Lemongrass is a tall, hardy plant which grows in clumps up to about three feet in height. It is not only known for its fragrant flavor which make it a popular herb in Asian cooking, but also as an effective remedy for various ailment which include fever, stomach cramps and arthritic pain. I have actually witnessed how my friend save the life of a seriously ill street cat with juice extracted from lemongrass.
Is this popular tropical grass difficult to grow? The answer is ‘no’ even a novice gardener can grow lemongrass without much problem. It is ideal for kitchen garden, and can also be planted in pot or tub.Generally the plant prefer full sunlight but grow reasonably well in semi-shaded conditions.
The easiest way to propagate the plant is to cut a few stalks of fresh lemongrass and put the slips in water for about 10 days. Even though the long leaves have already been pruned and the excess leaf sheaths removed, just make sure that a short stump of the rhizome remains at the end of the slip. Roots will emerge and then the slips can be planted right away.
The rooted slips can be planted in a small hole dug in the ground or in raised soil beds. Plant 4 to 5 slips in clumps with reasonable spacing. Mix half the soil with compost and apply 100 grams of fertilizer on each clump 2 weeks after planting. Apply fertilizer monthly at the same rate and avoid heavy watering.
The plant can be harvested in 60 days after planting. Just separate the number of stalks you want to harvest and cut off the rhizomes at the base of the stalks. Prune the leaves to about 8 inches long, remove the sheath to expose the whitish swollen base that give out the strong scent of lemongrass. The plant will grow many years and hardly encounter serious pest and disease problems. It is advisable to replant after 4 or 5 years for better management of the growth.