How to plant and cultivate the lemongrass plant?

How to plant and cultivate the lemongrass plant?

Characteristics of lemongrass

  • Type: vegetable plant
  • Height: from 60 to 80 cm, from 80 cm to 1 m
  • Flower colors: white, purple
  • Desired exposure: sunny
  • Type of soil: drained, rich in humus, fresh
  • Foliage: spent
  • Interview: moderate watering, easy to maintain
  • sanitizer: no
  • diseases: red spider, whiteflies

Origins and peculiarities of lemongrass

Attached to the Verbaceae family, the lemongrass plant is a small ornamental, officinal and aromatic shrub. Lemon verbena (Aloysia citrodora in Latin) is native to Peru and Chile.

This perennial herb is known by other names: citronella from Madagascar, verbena from India, verbena officinalis or even lemongrass from Java. If the lemongrass plant is easily recognizable by its long leaves which form tufts up to 1 meter high, there is another way to recognize it in a garden: by gently rubbing the leaves of the lemongrass plant in his hands, a pleasant lemony smell escapes! There are several varieties and species of lemongrass, including verbena and garden verbena.

Uses of Lemongrass

The lemongrass plant, very fragrant, is very appreciated for its repulsive effects; in fact, placed in a garden or on a potted balcony, it has no equal in keeping mosquitoes away, which is very practical in summer.

Lemongrass leaves can also be used in cooking to enhance dishes or salads, just like the white bulb located at the base of the leaf. Their strong lemon aroma is particularly appreciated in Asian cuisine.

The verbena officinalis has antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory or even antitussive properties. To take advantage of this, it is possible to make infusions of dried lemongrass leaves, or to use the essential oil of the lemongrass plant.

Finally, by drying the leaves, it is possible to make potpourri.

Lemongrass plantation

In order for the lemongrass to evolve in good growing conditions, a few rules must be followed:

  • The soil should be rich in humus, draining and fresh. If the soil is not drained, add sand. The soil must not necessarily be limestone.
  • The location must be sunny.
  • Planting should be done in May, when there is no longer any risk of frost.
  • The spacing between plantings must be at least 60 cm.

Cultivation can be done in the open ground as well as in pots. In the hypothesis that the culture would be done in a pot, it is necessary to think of putting the plant warm when the cold weather arrives. The lemongrass tolerates negative temperatures.

Maintenance of lemon verbena

Verbena from India does not require much maintenance. Gardeners simply recommend:

  • Frequently water plants in summer. -
  • To veil the semi-shrub during the winter period because the lemongrass plant does not withstand negative temperatures (-6 ° C).
  • Bring a compost every year in March. -
  • Prune the aromatic aromatic plant every year in spring (remove the ends of the stems during the growing season and remove dead leaves and flowers).

There are no recommendations at harvest level. The latter is done according to each person's needs.

Multiplication of lemongrass

There are several methods, more or less effective, to make the multiplication of lemon verbena. However, be aware that the plant only produces seeds if the climate is mild. It is best to opt for stem cuttings, shoot cuttings or split tufts. The tufts division is practiced at the beginning of the spring season. The cutting of the shoots is done in May while the cutting of the stems is done in mid-August.

Diseases and parasites of lemongrass

Lemongrass is not prone to disease and parasites. You just have to beware of red spiders and whiteflies when growing in a closed place like a greenhouse. Preventive measures help keep these insects away. So :

  • For red spiders, regularly spray fermented nettle liquid.
  • For whiteflies, regularly spray tansy or wormwood-based emulsions.