Growing Lemongrass In Cold Climates (Is it Possible?)
Lemongrass grows naturally in areas that have a warm and humid climate. But don’t worry. If you live in a cold climate, you can still grow some lemongrass. You just have to grow it differently.
The best way to grow lemongrass in a cold climate is to plant it in a pot and bring it indoors when the weather starts to cool down. This allows you to keep your lemongrass alive over winter and then place it back outside once the danger of frost has passed. Or, you can just grow it as an annual.
Let’s discuss in more detail the best ways to grow lemongrass in cold climates.
Grow Your Lemongrass In A Pot
If you want to grow your lemongrass as a perennial and want it to survive the winter, you’ll have to grow it in a large pot. Make sure that you select a pot that is relatively deep to accommodate the roots of the plant. The container you choose also has to have adequate drainage holes so that the potting mix doesn’t remain too wet, as this could cause root rot.
The best time to plant your lemongrass is in spring. You should be able to purchase a starter plant from your local garden center. Once you have the first plant and can keep it growing as a perennial, you can easily divide it later on to have more plants to grow.
Choose a good quality potting mix that has plenty of organic matter and is free-draining. Once you’ve filled the pot with the growing medium, plant your lemongrass into the pot and water in well.
If you do this in early spring, keep your lemongrass indoors near a bright window until the danger of frost has passed. Once the temperature starts to rise, place your lemongrass outdoors in a nice sunny spot. This could be on your patio, veranda, deck, or even at the edge of a garden bed.
Keep looking after your lemongrass by ensuring it gets enough water and fertilize at least once a month with a good liquid fertilizer. Your plant should grow well and produce lots of new shoots throughout the warmer months.
You should be able to harvest some substantial stalks towards the end of summer.
Bring Lemongrass Indoors In The Fall
In the fall, it’s time to bring your lemongrass indoors, especially if there’s a danger of frost. Just take your pot of lemongrass and place it in a warm spot in your house that gets plenty of light. Near a nice bright window is best.
You’ll find that your lemongrass won’t grow much while it’s living indoors because it won’t be getting enough natural sunlight. However, you can encourage some extra growth by putting your plant under a grow light. These lights will provide your plant with some of the necessary UV rays, plus they also provide some additional heat as well.
Growing your plant under a grow light could mean that it will continue to thrive and will produce more shoots.
Divide Your Lemongrass And Place It Back Outside The Following Spring
If you’ve managed to nurture your plant through the cold winter months, it’s time to do a little maintenance to get your lemongrass ready for going back outside in the spring.
If your plant has put on plenty of growth, it might be getting a little crowded in its pot. This is the perfect time to take your plant out of the pot and divide it into smaller clumps.
All you have to do is take the plant out of the pot and shake off most of the soil. Then, use a sharp knife to divide the lemongrass into six-inch sections. Make sure that each section has plenty of roots.
Plant each of your new divisions into their own pot. Now you have not just one lemongrass plant but several. Place your plants in the warmest, brightest spot in your house until the danger of frost has passed.
Like before, once the outdoor temperate is warm enough, put your multiple pots of lemongrass outdoors into a nice sunny spot in the garden or on your deck. Continue to care for your plants by giving them adequate water and some liquid fertilizer at least once a month.
Then, you can continue to repeat the cycle, year after year. You might find after a couple of years that you have an oversupply of lemongrass plants. If this is the case, just give some away to your neighbors, friends, and family.
Or, you could consider planting some of your excess lemongrass in the garden over summer. This means you’ll have plenty to harvest even though the garden-grown plants won’t survive the winter.
But, you’re still going to have the plants that are growing in pots to bring indoors and nurture over the colder months. If you take the time to do this correctly, you’ll never have to buy lemongrass ever again from the store.
And, you’ll have plenty to share around with your friends and family.
Grow Your Lemongrass As An Annual
The other way that you can grow lemongrass in a cold climate is to treat it as an annual and replant it every year in spring. To do this, you plant your lemongrass out into the garden once the danger of frost has passed.
Make sure that you plant it in a nice sunny spot into soil that has been enriched with plenty of organic matter. Then, it’s just a case of making sure that your lemongrass gets plenty of water and a regular feed at least once a month. You can either use a liquid fertilizer for this or one in a granular form that contains animal manure and bone meal.
In the fall, you can just harvest the remainder of the lemongrass stalks and let the plants die out over winter.
If you want to preserve one or two plants, you can dig up a clump and divide it up. Then, plant these into pots that you’ll have to keep indoors over the colder months. This means that you won’t have to buy new plants every year in spring.
Another trick that seems to work well is to root the stalks in water. You can even do this with store-bought lemongrass stalks. Just pop some stalks in a glass or vase of water and place this on a windowsill.
Change the water every couple of days, and within around 10 days or so, you should see some roots starting to form. Once each stalk has a good amount of healthy roots, you can plant these into a pot filled with good quality potting mix.
Keep the pots indoors until spring, when the weather has started to warm up.
So, as you can see, even if you live in a cold climate, it’s definitely possible to grow a good harvest of lemongrass at home. You just have to be aware that the plant is not cold tolerant and won’t survive the winter frosts and snow.
If you would like to know more about this fascinating topic, please check out the complete guide I wrote about growing Lemongrass.