredients with (**), and in a women’s pantyhose, fill the pantyhose with (@@), let it aerate again for 3 days… after 3 days, add the final ingredients ($^$), and bottle it and fill it in gallon jugs. fill a spray bottle and spray the folliage of the plants, add it to a grum of water, add water and this fluid, and add some more hydrogen peroxide and epsom salt and flood the plants with this solution 2 a week and water your plants with regular water and hydrogen peroxide 2 a day.
1/2 cup of Epson Salts (**)
1/2 cup of Honey (**)
1 cup of granulated sugar (Brown Preferably) and or 1 Cup of Unsulfured Mollasses (**)
1bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide (added last) ($^$)
Bat Guano (@@)
Compost (@@)
Earthworm Castings (@@)
Fish Extract Fertilizer (**)
Kelp Extract Fertilizer (**)
Azomite Powder (added last) ($^$)

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50 brian December 2, 2013 at 7:24 PM

I brought a cluster of 3 small lemongrass about 2 months ago looking good and healthy now winter time here in Arizona 50-70 during day 40-50 at night or colder at times how should they look now in winter inside have grow lite 60 watts is that enough keeping soil wet plant looks like welting and brown can take those young leaves and dry them for tea when can I harvest should I used epsom salt whats the measurements for that

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51 Sukru Demiray December 29, 2013 at 7:03 PM

Great idea thank you :)

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52 Catherine March 10, 2014 at 2:20 AM

I started a lemongrass clump in my raised garden here in northern New Zealand last year (we have a subtropical climate). I harvested some stalks, cut off the leaves and froze them for my Indonesian cooking. When harvesting the stalks, some had roots. I planted some of these in the ground, cutting off the end leaves to concentrate the plant’s energy on growing new shoots. I watered frequently after planting (then let Mother Nature take over once growth began). The original clump comes back in the spring and now I have another full clump. I planted next to the patio, as lemongrass keeps the mosquitoes away.

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53 Ireen Pi van de Venne April 20, 2014 at 4:36 PM

Thanks for sharing how to grow your own lemongrass!

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54 Frida October 13, 2014 at 4:14 PM

Hi :)

I want to do this! But when do I harvest my new lemongrass?

I’ll be planting them in pots to stand in my sunny kitchen window :)

Hugs from Denmark
Frida

http://www.fridaspeach.wordpress.com

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55 Shaheen October 21, 2014 at 10:25 AM

When the lemongrass is well rooted and growing prolifically you can harvest the leaves – I’m not so sure as to when you’d ant to pull out the bulb – I wouldn’t want to until the plant is growing really well. : )

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