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 85 Comments |  Jill Winger

Lemongrass – How to Grow It and Use It


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By Anni Winings, contributing writer

I first came across lemongrass while visiting a farmer’s


market in Florida while we were traveling.

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Lemongrass - How to Grow it and Use it |The Prairie Homestead

The little old man handed me a bunch of lemongrass stalks and said, “You put those in water and
they grow again.” He picked up another stalk and showed me how to chop it and use the inner part
of the lemongrass. It smelled amazing when he chopped it up, and I bought a couple of bunches of
lemongrass.

Since then, I’ve used lemongrass to add a “what is that!” element to rice; to add a light, slightly spicy
lemony flavor to smoothies (not to mention all its purported healing properties); and in all sorts of
variations of stir-fries and soups.

As the old man promised, when I stuck the ends of the lemongrass in a jar of water, they did begin
to sprout roots. I’ve moved twice since that time, and haven’t been able to take my potted
plants across the borders of the new states we’ve moved to, so I’ve regrown lemongrass both from
stalks found in oriental shops and from seed.

Growing lemongrass isn’t that hard. Once you get a thriving bunch established, you’ll have more
lemongrass than you know what to do with.

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How to Grow Lemongrass


Lemongrass is a sub-tropical plant and it can’t handle hard freezing temperatures. If you live
anywhere colder than about a zone 9a, you’ll want to grow your lemongrass in a pot, and bring
it indoors for the winter. And even then, you might want to bring it in, just in case you get an
unexpected temperature drop (the weather seems to be doing all sorts of funny things these days).

Here’s a potting soil recipe that works great.

Grow your lemongrass in full sun, with plenty of water, in a rich, well-draining soil. If you’re growing it
in a pot, top-dress it with compost or worm castings every couple of weeks, to make sure it’s getting
plenty of nutrients.

Lemongrass will naturally propagate itself, once it is established. Small stalks of new plants will
begin to grow off the side of existing stalks (see picture below).

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Lemongrass - How to Grow it and Use it |The Prairie Homestead

There are a handful of different varieties of lemongrass, though a lot of times, it’s not specified which
variety you’re purchasing, whether in seed form or in stalks. I’ve grown at least two different varieties
of lemongrass, though I don’t know what they’re called. I only know they were different because one
had red streaks along the lower half of the leaves, and the other one didn’t.

I did a quick search to see who’s selling lemongrass seed at the moment, and neither of the
companies that came up have a specific variety listed. (Baker Creek and Park Seed) Learn where to
find heirloom seeds for your garden here.

Lemongrass will germinate within a week or two, and if our experience is typical, the seed has a
high germination rate. Keep the seeds moist and in a warm spot until they germinate. Transplant
them to a pot when they’re about six inches tall, spacing them about 2-3 inches apart, and making
sure they’ll have plenty of space for good root growth.

If you want to root your own lemongrass from stalks bought in a store or at a farmer’s market, simply
place them in a jar with an inch or two of water, and let them sit until the roots begin to grow. Be
sure to change out the water every couple of days. Once you begin to see new leaves growing,

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Lemongrass - How to Grow it and Use it |The Prairie Homestead

you’ll know that the lemongrass has enough roots and you can plant them in a pot.

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Lemongrass - How to Grow it and Use it |The Prairie Homestead

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Lemongrass - How to Grow it and Use it |The Prairie Homestead

To harvest a stalk of lemongrass, grasp firmly near the base of the stem and pull. The inner, white
core is what is used in cooking, though the leaves can also be used to make a light, lemony tea.

Remove the outer green leaves and finely chop or grate the lemongrass. When I use it to flavor plain
rice, I put the chopped lemongrass in a kitchen muslin bag and sink it in the water the rice is cooking
in. Once the rice is done, I simply remove the bag.

A Few Lemongrass Recipes to Try:


Spicy Lemongrass Chicken
Lemongrass Rice Recipe
Lemongrass Ginger Syrup Recipe

More The Prairie Homestead Gardening Tips:


Top Ten Healing Herbs to Grow
Herbs to Grow For Chicken Nesting Boxes
7 Ways to Improve Garden Soil
7 Things Each First Garden Should Know

About Anni

I’ve loved milk since I was a kid, I tend to collect books,


my favorite season is fall, and I’m very allergic to cats. I’m
a nutritional therapist, having obtained a Bachelors degree
in Dietetics, but without the further qualifications to
become a registered dietitian (I got married & had a family

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instead). I blog at Homestead and Gardens.

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85 Comments

Creative Khadija says


November 24, 2014 at 2:54 am

I have lemon grass in my home garden but never used it in cooking or recipes, I love its green tea,
perfect for sore throat
Thanks for sharing the post

REPLY TO COMMENT

Lindsey says
November 24, 2014 at 4:09 am

This was one thing I sooo wanted to try last summer to help with mosquito control, but never got
around to it! Thanks for this great info, I didn’t realize how easy it was to grow…now I’m on a
mission to find some stalks or seeds

REPLY TO COMMENT

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T. Gene Davis says


December 7, 2014 at 7:12 pm

I’ve people claim that lemon grass drives off mosquitos, but I didn’t realize it could be used for
cooking.

REPLY TO COMMENT

Olga obregon says


February 18, 2019 at 9:55 am

I’m going to plant lemongrass plants around entry doors to keep mosquitos away and
good to repel snakes too

REPLY TO COMMENT

Ronnica, Striving Stewardess says


December 8, 2014 at 10:05 pm

Good to know! I’m already looking forward to what I can grow in my balcony garden next year…
lemongrass might make the cut!

REPLY TO COMMENT

Jane cormier says


September 5, 2016 at 3:51 pm

Thanks for the kindness shown . Your free info. On lemongrass has helped me .

REPLY TO COMMENT

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Yvram says
October 20, 2016 at 8:41 am

In Philippines We always used lemon grass in a mix seafood soups, and chicken
recipes especially in broiled chicken yummy overload???

REPLY TO COMMENT

Ebee says
September 5, 2016 at 11:15 pm

In case anyone cares to know, we live in southern California with only hard packed sand and rocks
and this grows big and very quickly for us. We just dug a little hole and it took off on its own

REPLY TO COMMENT

Jill Winger says


September 8, 2016 at 3:57 pm

That is awesome!

REPLY TO COMMENT

Patricia says
September 15, 2016 at 4:34 pm

Thanks for all advice on growing lemongrass and it’s uses. I like lemongrass soap. Heard
lemongrass was good for keeping insects mosquitoes especially at bay.

REPLY TO COMMENT

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Millie Jackson says


October 15, 2016 at 10:24 am

I purchased my lemongrass seeds at Ace hardware about two years ago.

REPLY TO COMMENT

hien says
December 7, 2016 at 12:52 am

Usefull recipes.

REPLY TO COMMENT

Reginasiglain says
February 3, 2018 at 3:02 am

My dogs love eating lemongrass. I grow it in a large container amd transplant it every
time i find and even larger container

REPLY TO COMMENT

Monique Clouâtre says


December 10, 2016 at 9:29 pm

I am just hoping…. In Canada I think they don’t sell lemon grass and I want some very badly. Is it
possible for somebody to mail me a few seeds and I will pay you even before you mail to me, when
you tell me price of seeds and postage. I hope to get an answer soon, Merry Christmas to you.
Monique.

REPLY TO COMMENT

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Kirke says
December 21, 2016 at 7:24 pm

I’ve been growing lemon grass for years. I’ve done a bit of study on the subject. The
lemon grass for culinary purposes apparently doesn’t easily produce seed. I’ve recently
seen seed offered in catalogs but I think it’s of another species. The best way to
propagate is by taking stalks bought at your Asian grocery store. Just a couple bucks for
6 to 10 stalks. It cheaper than seeds anyway. Just pull any dead material from the
bulbous base, then wash well. Next stick in a jar, like a quart mason jar, put stalks

REPLY TO COMMENT

Kirke says
December 21, 2016 at 7:33 pm

Guess I got to wordy. Anyway put in jar. Put a couple of inches of water in the jar.
Change the water every couple of days. Put in sunny window. I takes 2 or 3 weeks
to root. Put in regular potting mix. Give it couple weeks moderate light. Keep
moist. Then into full sunlight. They’ll grow like crazy. Doesn’t like frost. Good luck.

REPLY TO COMMENT

Kirke says
December 21, 2016 at 8:02 pm

Another thought they make an excellent ornamental grass.a little like a


spider plant,but three times as tall. I had an old plant, the leaves were three
foot tall.

REPLY TO COMMENT

Carrie A Brown says


June 7, 2018 at 8:27 pm

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Where do the lemon grass seeds come from? Do they seed like regular grass?

REPLY TO COMMENT

deb fear says


January 24, 2017 at 10:48 am

hi… yes it is sold in Canada at nurseries & walmarts & can. tires

REPLY TO COMMENT

Rene says
April 25, 2017 at 5:48 pm

Did anyone send you seeds? If mine sprout I will send you one. I am in Memphis
Tennessee.
Rvmemphis@gmail.com

REPLY TO COMMENT

Gabrielle says
June 15, 2017 at 6:37 am

How does the lemongrass plant make seeds? I’ve googled and couldn’t find any
answers.

REPLY TO COMMENT

Twila says
April 29, 2017 at 4:53 pm

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Lemongrass - How to Grow it and Use it |The Prairie Homestead

Lemon grass can be found in oriental markets.

REPLY TO COMMENT

Ellen says
May 25, 2017 at 8:53 pm

They sell lemon grass stalks at Yuan Ming Supermarket in Mississauga, Canada.
I used to grow them in the past but my cat likes to eat the leaves. Afraid he might get an
allergic reaction, I got rid of them?

REPLY TO COMMENT

Jo says
July 23, 2017 at 2:06 pm

My dogs munch on them, with no obvious ill effects.

REPLY TO COMMENT

patty says
January 15, 2018 at 1:49 am

my 2 cats loved to munch on the leaves with no problems and it kept ants out of
our kitchen.

REPLY TO COMMENT

Patricia Braun says


March 1, 2018 at 1:42 am

its safe for cats my 2 cats love it and cat nip plants

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REPLY TO COMMENT

Laura says
June 22, 2017 at 8:50 am

A little late for you to receive a reply, but you certainly can buy lemongrass in Canada.
I purchase mine at the local nursery, also because it is so easy to regrow, go to your
local Asian market and purchase some and place in an inch or 2 of water in jar and
watch for new roots to grow then plant it.
Easy Peasy

REPLY TO COMMENT

Molly says
August 2, 2017 at 10:16 pm

You can buy a dozen stalks from Amazon for about $10. Mine came a week and a half
before my text said they would arrive

REPLY TO COMMENT

annette says
September 29, 2017 at 10:31 pm

I putchased some at a local nursery…Heenans…good luck

REPLY TO COMMENT

Eleanor says
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May 23, 2018 at 2:30 am

Hi I’ll be glad to buy you some seeds . I just started growing lemongrass . The seeds
took forever to be delivered . They are do little . I am new at this . I’ll order se did and
when you respond I’ll get you information and mail them

REPLY TO COMMENT

Stephanie Bloxdorf says


May 20, 2019 at 10:12 am

Love your site. I get a lot of seeds and plants from richter’s herbs out of Canada.
Been ordering from them for years and if you’re a catalog freak such as myself an
excellent catalog. Richter’s.com.

REPLY TO COMMENT

Gayle says
May 23, 2018 at 12:55 pm

I GOT SOME IN ZEHRS Grocery Store at back of Produce with bagged salad. It was in
Goderich, Ontario Canada

REPLY TO COMMENT

Denise Harrison says


January 14, 2017 at 4:04 am

I grew up drinking lemongrass tea in Jamaica however we called it fevergrass back then. I had no
idea it was the same lovely plant that I so adored in Thai foods. Anyway I’ve got my one little stalk
sitting in some water waiting to root.. Wish me luck.

REPLY TO COMMENT

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Jill Winger says


January 16, 2017 at 12:02 pm

Very cool! Good luck!

REPLY TO COMMENT

Amie says
January 22, 2017 at 1:52 am

Good luck, I boil it and drink it like a tea with or without honey. Good for cough and sore
throat.

REPLY TO COMMENT

T walters says
January 29, 2017 at 1:51 am

I think lemongrass and fever grass are different.

REPLY TO COMMENT

Pinky says
June 19, 2017 at 1:03 pm

Lemongrass, also called fever grass, is a perennial plant with thin, long leaves that
is indigenous to many Asian …

REPLY TO COMMENT

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Rock says
January 27, 2018 at 9:58 pm

They are same, different names, different cultures…

REPLY TO COMMENT

Pinky says
June 19, 2017 at 12:57 pm

I am also Jamaican and when my mom and I saw lemon grass. We both said this look
like fevergrass (my favorite) we bought it and then I googled it. Low and behold good old
fevergrass ???

REPLY TO COMMENT

Violet says
July 10, 2017 at 2:20 pm

Yes that’s the name I know. It makes a tasty tea when mixed with pepper mint.

REPLY TO COMMENT

Carole Carole says


February 17, 2017 at 10:44 am

where can I get the seeds?

REPLY TO COMMENT

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Cicely says
February 21, 2017 at 8:44 pm

Lemongrass is safe for cats to eat as well. My cat loves to nibble on lemongrass when he has
playtime in the garden.

REPLY TO COMMENT

Monika says
February 23, 2017 at 1:04 am

My Mom (who’s thai) taught me about growing lemongrass. You can use the green leaves for
cooking as well. Cut it like chives and chop thinly, add it to any foods you’d normally add lemongrass
to, you won’t need to take it out, also freezes well this way too so you have fresh lemongrass
through the winter (we live in Canada) the green stalks just grow back like grass and you basically
have an endless supply.

REPLY TO COMMENT

Kay Mitchell says


March 13, 2017 at 10:43 am

Will it live in the ground over the winter and come back up in spring in the south in US?
It does go below freezing here in North Carolina.

REPLY TO COMMENT

Alicia S says
May 6, 2017 at 9:48 am

I’m in Ga and mine never comes back. I heard that you can bring them inside to
“over winter” them. I’m going to try that this year.

REPLY TO COMMENT

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Rock says
January 27, 2018 at 10:00 pm

One site says you can leave outdoors up to grow zone 9a.

REPLY TO COMMENT

Jan says
April 13, 2017 at 7:20 pm

I planted lemongrass last summer and it grew really fast. My question is, are some plants non edible
or are you able to eat any of them? Curious as the info with it didn’t say it was edible. Thanks

REPLY TO COMMENT

Steven Grady says


April 29, 2017 at 5:41 pm

I did root a very dried out grocery store lemongrass stalk, but I never got to planting it before it
expired.

I just bought a potted plant at a nursery; thin little leaves at this point.

** My big question is: will it start self-sowing from it’s seeds? **

I had an ornamental grass that did that around my former small yard. I am concerned at introducing
what could be an invasive species here in the Redwood forest (Pampas grass is a huge problem on
the California coast and a bit inland.)

REPLY TO COMMENT

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Anma says
July 6, 2017 at 7:49 pm

I think any medicinal or beneficial plants are a good thing to grow no matter where we
are. Pampas grass is just ornamental.

REPLY TO COMMENT

Heather F says
May 1, 2017 at 6:42 pm

I love the flavor of Lemon Grass. I have not been able to find any fresh stalks here, and have started
some in a pot. Thank you for the growing tips!

REPLY TO COMMENT

Sylvia says
May 11, 2017 at 6:03 pm

Wow! I just cooked chicken breasts for a chicken salad and the recipe called for lemongrass stalks
for the cooking liquid. Delicate, delicious flavored chicken and broth! (Definitely saving the broth.) So
I researched this wonderful aromatic “thing” and discovered you! Thanks for some great info and
pics. My aunt used to grow this years ago but used it for tea; I like it for cooking! Am definitely
planning to get some in the ground soon; I’m in zone 10. One question though — has anyone
reused the stalks? Like they seem intact and still smell wonderful after using them in the poaching
liquid. Anyhow, was it worth my while to save them?

REPLY TO COMMENT

Gloria says
July 4, 2017 at 9:23 am

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I live in southern Nevada, my lemongrass is doing very well with other herbs. I use it in veggie
receipts, teas and salads. Love it.

REPLY TO COMMENT

Bhanu jain says


July 5, 2017 at 11:22 am

I love the flavour of lemongrass.

REPLY TO COMMENT

Belinda says
July 8, 2017 at 7:41 am

By the way, it is citronella that is supposed to drive away mosquitoes and not lemongrass. They look
the same but smell very different. Citronella is not used for cooking purposes.

REPLY TO COMMENT

Sandi says
August 19, 2017 at 9:31 pm

Lemongrass and citronella do not look the same.

REPLY TO COMMENT

Jen says
January 9, 2018 at 8:03 pm

Like Sandi said. They do not look the same. And YES lemon grass does repel

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Lemongrass - How to Grow it and Use it |The Prairie Homestead

mosquitos. A lot of lemon scented plants do that. Lemon balm ( but be careful it can be
very invasive. There is a variety ” Citronella balm” that has the highest concentration of
citronella). Lemon verbena. There are many plants that repel mosquitos, you would be
surprised!

REPLY TO COMMENT

Michele Warner says


June 19, 2018 at 6:57 am

We use lemongrass is some sort oil mixed with water in a spray bottle to keep away
mats I am bugs while we ride our horses in the mountains of East Tennessee. We use it
on our campsite, our horses, on ourselves, love it smells so good to o.

REPLY TO COMMENT

Sandi says
July 16, 2017 at 3:17 pm

What about keeping the lemongrass trimmed? I have heard you should cut the plant down low

REPLY TO COMMENT

lasertest says
August 17, 2017 at 10:10 am

Great post.

REPLY TO COMMENT

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Richard says
August 19, 2017 at 2:25 pm

I have a big clump in my yard in south Florida which I’ve had for a couple years. Am I supposed to
cut it back in the fall? I haven’t been cutting back and the plants develop a kind of joint like a new
younger plant growing out of the top of the older stalk. Also, my stalks don’t grow thick like the ones
in the market. I guess the clump is about 3 or 4 years old.

REPLY TO COMMENT

Shikhar Nath Sapkota says


August 23, 2017 at 2:38 am

I have lot of lemongrass plant. But not use our society. I want to sell this product or its plant, but we
have no market.

REPLY TO COMMENT

Karen says
September 8, 2017 at 8:03 am

I live in Iowa and have two huge lemon grass plants growing in flower beds that I planted at the
beginning of the summer from starter plants. I didn’t know at the time that they are not perennial
here because of the winters. Should I dig them up and keep them inside for the winter or just start
over next year?

REPLY TO COMMENT

Jiminycee says
September 27, 2017 at 12:07 pm

In central Texas my lemongrass plant is huge. It dies back every winter, I cut off all the dead leaves

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Lemongrass - How to Grow it and Use it |The Prairie Homestead

to the ground and it comes back every spring. I’ve never seen any seeds on it. I’m going to try the
stems in a recipe, I’ve made tea with the leaves before. I’m also going to see if I can dig up a couple
stems and grow some more.

REPLY TO COMMENT

Karen McDaniel says


October 9, 2017 at 5:20 pm

Great article on how to start growing lemongrass. My question is, how do you get the stalks to
thicken up? I have been growing several bunches of lemongrass all spring and summer and the
stalks have not grown in thickness. I took the largest one to get the pulp out of to cook with some
fish, which was great, but just not enough to go very far. Since then I have divided up the bunches in
order to grow more, yet the stalks are not getting thick, just longer leaves. What should I be doing?
Thanks for any insight.

REPLY TO COMMENT

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October 13, 2017 at 1:41 pm

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November 15, 2017 at 7:44 am

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REPLY TO COMMENT

Ragunathan says
December 4, 2017 at 2:09 am

must cook it with chicken curry and suck the lemon grass,WOW!

REPLY TO COMMENT

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Lemongrass - How to Grow it and Use it |The Prairie Homestead

REPLY TO COMMENT

Mandy Lower says


January 22, 2018 at 3:27 pm

I just read your lemon grass post and I must tell you that your not purchasing different varieties of
lemon grass, the red you have in your grass is actually a virus and needs to be treated as it will turn
the roots red and the virus will spread. I grow grasses in Florida and I am very familiar with grass
viruses. You may want to treat them before it spreads.

REPLY TO COMMENT

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January 26, 2018 at 11:34 am

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REPLY TO COMMENT

JETHRO PAUL RAYMER says


January 26, 2018 at 11:35 am

CAN YOU PLEASE SIGN ME UP FOR YOUR NEWSLETTERS, ON HEALTHY EATING, HEALTHY
LIFESTYLE, HEALTHY FITNESS AND CULTURAL.

REPLY TO COMMENT

Reginasiglain says
February 3, 2018 at 3:04 am

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Lemongrass - How to Grow it and Use it |The Prairie Homestead

My dogs love eating lemongrass. I grow it in a large container amd transplant it every time i find and
even larger container I never posted this before. Lemongrass also has steroidal qualities

REPLY TO COMMENT

Porter says
February 4, 2018 at 7:44 am

As an example, if you really want a portion of two servings,” multiply the health and nutrition truths
through 2 to represent eating twice the volume of nutrients noted. authorizations, like the Food and
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REPLY TO COMMENT

Linda says
March 3, 2018 at 11:03 am

Where do you find the seeds on lemon grass

REPLY TO COMMENT

nagubandi says
https://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2014/11/lemongrass-grow-use.html[7/22/2019 12:45:02 AM]
Lemongrass - How to Grow it and Use it |The Prairie Homestead

March 12, 2018 at 3:17 am

I have lot of lemongrass plant. But not use our society. I want to sell this product or its plant, but we
have no market.

REPLY TO COMMENT

Vini's Cookbook says


March 14, 2018 at 2:42 am

I think we can put lemongrass in Tea?

REPLY TO COMMENT

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Lemongrass - How to Grow it and Use it |The Prairie Homestead

REPLY TO COMMENT

Porter says
April 9, 2018 at 4:33 am

I have read so many content regarding the blogger lovers except this paragraph is actually
a good paragraph, keep it up.

REPLY TO COMMENT

Jenny says
May 23, 2018 at 1:50 am

I’m glad I found this, I bought some lemongrass from the local supermarket yesterday and didn’t
know how to get my two little stalks into a big bunch of lemongrass. I’ve put them in water to grow
roots, fingers crossed! Thank you!

REPLY TO COMMENT

Charlotte says
August 7, 2018 at 7:58 am

For those looking to buy seeds , I bought a package of Lemongrass seeds from Migardener.com for
99 cents last year. I have grown them and am very pleased. They have red near the bottom of the
stalk. Looking forward to harvesting and preserving for the winter. Plan on using for tea and other
cooking. Will research medicinal properties.

REPLY TO COMMENT

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