How To Water Lemongrass (And Not To Overwater)
Lemongrass is a delicious herb that you can grow easily either in your home garden or in a large pot. It has so many uses and is also helpful for repelling insects. But how to water lemongrass?
You might need to water lemongrass every day if the weather is hot and dry. Using a misting type of irrigation is best because it will create extra humidity. Ideally, you want to ensure that the soil is moist at all times during the warmer months without being soggy.
Here’s everything that you need to know about watering lemongrass.
How To Water Lemongrass Grown In The Ground
How often you have to water your lemongrass depends entirely on your climate. Remember that in its natural habitat, lemongrass would receive lots of tropical downpours. Lemongrass is also used to warm, sunny and humid conditions.
Therefore, you want to mimic these natural conditions as much as possible in your own garden if you want your lemongrass to thrive. If you live in a tropical climate, you’ll find that your lemongrass won’t need any additional watering because it will receive plenty of natural rainfall. This will keep the plant happy all year round.
However, for those living in more temperate areas, giving your lemongrass just the right amount of water and humidity will ensure that your plant continues to grow well and be full of flavor.
During the warmer months, it’s recommended that you water your lemongrass on a daily basis. This ensures that the soil is kept moist at all times. However, make sure that you don’t overdo it because you don’t want to drown the roots. Your soil needs to have adequate drainage and be quite open and friable.
One thing you should always check before watering your lemongrass is the moisture level in the soil. You can do this in two ways:
- Poke your finger into the soil around your plant up to the first knuckle. This will allow you to check whether the soil is dry or still has some moisture left in it. It will also alert you as to whether the soil is too wet. If the soil feels dry, it’s time to water your plants. On the other hand, if the soil still has a fair amount of moisture, don’t water until the following day after you check the moisture level again.
- Use a moisture meter. If you don’t relish poking your finger into the soil on a daily basis or you’re not confident in your ability to determine whether the soil is dry or damp, it’s best to invest in a moisture meter. These meters have a prong on the end that you poke into the soil and the meter will tell you how much moisture is present. With this knowledge you can determine whether to water your plant or not.
How To Help Your Soil Retain Moisture Better
Gardeners who live in hot, dry climates have long understood the benefits of regular mulching to help the soil retain more moisture. Not only does the mulch keep some of the moisture in and stop it from evaporating, but it keeps the soil a little cooler too.
In addition, the right type of mulch will also break down over time and feed the soil as well. This helps to improve both the nutrients in the soil and the soil structure. A more open structure allows excess water to drain away and also makes nutrients readily available to the plants.
So, you might be wondering why we want the excess moisture to drain away rather than hold it in the soil. The answer is quite simple.
If the soil retains too much moisture, it becomes waterlogged. What this means is that all the available air pockets in the soil will become filled with water. Ultimately, this means that the plant will be starved of oxygen and will drown.
You see, healthy plants need both water and oxygen to survive. They take up both the moisture and the oxygen through their roots. In addition, any nutrients in the soil are also taken up through the roots.
This is one of the most important aspects of home gardening that you need to understand. There’s a vast difference between moist soil and one that is waterlogged.
Back to the subject of mulch. The best type of mulch to use around your lemongrass is one that covers the surface of the soil and will break down over time. That’s why most seasoned gardeners prefer to use a straw or hay type of mulch for their herb and vegetable gardens.
This type of mulch is dense enough to stop the water from evaporating from the top of the soil on a hot sunny day, but it also breaks down effectively and adds plenty of nutrients to the soil.
What Type Of Watering System Is Best?
Think back to the fact that lemongrass likes a warm and humid environment. You want to try and replicate this for the lemongrass that you grow. So, if you live in a temperate climate that is hot and dry in summer, you want to try to create some extra humidity around your plants.
The best way to do this is with a misting type of irrigation system rather than a drip system. Drip systems are great for temperate plants such as tomatoes, but lemongrass likes a little more humidity than a drip system can provide.
Therefore, it’s far better to replace the drippers with either micro-sprinklers or misters. These types of irrigation devices emit a spray of water close to the base of the plant that not only waters the roots but also creates something similar to rainfall. As the water comes out of the sprinklers, some of it will evaporate into the air around the plants. This effectively increases the humidity in the air and helps to keep the air moist around the plants.
Remember, too, that it’s far better to water the plants at or near the ground level and not from above because this helps to avoid any problems with possible fungal diseases.
How To Water Lemongrass Grown In Containers
The most important thing to remember when growing lemongrass or any type of plant in containers is that the soil will dry out much quicker than plants grown in the ground. Therefore, it’s really important to monitor these plants on a daily basis.
In general, when the weather is hot and dry, pot-grown lemongrass will need to be watered on a daily basis and sometimes even twice a day. It’s also important to ensure that your pots have adequate drainage holes. This means that any excess water can easily drain away.
Remember that you don’t want the soil to become waterlogged, but you want it to retain enough moisture for the plant to thrive and grow.
To check whether your plant needs water, you should first determine whether the soil is moist or dry. You can do this by poking your finger into the soil or by using a moisture meter.
If the soil is dry, give the plant a good drink until the excess water drains out of the drainage holes in the pot. Do this early in the morning before the temperature starts to climb. Then, check your soil again in the early afternoon. If the soil feels dry again, give your plant another drink. This should be enough to get it through until the following morning.
It’s also a good idea to create some extra humidity around your lemongrass. You can do this quite easily by filling a large tray with stones or pebbles. Then, add some water to the tray. The water level should be just below the top of the stones and pebbles.
Sit your pot of lemongrass on top of the stones and make sure that the base of the pot is not touching the water in the tray. As the day starts to warm up, the water will slowly evaporate and add some added humidity into the air surrounding your plant. Check the water level in the tray regularly and top it up as it gets low.
If you have a number of plants in pots that like extra humidity, you can use a larger tray and set all your plants together. This is a great way to ensure that all your plants share the same humid environment.
When Is The Best Time To Water Your Lemongrass?
Ideally, you should water your lemongrass early in the morning or late in the afternoon. This is the general rule of thumb for most plants in the garden, whether they be herbs, vegetables, flowers, or ornamentals.
Remember that lemongrass prefers rich and fertile soil that is kept moist at all times. When you water, make sure that you water deeply so that the moisture can get down into the soil without being allowed to pool around the roots.
If you water early in the morning, the plants will have enough available moisture to get through even the hottest day. However, if it’s really hot and dry, it might be a good idea to water again late in the afternoon to increase the humidity level.
Watering late in the afternoon means that the heat of the day has passed, and the moisture is unlikely to evaporate from the soil overnight. This keeps the plants hydrated for most of the day.
Should You Reduce The Watering In Winter?
You can definitely reduce the amount of water you give your lemongrass during the winter months. This is because lemongrass will be dormant over winter and won’t be actively growing. Plus, the weather is cooler, and any water that hits the soil will not evaporate as quickly.
Additionally, in areas with temperate climates, the winter months should provide enough rainfall to keep your lemongrass happy.
Even plants grown in containers can have their watering reduced because the pots won’t get as hot, and the moisture in the soil will not evaporate as quickly.
If in doubt, always check the moisture level in the soil, and if the soil is dry, definitely give your plants some water, whether it’s summer or winter.
How Can You Tell If Your Lemongrass Is Not Getting Enough Water?
Most plants will let you know if they’re suffering from a lack of water. For lemongrass, the first signs will be that the leaves start to turn brown, become dry and die off. This is definitely a sign that your plant is not getting enough water.
However, if you feel that you’re giving your plants enough water and the leaves are still not bright green, it could be a nutrient deficiency. Remember that lemongrass should be fed at least once a month with a fertilizer high in nitrogen during the warmer growing months.
Also, be aware that certain fungal diseases can affect the leaves of your lemongrass. This is precisely why you should avoid overhead watering and only water near the base of the plants. Also, the added mulch will protect the plant from any soil-borne fungus spores being splashed up onto the leaves.
Is It Possible To Overwater Your Lemongrass?
Even though lemongrass is a tropical plant and loves nice moist soil, it is possible to overwater it. This can only happen if you have really dense soil that does not have adequate drainage. If the water is allowed to sit for any length of time around the roots or base of the plant, it can cause the lemongrass to rot.
Therefore, make sure that your soil has adequate drainage and does not become soggy. It’s the same for lemongrass plants grown in pots. The pot should have a number of drainage holes so that any excess water can freely drain away.
If you would like to know more about this interesting topic, please check out the complete guide I wrote about growing Lemongrass.