Common name: Lemongrass
Lemongrass, also known as Cymbopogon, is a herbaceous perennial the cultivation of lemongrass is native to tropical regions. It has long, narrow, linear leaves that give off a distinctive citrus scent when crushed. The plant can reach a height of 1-3 meters, with sturdy stems and cream-colored cluster inflorescences.
Lemongrass thrives in warm, humid climates. The cultivation of lemongrass requires abundant exposure to the sun, with temperatures between 20 and 35°C. It prefers well-drained soil rich in organic matter. The plant can also tolerate slightly acidic to neutral soils.
Lemongrass can be planted from seed, but the most common method is to plant stems from the parent plant. Dig holes about 10cm deep and space them about 60cm apart. Place the stems in the holes and cover them lightly with soil. Be sure to keep adequate spacing between plants to promote good air circulation.
Water the lemongrass regularly to keep the soil moist but not soggy. Regularly remove weeds around the plants to avoid nutrient competition. In case of prolonged drought, it is important to water more frequently. You can also apply a balanced fertilizer once a month to promote healthy growth in your lemongrass crop.
Lemongrass can be harvested when the stems reach a height of about 50 cm. Cut the stems near the base with scissors or a sharp knife. Use the aerial parts of the plant to prepare fragrant infusions or to extract lemongrass essential oil.
Diseases and pests:
Lemongrass is generally resistant to diseases and pests, but it can be affected by attacks from aphids, slugs or mites. Monitor regularly for signs of infestation and use biological control methods or mild insecticides if necessary.
Lemongrass can be propagated by dividing clumps. When the plant is mature, carefully dig it up and divide the clumps into sections each containing a few stems and roots. Replant these sections in new locations or in individual pots, following the same planting principles as for the stems.
Citronella is often used as a natural mosquito repellent. You can rub the leaves directly on the skin to take advantage of its deterrent effect. Moreover, you can dry the leaves and use them to prepare fragrant infusions or add them to culinary dishes to impart a lemony flavor. Remember to protect the lemongrass from strong winds, as its fragile stems could break. In winter, in colder regions, it is recommended to grow lemongrass in a pot and bring it indoors to protect it from frost.
Lemongrass is a versatile plant, both ornamental and functional, that adds an exotic touch to your garden. With the right growing conditions and proper care, you can enjoy its refreshing scent, multiple uses, and benefits.