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Lemon Grass

Posted by grass_guy 8b (My Page) on
Wed, Oct 11, 06 at 9:30

Not sure if this is the best forum to post in, but...

Anyone growing Cymbopogon lemon grass as an indoor plant? If so, how is it doing?

I'm also wondering how many have tried this outdoors as an ornamental in warmer zones (or even as a tender perennial in colder zones)?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Lemon Grass

Well, I am growing it outdoors.... though I am trepidatious, because it spreads... I may just grow it one year, harvest the heck out of it and then dig it up. It gets relatively tall, that's the only thing that I can think of as a drawback to growing it indoors. Big ole clump of grass.


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RE: Lemon Grass

Lemongrass Cymbopogon citratus: (sim-bo-PO-gon si-TRA-tus) Family: Poaceae (Gramineae) (Grass) Zones 8 - 10

It is a frost tender perennial that can withstand temperatures of 10 to 20 with very heavy mulching, and it can be grown in the ground or in containers. In fact, it makes for a very good container plant. Plant it in full sun with excellent drainage. It can be cut back during early winter, but be sure to mulch heavily. It is thought to be native to India/Tropical Asia. It is a clumping fountain grass which grows to 3 to 5. They say flowering is rare, but I know that all of mine flower every year. It likes moist, well-drained soil and prefers full sun, but it can take some dapple sunlight. The blades are sharp so be careful, and always rub upward and not downward.

I grow lemongrass here in south Texas as a year-round clump of "grass". Lots of people grow pampas grass and other ornamental grasses for landscaping, but I like lemongrass the best because it looks good, and it is a culinary herb. Mine grow to about 5' and put out flowers every year. I have a large yard, and I have two planted up against the fence. I also have several growing in pots in my greenhouse. They make nice presents for my "herbie friends"!

If you are going to grow it indoors, just make sure it gets direct, full sun and make sure it is in a well drained potting medium.


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RE: Lemon Grass

I can't imagine growing lemongrass indoors. It likes a LOT of water (think daily tropical downpours), heaps of light and heat from the real sun, and brilliant drainage. All very difficult to supply, indoors. And it can get BIG quite quickly. It's a large plant, let me tell you!


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RE: Lemon Grass

do you dig it up this time of year and split it into smaller 'groups'? -- maybe plant it in pots that can be pulled into the garage?

thanks and regards, dick


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RE: Lemon Grass

thanks for the replies...didn't get any response in the grass forum, so i guess this is the right place.

seems like lemon grass should be limited to outdoor containers and, like suggested, brought in to overwinter possibly. I had pictured it growing in a pot in the kitchen with window light, but I guess thats not too realistic...lol

unfortunately it gets just cold enough where i am to cut its winter survival odds to slim.


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RE: Lemon Grass

grass_guy,

Why not give it a try, i.e. plant one in the ground in a well protected area if you have one? I have friends that live in zone 8a that grow it outside. They just mulch it very heavily. Sometimes it makes it, sometimes not. But unless there is an extended cold period, it should come back from the roots.

daisy,

My lemon grass has been doing great planted directly in the ground, even with our extended drought here in south Texas. I occasionally water mine, and there is lots of humidity down here, but they don't get any extra water.

I wonder why they do so good down here.


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RE: Lemon Grass

I think I will try getting thru the winter this year outdoors. I hadn't mulched very heavily and it was in a fully exposed location in the garden. I need to buy in more to get going before its too late here.

I'm not going to give up on growing in the kitchen either.

Here is a link that might be useful: growing lemon grass indoors


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RE: Lemon Grass

I have brought indoors. It does like as much light as it can get. I just dug stuck in pot and if it lived fine if not. Some years it would winter over better than others, however I seldom had any luck getting the plants to live the next summer. My cats loved batting the leaves and actually ate them with relish. I would have thought the leaves would have cut their mouths but apparently it did not. Watch your grocery stores for starts. In the produce section check the stalks available to see if any have some roots left after trimming. I have had better luck with these than the ones from nurseries. Be certain that you buy the green fresh stalks not the dried ones that can be found also. Cut off the top part of the stalk so that you have a 6-8 inch piece with roots and plant the rooted section in a pot and keep watered.

Many herbs will grow in a pot if they have always been in a pot but some just don't like being potted after growing in the ground.


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RE: Lemon Grass

I'm outside Austin and mine is outdoors. I planted it on the south side of a retaining wall protected from the Northers. I don't mulch and after six years it's still going strong.


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RE: Lemon Grass

Last summer was my first year with lemon grass I started w/ a plant from a 3" pot. I dug it out in mid. Nov. 05 (it was then a nice size ~12"), I cut it back to about 4"-5" stuck it in a pot and left it in my basement where I watered it every week and it received about 4-5 hours of sun. I planted it out this past early March and it is HUGE right now, I am going to dig out a small clump again and bring it in and cut back the rest and mulch heavily and see what happens.


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RE: Lemon Grass

What does the seed of lemongrass look like? I cannot find any pictures or info anywhere. Any help appreciated.


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RE: Lemon Grass

I grew up in the caribbean and just love drinking lemon grass tea. I live in Memphis now and can't find any. would you be willing to give me some seed or a plant please. I would love to have some lemon grass growing in my little apt. That plant smell so good. I learned that it is also used to keep mosiques away.


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RE: Lemon Grass

Lemon grass grows quite well down here despite the summer heat and dryness, once established.
I know several people who grow it indoors in Europe. They give it as much light as possible and also try to put the pot outdoors in summer.


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RE: Lemon Grass

herb_lover_grower

My lemon grass has not bloomed yet. But you can get lemon grass seeds from Richters.


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RE: Lemon Grass

thank you ltcollins1949 I will look into it.


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RE: Lemon Grass

You are welcome.


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RE: Lemon Grass

I keep a pot of lemon grass that goes out on the deck in the spring and overwinters indoors in a south-facing window. It is several years old and extremely pot bound. I cut the old growth down to the dirt before bringing it in, and there is new growth sprouting within two weeks. I always end up underwatering it and a few leaves turn brown, but it does fine indoors.

narcnh


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RE: Lemon Grass

I've been growing lemon grass for ten years or so.I use it as a hedge.Its planted directly in the ground and it comes back each spring.I just trim the brown tops back early spring and its good to go for another year.Also I never water mine and its fine.Debbie


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RE: Lemon Grass

Here is a picture (on the left) of my two and half year old lemon grass grown from a 3 inch pot which I got from Mountain Valley Growers. They will ship herb plants directly to you - their link is below. I cover my lemon grass if we get a frost. The clump is now so thick you can't even find the middle of it. It probably needs dividing, but I hate to try to dig it up since it looks so great in its spot. The brown leaves are from frost in the winter.

I'd put it in a big pot - if grown in a container.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Here is a link that might be useful: Mountain Valley Growers


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RE: Lemon Grass

I started a small lemon grass plant in a container. It was soon transplanted into a gallon container then a 3 gallon pot and finally divided. I have one in a 3 g pot and another in a 1 g pot inside under HID lights. They are growing great but they get awfully big. I can't wait for spring when they can go back outside. I use it often when I cook but it grows back as fast as I pull sections off. Mine has never had any flowers.


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RE: Lemon Grass

I did not know this forum existed until I searhed GW.

In Asian Vgetables/vietnames vegetables there has been some discusion on this, as avietnames vegetable.

I have learned a few thing there,and how to grow it.
I would think that you have to be in zone 7 or higher to grow it outside.(Maybe z6 too ?)

Anyway, many lemon grass planting starts from root division or cutting rooted in water and then planted.
Best and easiest option is to go an Asian market and buy lemon grass sold for cooking. They usually come as wrapped in clear wrap to prevent from drying, and maybe to prevent losing aroma, or both.
When you are buying them, look for the bunch that part of the root is intact. In other words, if it is cut above the root bulb the chances are that it will not root. I found out by experience. The first buch that I bough had been cut about the root knokle. I kept it in water for weeks but did not root. The other day I went to a diiferent Asisan market, I saw ALMOST the same thing but (1) they had rot bulb(joint/knokle) (2) Some of them already had started to root inside the wrap. I was so exited and grabed a bunch with the most roots an biger bulbs.
Afew days ago I planted one of them in a container outside, while 3 others left in the water for the their roots get longer ang bigger. I will find out if planting direct in the pot works or not.

So you heard it from a novice lemon grass enthusiast.

Cyrus


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RE: Lemon Grass

I started lemon grass from seed this year. Still have last year's huge plant, brought in and protected over the winter, and will plant it out this weekend. Southern exposure keeps it growing just fine. Actually divided it to share last year. In late fall I will cut it back, dig it up and replant next year, if all goes well.


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RE: Lemon Grass

I tried to grow from seed and I only have one seedling. Do the seeds just take long to sprout or do they need soaking or some other extra care to sprout?


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RE: Lemon Grass

Anyone have a photo of a young lemon grass?
I just bought some from my local food co-op - no label on it, but they said it was lemon grass.
Now that I've looked up info on lemon grass, and seeing a pic of mature lemon grass, I'm doubting whether what I have might be lemon balm instead.
The leaves are round and it does not look grass-like.

thanks,


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RE: Lemon Grass

AS I have mentioned, I am growing LG from rooting.

I thing that one seed will produce one stem.
As the outer leaves gro bigger more inner leaves will emerge. Theoretically, this can go on for ever. That is how a palm/date tree grows too. Eventually it should look like some ornamental grass such as pom pon.
Also, when the plant gets bigger, it will grow many new side shoots (root division) attached to the mother plant.
One of my rootings alreay is growing a baby next to the mama(hehe).

Starting from rootings is much faster. My rootings are already growing leaves that are about half of an inch wide.


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RE: Lemon Grass

Pictures of lemon grass

Pictures of lemon balm

Round leaves? Sounds like lemon balm not grass.

FataMorgana


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RE: Lemon Grass

Here's a pic of my lemongrass - before it got dug up because it was swamping everything else. It filled a small trailer.

Here is a link that might be useful: lemongrass


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RE: Lemon Grass

Daisy,

That is ( was?) huge.
couln't you just give it a solder's haircut?
How many year did it take to grow that big?


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RE: Lemon Grass

It was about one year old. A haircut wouldn't do the job - the clump was too big and kept getting bigger. I have only a tiny garden. I now grow my lemongrass in a large pot, starting a new pot every year with just one stem. The latest one is about to break through the pot. NOT a plant for a small garden!


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RE: Lemon Grass

Are there any special culinary advantages to lemongrass as opposed to, say, lemon?

I am tempted to get some, but the local plant shop is charging over $6 for a small pot, and I am in zone 6...

Is it worth it?

I get very little sun, and it would be displacing other possibilities.

:o/


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RE: Lemon Grass

About flavor:
It is not as sour as lime or lemon. So it is pleasantly lemony. Besides, it has an aroma that lemon/lime does not have.

About the size:

AS we have learned on this thread, it can grow very fast, very big. Obviously young plants are small, especially if grown from seed.

Zone 6 ?
Kepp it at the sunniest spot you have.
You can bring it in and winter it, either in your kitchen, if you have sunligh and room for it. Or, keep it in your basement or garage semi-dormant. Cut it all the way down before winterizing. Chop the good stems, leaves and freez them for winter use. Then take a spoonful at a time to flavor your cooking. I got the idea from Asian Market, wher they sell frozen chopped LG. I bough a iar. Bcause my LG plant is not ready yet (Grin)

About Price:
$6.00 is not a lot for an exotic herb like LG. Ordinary herbs are sold for about the same price. Upon arival, triple the size of your pot and get ready for the show!


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RE: Lemon Grass

While the flavour is distinctly 'lemon-y' it is not really like real lemon. There are some interesting (but nice) overtones. It's the same with other 'lemon-y' herbs like lemon verbena, lemon balm, lemon-scented geranium etc - just 'something different' about them all.

Lemongrass is most often used in Asian cooking. If you don't do a lot of Asian cooking, then you can do without it, and use something like lemon balm instead.

If you buy some fresh lemongrass from your supermarket, you can use that to propagate from. Not guaranteed if the roots have been chopped off, of course, but even then it's worth a try.

Remember - it's a tropical plant, and won't do so well in a cooler climate. It fairly laps up the sun and the heat.


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RE: Lemon Grass

One of my favorite local restaurants is a Thai one. Lemongrass is featured in many dishes there. I also love to get a pot of lemongrass tea when I go there. They take a small teapot, pack it with muddled fresh lemongrass, and add hot water. Mmmmmmm...it is so yummy!

As far as $6 for a potted plant...Not a bad price. Remember it will have to winter inside. Might be a good patio plant.

FataMorgana


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RE: Lemon Grass

lemon grass is alaso used as a fever reducer when used as tea


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RE: Lemon Grass

Well, sounds like it would be worth a shot.

Now to see if there's any left for sale....

:o)


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RE: Lemon Grass

I have just read in a book(THE HERB AND SPICE COMPANION) that LG is also a valuable insecticide.


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RE: Lemon Grass

An additional incentive!

Maybe I could wave sheaths of it at mosquitoes....

:o)


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RE: Lemon Grass

I live in Zone 6a - I do a lot of cooking with lemon grass so was delighted to finally find it at my local nursery. It is expensive ($6/plant) but I was assured it will survive (and propagate) on my south facing balcony. I was advised to bring it in this fall, give it a "haircut", and put it back outside next spring. I have it in a selfwatering pot as there is wind off the harbor - and this will keep it from drying out. Will let you know if all of the above works out.


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RE: Lemon Grass

I haven't purchased any this year but in the past when I brought it in my cats loved it. They did bat it some but the main usage was to rub their teeth and gums on the leaves. I would have thought the leaves would cut the gums but I never saw any bleeding afterward. Even the cat that drooled when he purred never had any blood in is drool.


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RE: Lemon Grass

Lemongrass is one of my favorite plants.I grow it in pots.
One year it did so well that I divided into about 11 plants and passed them out to friends.You can always treat it like a houseplant if you don't want to cook with it.

I over-winter it in my garage.Its cool but doesn't freeze.
I water it occasionally but not too much.
I learned that you can buy a stalk of it from your Asian grocer and plant it.It's only about a dollar for a stalk.


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RE: Lemon Grass

OK, I went back to my local garden shop and bought one.

I was surprised to see that, among those left, the stems were already about twice as thick, and all but one middle shoot are now leaning sideways, desperate to get out of their tiny three inch pot. Do these ever lay over to spread?

00

Anyway, in choosing a pot, it would help to know how deep the roots usually go. Also, what is the best type of soil to use? I usually mix my own from my own clay, plus purchased humus and sand.

Thanks for all the good info.


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RE: Lemon Grass

I've got two stalks of lemon grass in water that are growing roots and two small plants I've bought at the nursery. I'm thinking of planting some in a pot and some in a damp area near our small pond. We live in a very arid area (Santa Fe), and I thought the moisture might help. Is this a good idea (to provide a little humidity) or a bad one (soggy roots that might rot)? Opinions are much appreciated.


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RE: Lemon Grass

I started some from store bought last year. they did wondefully.
But did not survise the winter. So I did the same way this year. Today, after having them
started roothing in water, I planted them in the garden.
If you want to plant in container, be warnned, have a big container.
They grow real big and multiply. I would say one stalk needs about
a 5-gal container. I know, they need a lot of water. If they get thirsty
the leaves will curl like a tube. You know then that they need water.
I have only seen that to happen in container not in the ground. I am not sure if they prefer wet feet all the time.

LG is amazingly aromatic. even the dead part left out there in the garden
still have some of that sweet nice aroma. It is excellent in cooking, making tea or addin to any tea and in pickling.
I am thinking about flavoring my wine with it too.


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RE: Lemon Grass

Thanks for the thoughts. I know I can't leave the plants outdoors in the winter--it gets way too cold here. I think I'll put the two stalks that have rooted (one has a shoot, too) in a large, wide, relatively shallow pot, and I'll try the two plants I bought in the pond "bog." One way or the other, I'll likely have lemongrass. Will let you know about the wet feet. Also, I suspect the potted ones won't get as big as yours, since it is so very dry here. I can keep them watered, but there's never any humidity.


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RE: Lemon Grass

My mother grows it indoor (apartment patio) in a medium size pot in Brazil (closed to Amazon). She has no problem with the size. There we make tea. It is believed to be good for your metabolism and helps to sleep.
My problem in Canada is to be able to find the lemon grass to grow. I bought seeds online one month ago, but still didn't receive. You can trim the grass... i don't know if it is the same variety, since there the grass is not as woody (hard) or thick as the one I see in the stores around here.


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RE: Lemon Grass

I would say, Forget about starting from seeds. It is much faster by rooting.

Yes, the ones sold here are woody too. So you use it to flavor not to eat.
Only the core of the sprigs are soft. But as far as the flavor goes every part of it is good.
Yes, you can trim, they will grow back, just like grass.


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RE: Lemon Grass

Hello, I would like to get some information on cooking with lemon grass from someone who does use it in Asian cooking. Also, thanks to the people who mentioned going to an Asian grocer and looking for lemon grass with some roots. Good idea!

One of our Chinese restaurants has a shrimp dish that is so good! They use sticks of lemon grass in it and it's tender and I eat it along with everything else in the dish. I like to peel the shrimp and take a bite of the grass along with the shrimp. It's so good that way. It's definitely lemon grass cut in shoestring sticks and it's very tender, with some strings in it, but they are not tough. Please tell me, if you know, what part of the lemon grass is that? Is it tender new stalks? Thanks so much, noss


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RE: Lemon Grass

For LG to be tender enough to eat, one has to get the lower core of the stick.
The rest, has the same flavor and aroma but too tough to eat.
So, for cooking, one way is to, get that tender part and chop it finely
and trhow in last few minutes before serving.


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RE: Lemon Grass

I just know that lemon grass likes to spread!


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RE: Lemon Grass

I started some lemon grass from a grocery store bundle as well. It took a while, I put it in a vase with water and after a couple of weeks, when the roots grew, I planted it on the ground, in a somewhat protected area/bed. At first it did not look like it would make it, I almost forgot about it. A few weeks later I looked at it and what a surprise! it really took off. Just like Cyrus posted here I was very excited about it. I also have a dwarf kaffir lime and elephant ears growing there (Colocasia esculenta - known as taro root in the grocery store and it will also grow!). I call it my 'tropical' or my Thai bed. I also tried to grow ginger in the same area, but no luck with ginger. If it drops below 32F ginger just dies, even though I mulched and mulched.

My lemongrass survived the winter, but it got smaller, sadder looking and browned a little. I gave it a hair cut (used the cutting for tea) and it seems to be recovering now, even though we had a very cold spring (cold for us that is). When it is at its largest it is not too big, probably because it does not get all the water it would like in this desert climate of ours. I do water it (I have to water everything but the cacti!) but not a whole lot.

My favorite use is in tea (yerba de limon) but I also use it in Thai cooking. I sautee the cut stalks in coconut cream, add kaffir lime leaves, sugar, salt, lots of garlic and hot peppers, and add different vegetables, broth, more coconut milk. I leave the stalks large so they can be picked out of the food. I think though, that you can make a green curry paste consisting mostly of ground up young lemon grass stalks (and other ingredients), but I have not done that yet.

I also have lemon balm, lemon verbena, lemon thyme, and two kinds of lemon trees (Meyers and Eureka). They are all lemony, but they are also all very different one from another. I love them all.


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RE: Lemon Grass

  • Posted by noss 9 Lafayette, LA (My Page) on
    Sat, Aug 7, 10 at 1:38

Hi Cyrus Gardner,

I got some lemongrass from our Asian grocery nearby about six days ago and stuck several of the stalks into a little bucket out front under the fig tree and when I changed the water this evening, I saw it had already started putting out roots on almost all the stalks! I haven't dared putting it where the sun can get to it because it would boil the water, being so blasted hot and dry here lately.

Starting the lemongrass from some bought at the Asian grocery is one good way to make sure you get the kind that is edible.

I bought a lemongrass plant at a local nursery, but it doesn't seem to be the right kind. Looks pretty growing in the terra cotta colored pot, though.

I'll be able to try different dishes with it now.

Vivian


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RE: Lemon Grass

Hi Vivian,

You're somewhat warmer than I am in Alexandria, LA but I just wanted to share. Some of our herb society members successfully overwintered their LG by cutting it down to a few inches and putting several inches of mulch on top, as I see is discussed above. Even tho' we had 15 degrees F for 3 nights in a row last winter their LG survived. I wasn't as smart & lost mine.


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RE: Lemon Grass

herb_lover_grower if you're still with us check your Email. I'll be glad to send you a start of the type that makes the best tea (small bulb)
Here in San Diego I planted some years ago and just ignore it except for a very occasional watering. I find it to be quite drought tolerant. It's green year round here but gets about 8 feet tall. Don't plant it where you have to brush by it. It has scratchy edges on the leaves.
RE the seeds. They are very fine and short lived. They should be planted as soon as they ripen on the clump. They should be pressed onto the surface of moist seed starting mix and kept covered with something like tented saran wrap till they sprout. They also need to be exposed to bright light. They will not sprout in a dark place.


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