Growing and Saving the Seed Of Lemongrass
Latin name Cymbopogon schoenanthus is a tropical grass plant. A frost-sensitive plant, it is often grown as an annual or houseplant in the north. Hardy from USDA zones 10-11.
Native to Southeast Asia. Citronella is derived from this plant and used widely in bug repellent and perfumes. This is also a popular culinary ingredient.
- Many culinary uses
- Used in perfumes and bug repellants
- Seeds germinate in 14-35 days.
- They germinate best in warm, humid conditions.
- Cover seedling tray with a humidity dome or a layer of plastic wrap and place in a warm, sunny location.
- Start indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost, transplanting out after last frost.
- Sow seeds 1/4 inch deep and mist until soil is completely moistened.
- Remove dome or plastic once a week (or as frequently as necessary to prevent soil from drying completely) and water thoroughly before covering again.
- Ideal germination temperature is 68-75 F.
- Remove plastic wrap when seedlings have reached 1 inch tall.
- Prefers full sun.
- Provide loose, well-drained soil.
- Space plants 2-3 feet apart.
- Harvest by cutting single stalks at the base of the plant.
- Lemongrass is a fairly heavy nitrogen feeder.
- A typically pest-free plant. Sometimes rust is a problem; keep plants well watered at the roots -- not the leaves -- to avoid fungal issues like rust.
Lemongrass will flower and produce seeds given enough time, under favorable (warm and moist) conditions. The process is very hands-off and is an exercise in patience!
- The flower stalks will come up from the center of the plant and have many flowers and seed pods on each stalk. The flower heads will appear green to begin with, and if you look closely you will see a multitude of tiny pale flowers on the tip of each seed/flower pod.
- Over a few weeks, the tiny flowers will fall off, and the entire flower/seed stalk will begin to turn brown and droop. Once it is completely brown and dry you can harvest seeds.
- Stalks can be cut and shaken/beaten inside a bag to release seeds, or the stalks can be stripped of the seed pods by hand, and the seeds can be further separated from plant matter through winnowing or other methods of separating debris.