I'm getting ready to plant some lemon grass (zone 5), and wondered where it might be happiest. Could I plant it in a container, or would it be happier in the ground? Thanks.
I'm not familiar with 'zones', but if I remember correctly, Zone 5 is a fairly cool climate, right?
You need to remember that lemongrass is a tropical plant. That means it does best in hot, humid conditions. In my tiny subtropical garden, it grew at a rate of knots, and I had to dig it out before it took over! The clump can get very large, and the plant can get very tall - taller than I am, and I'm no shrimp.
It's like any other grass. You cut it, it grows, you cut it, it grows. FAST.
Put it in the sunniest spot you have, allowing a lot of space for spreading. Give it LOTS of water, but make sure that water can drain away quickly. Think 'tropical downpour'.
If you put it in a pot, make sure it's a very large pot, because it will fill up quickly. I planted a single stem of it, and within a couple of months, I had to repot before the pot burst. It's a shallow-rooted plant, but those roots can get very tight, and they spread sideways and the clump expands.
If I'm right about your climate, yours might not grow so big or so quickly. If you get frosts, dig up a small amount of your plant and pot it up to bring indoors, and leave the rest to fend for itself.
Thanks daisy.......your info helps alot!
Hmmm. I am in Toronto which is in and around Zome 5 i believe. I grew Lemongrass last year and it was incredible. I had more than i could use, and I only started with 2 plants. I would not put it in a pot as it seems to like its space. It grows and spreads a little, but not too much. Not like a Mint or anything. And it is very easy to control the spreading, just pick from the outside.
I had built a large wooden box that I use as a "Herb Box" and grew several herbs in. Lemongrass was one of them, although I think it would have done just as well in the ground. If you need to put it in a pot, make it a big and wide one. The roots really seem to set themselves well, mine died over the winter of course, and i had a hard time getting the roots out this spring. Pretty deep and ingrained.
Lemongrass absolutely needs a spot where it will get good drainage, but more importantly, lots and lots of sun. If you can get it lots of sun, it will still do well up in these colder climates.
Good luck with it! It was one of my best producing herbs last year. I had to go on a research binge to see where I could use up all of it, in recipes and such :)
I had lemon grass and it's an annual here in Zone 7. It gets very tall and it grew fast. I loved the scent, but it definitely dies in the winter - permanently. I've had better luck over-wintering lemon verbena, and even that's pushing my zone 7 quite a bit. If you want a lemon flavored "thug" get lemon-balm. It will for sure winter over and it spreads like gang busters, since it's member of the mint family of plants.
So.. if you want to keep it from year to year, I'd try it in a pot. A big pot :)
Here is a link that might be useful: More Lemongrass Info
Lemon Grass is an annual anywhere colder than zone 9...no need to worry about the grass taking over :)
I grow it in a container and take it in to a sunny windowsill in cold weather. it can be divided regularly and can live for years if prevented from freeze.
The lemongrass has medicinal qualities which can help prevent Soar throat.
I'm from India and we grow the lemongrass everyehere. It will divide easily and can be brought indoors to a very sunny location too.
Steep the lemongrass in boiling water along with Ginger and Mint and use daily. You are sure to stay away from throat related problems.
you can dry the lemongrass by cutting the blades to about 2" in size and throwing them in apaper bag or on the counter over paper towel until dry.
and of course it has incredible smell.
Lemon grass is much more proliferative in the ground. If you use a pot, use a big one. You can also grow it in the ground during the warm season & bring it indoors in the winter.
I think it would be happiest at my house.... send it to me! :D hee hee!
Here in south Louisiana my experience is a little different. When I had lemongrass in the herb bed it tried to take over, so I dug it up and put some of it in a medium size pot where's it been for the past 4 years. I can contain it's growth and should we have a hard freeze (22Â° or lower) I can move the pot into the garage overnight.
I grew lemon balm for years, still have a small piece in a partially shaded location. In the sun it tended to spread, but wasn't hard to contain. Now I grow lemon verbena instead.
So I should dig up that little plant I just bought and put it in a big pot if I don't want it to take over the garden?
Just wait and see how it acts in your garden. You can always dig it up in the fall or next spring and pot it then.
I have been only a container gardener since I began my herb addiction because i live in an apartment. as soon as i got a plot in a local community garden, lemongrass was the first thing i transplanted. i'm new to non-container gardening, but apparently i did something right when i transplanted that lemongrass! it has been growing so fast, i'm kind of getting nervous about the neighboring herbs! i can't wait to use it. but it definitely seems happy.