If you live in a cold climate or in a region that gets really cold weather in winter, you might be wondering whether it’s possible to grow some lemongrass inside your home.
Yes, you can grow lemongrass indoors. In fact, this is the only way that you can overwinter lemongrass to protect it from frosts and snow. But, you need to grow it in a large pot to accommodate the plant’s growth and the root system. And, you want to ensure that your lemongrass receives plenty of light.
Here’s all you need to know about growing lemongrass indoors.
How To Easily Grow Lemongrass Indoors
Lemongrass can be grown indoors quite easily if you follow these guidelines.
Choose a Pot At Least 12 Inches (30 cm) in Diameter
First, you need to choose the right pot for your lemongrass. As lemongrass is a clumping plant, it requires plenty of room to grow. If you don’t give it enough room, it won’t be able to produce more of those lemony stalks that you want to cut and use in your cooking.
The pot that you select should be at least 12 inches (30 cm) in diameter. It also needs to be as deep as 12 inches (30 cm) as a minimum. This is because this plant has an extensive root system, and if you limit the amount of space that the roots have to grow, you’ll also limit the top growth of the plant.
Additionally, each lemongrass plant can grow to a height of around 5 feet if it’s not harvested frequently. This means that your plant will need the added stability of a deep pot so that it doesn’t topple over when it gets taller. And, don’t forget to ensure that the pot has plenty of drainage holes so that your lemongrass doesn’t become waterlogged.
Choose A Quality Potting Mix
Because lemongrass is a fast grower, it needs a good quality potting mix to support its speedy growth. The mix should be rich in nutrients to feed the growing plant. It also needs to be able to hold some moisture but still be free-draining.
Most quality mixes available on the market today have plenty of nutrients added and are light and airy. You can also make your own mix if you have ready-made compost at hand. For this, you can mix equal parts compost with coconut coir and perlite. The compost will provide the nutrient., The coconut coir helps to retain moisture and the perlite assists in drainage.
Give Your Plant Plenty Of Bright Light
Remember that lemongrass, when grown outdoors, likes to be grown in full sun. Therefore, when you’re growing lemongrass indoors, you want to give it as much light as is possible.
Consider placing your lemongrass very near to a south or west-facing window that lets plenty of natural light in. Your lemongrass will not grow if it’s kept in the dark. Due to its strong leafy growth, it needs plenty of sunlight so that it can photosynthesize and keep feeding the green growth.
If your lemongrass is not getting enough light, the leaves will begin to yellow, and the growth will be stunted.
Make Sure Your Lemongrass Is Kept In A Warm Environment
Like all tropical plants, lemongrass likes it warm. Therefore, you want to place your lemongrass in a room in your home that is constantly kept warm in winter. This could be your kitchen or even the living room. For lemongrass to be happy, it needs to stay warm.
In fact, lemongrass should never be exposed to temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius). This shouldn’t be a problem in most homes that have good heating.
Remember, too, that lemongrass is quite an attractive plant. So, if you have a nice bright spot in your warm living room, your lemongrass will not only be happy, but it will also provide some lovely greenery to your indoor décor. Plus, there’s the added advantage of the plant helping to keep the air in your home nice and clean.
Give Your Plant Plenty Of Water & Provide Extra Humidity
Did I mention that lemongrass is a tropical plant? You know what that means, don’t you? Lemongrass likes plenty of moisture and good humidity. For this, you want to ensure that the soil is never allowed to dry out, but it shouldn’t be soggy either.
That’s why it’s important to grow your lemongrass in a pot that has good drainage holes. Keeping your lemongrass watered is not that difficult if you remember to check the moisture level in the soil regularly.
Providing extra humidity is another thing altogether. You see, when we keep our homes artificially heated in winter, this often results in dry air. Therefore, to assist your lemongrass, you need to add some moisture back into the air around your plant.
One of the easiest ways to do this is with an air humidifier. These units emit tiny sprays of moisture into the air on a constant basis. This is not only good for your lemongrass and other tropical indoor plants but is also healthier for us humans as well.
Another way to add some humidity to the air around your lemongrass is to fill a tray with water that will evaporate over time and add some much-needed moisture to the air.
The way to do this is to get a shallow tray that is large enough to accommodate the pot that your lemongrass is growing in. Then, fill the tray with some decorative stones and pebbles. Next, add some water until the stones are half covered. Place your plant on top of the stones, making sure that the bottom of your pot is not sitting in the water.
The benefit of doing this is that the roots of the lemongrass are not sitting in the water, so there’s no risk of root rot. However, as the water evaporates throughout the day, your plant is getting the extra humidity that it needs. You just have to ensure that you top up the water in the tray as it evaporates.
Fertilize Your Lemongrass Regularly
Due to its rapid growth, lemongrass is quite a heavy feeder. Therefore, you want to ensure that you give your plant plenty of feed while it’s actively growing.
A fertilizer that is high in nitrogen is best as this will encourage lots of additional growth. You can either use an organic liquid fertilizer such as compost tea, tea made from worm castings, or liquid seaweed. Alternatively, you can use a slow-release fertilizer that comes in granular form.
The liquid feed should be given to your plant every two weeks or so, but slow-release fertilizer should only need topping up every couple of months.
The best way to encourage your plant to add new growth is to harvest the stalks regularly. You see, when you harvest the stalks, it prompts the plant to keep on adding new side shoots for its continual survival.
This is just how nature works. Your plant’s ultimate goal is its survival, so when you cut some of the shoots, the plant immediately grows more to replace the ones that it’s lost.
You want to regularly harvest stalks that are at least ½ an inch in diameter. The best way to harvest these is to cut the stalks just below the soil level with a knife or a very sharp pair of scissors.
And, if you have more lemongrass stalks than you can use straight away, you can always freeze the excess stalks by wrapping them tightly in plastic before placing them in the freezer.
You can also cut your stalks into small pieces and pickle them in rice vinegar. These can be stored in the refrigerator for months. Not only does this help to preserve the lemongrass, but it also infuses the flavor into the vinegar. This can then be used in your cooking as well.
Divide And Repot Your Lemongrass At Least Every Couple Of Years
If you want to keep your lemongrass nice and healthy, it is important to divide your clump at least every couple of years. If your plant is growing super fast, it might even be wise to do this on an annual basis.
What this does is that it gives your plants additional room to grow and also freshens up the potting mix to keep your plant growing happily for another year.
The best time to divide and repot your indoor-grown lemongrass is in spring. Here’s what to do:
- Carefully take your plant out of its pot and shake off all the soil from around the roots.
- Using a sharp knife, separate your lemongrass into individual clumps or stalks. Ensure that each new clump has plenty of healthy roots attached.
- Plant each new stalk or clump into its own pot that you’ve filled with new potting mix.
- You now have more than one lemongrass plant. You can either keep the additional plants if you have space for them around your home or you can give them away to family and friends.
What To Do If Your House Lacks Adequate Light In Winter
One of the problems that some people will face when trying to grow this plant indoors is the lack of light. You see, during the dreary days of winter, there could be many days when the inside of your home is quite dull and dark.
But, don’t worry. There is a solution to this. It’s called a grow light. Grow lights are especially made for people that want to grow plants indoors but who don’t have enough light.
These lights use special UV lamps that simulate natural sunlight, and they’re usually quite energy-efficient too. All you have to do is find one of these lights that you can position directly over your lemongrass and then keep it on for around 6 to 12 hours a day.
Not only will the grow light provide your lemongrass will plenty of simulated sunlight, but it can also provide extra warmth at the same time.
This is the perfect solution for growing an abundance of lemongrass indoors when there’s not enough natural sunlight entering your home.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is lemongrass easy to grow indoors?
If you follow the seven basic rules outlined above, you’ll find it super easy to grow your lemongrass indoors.
Does lemongrass keep mosquitoes away?
Lemongrass contains citronella oil which is ideal for keeping mosquitoes away.
Is lemongrass toxic to animals?
Because lemongrass contains citronella oil, it can be mildly toxic to cats and dogs. Therefore, it’s best to keep the plant away from your pets.