In this article, we will learn how to harvest lemongrass and some tips for a plenteous harvest.
Lemongrass is a tropical plant native to Sri Lanka and Southern India. It’s much more commonly accessible as a dried or fresh herb in the West nowadays. However, you’ll get the finest flavor by growing your own.
Lemongrass has a light and fresh smell that works well in food or body care items. You can use it for cooking or herbal tea; the options are abundant.
Moreover, lemongrass is a natural bug repellent that is easy to cultivate and smells terrific too. With this simple instruction article, you’ll learn how to harvest lemongrass and use it to its fullest potential.
>> Check Out 5 Substitutes for Lemongrass That Work
Where Can I Grow Lemongrass?
The good news is that lemongrass is an annual plant that can be grown anywhere. Plants will grow 2-4 feet in a single season, giving you plenty of harvesting opportunities.
You won’t cultivate lemongrass as a permanent garden plant unless you reside in a tropical climate. Only USDA zones 10 and 11 will support it as a perennial.
Varieties of Lemongrass You Can Grow
Although there are over 50 types of lemongrass, only two are usually grown and used in cooking: East Indian (Cymbopogon flexuosus) and West Indian (Cymbopogon flexuosus) (C. citratus). Once the threat of frost has gone, you can plant any of these outside.
Best Way to Harvest Lemongrass
Planting lemongrass in pots is the best way to grow and collect it. You’ll have easy access to your herbs and will be able to move the pots inside when the weather turns chilly. Lemongrass grows rapidly and may get very big, so keeping it in a container will protect it from taking over your yard.
Lemongrass is mildly poisonous to dogs, cats, and horses, so use caution. If you have a dog, you can cultivate lemongrass.
However, consuming significant amounts of lemongrass might make your dog ill or cause intestinal problems. However, a small nibble won’t harm your dog. It’s pretty unlikely that your pet would die as a result of ingesting lemongrass.
Tips for a Good Lemongrass Harvest
You’ll need healthy plants to cultivate lemongrass before learning how to harvest it. Here are some helpful suggestions for caring for your plants:
- Start With Transplants
Lemongrass is easy to grow from seed, but it takes a long time to reach maturity. If you wish to harvest stalks before the fall, use transplants rather than seeds.
- Provide Sufficient Sunlight and Heat
Lemongrass thrives in hot, humid regions with plenty of sunlight. After the winter weather has passed, plant your lemongrass in broad daylight.
- Feed With Nitrogen
You don’t have to feed your plants, but healthy soil will help them thrive. Lemongrass is grass, and it will succeed if you fertilize it with nitrogen every few weeks during the spring and summer.
- Remember That it Can Be Ornamental
If you want to use lemongrass as more than just a herb, you can also use it as a decorative grass around your home.
- You Can Use it as an Insect Repellent
Citronella oil is widely known for repelling insects, it’s an oil produced directly from lemongrass. Instead of burning citronella candles or using the oil, you can plant lemongrass on your balcony or near windows to ward off any creepy crawlies and mosquitos.
When to Harvest Lemongrass
Lemongrass has two components that you can harvest: the leaves and the stalks.
The leaves are the grassy, green portion of the plant, which may be spiky. The stalks are the whiter, fatter parts of the plant that begin underneath the leaves and extend to the plant’s base.
When the plants are approximately a foot tall, you may begin collecting the leaves. Harvest the stalks when they are at least a quarter-inch in diameter.
How to Store Lemongrass
Once you figure out how to harvest lemongrass, you’ll probably have plenty to use. Thankfully, you can freeze or dry it, then store it for later.
The stalks freeze nicely when wrapped in plastic bags or stored intact in freezer-safe containers. You can slice them up and split them in batches for recipes ahead of time before freezing.
To dry out your lemongrass, lay whole or chopped leaves on a screen somewhere dark and dry with sufficient ventilation. You can use a wire rack, if you don’t have a screen. Alternatively, dry the entire lemongrass leaves or stems in bundles. Store your herbs in sealed containers away from heat or light once they’ve become crispy and crumbly.
Lemongrass may be frozen for up to 6 months and dried for up to a year.
Are you ready to start cultivating your fresh lemongrass? Now you know how to harvest lemongrass. You’ll have more colorful food prepared for your family and friends in the days ahead. From using it as a bug repellent, brewing some herbal tea or livening up your dishes.
Take our advice and watch your lemongrass thrive. Then when it’s ready, harvest your plant and harness its potential!