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Old 08-12-2008, 06:30 PM   #1
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Taking care of lemongrass

Hi. We planted lemongrass for the first time this year, and it looks great. I was wondering how to best harvest it, and what to do with it over the winter. Do you dig up the roots, or just use the stem above the ground?

We have a mild climate here; we get snow and frost every two or three years. With most ornamental grasses here, we just cut off the leaves and it grows back from there. Should I do the same with lemongrass? TIA.
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Old 08-13-2008, 12:45 PM   #2
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ok, GotGarlic, I really don't know about Virginia's weather.........I actually started one lemon grass sprout that I had bought at an Asian grocery........in a pot.....it had a few roots that were visible......I babied it......then when it looked nice and happy......you'll know.........I transplanted it to the area in my garden that received morning sun and shade in the late afternoons.......my goodness was it ever happy!!!! Two years later I had a lemon grass mound (they spread by roots by the way) that was at least a meter and a half or a yard and a half wide) they were so productive it wasn't funny.........I had more lemongrass than I knew what to do with......... they really need to be harvested or they get old and bitter and little taste..........so don't leave them in the ground.........they're really not a bad looking plant and in Houston only in the winters did they die back a bit but always came back from the roots.........have no idea about Virginia's weather patterns however..........I would google and see if there's any info there.........
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Old 08-13-2008, 12:49 PM   #3
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we're considered Gulf Coast and growing region 9......the growing region in SE Virginia will make a difference to some degree..I'd probably say an 8 or a 7........not a geography major by any stretch of the imagination but that will be easy to find out
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Old 08-13-2008, 12:55 PM   #4
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I'm in what's considered the cusp of Piedmont/Northern Virginia (Zone 6/7), & potted up & brought my Lemongrass inside for the winter since my living room is like a big greenhouse/sunroom. The biggest problem I had was keeping my cats away from it - they LOVED to graze on those long grassy leaves.
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Old 08-13-2008, 09:17 PM   #5
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I had great success with lemongrass in Hawaii and Florida (in the latter we lived right on the frost line, and it survived a few freezes in 6 years). Here I have it in a pot and am planning to bring it in at the first frost warnings. It is nice that something so tasty is also a pretty addition to the garden. I used to just pull it up by the root, a few blades at a time. If I pull up too much, I clean and freeze it.
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Old 08-13-2008, 09:19 PM   #6
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Oh, by the way, I bought my plants in Hawaii, but in Florida I was at a Thai restaurant and it was growing all over the place outside of the building. I just went in and asked if I could get a starter from it, just pulled it off and stuck it in the ground at home. The stuff I have here I started in June from seeds from Park Seed. The instructions say to water from the bottom. So far it is beautiful.
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Old 08-13-2008, 09:40 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the replies. We're in zone 8. I forgot to mention, we have one plant in the garden and another in a pot; we wanted to do an experiment to see which would do better. The one in the ground is about three times the size of the one in the pot. I guess I can start harvesting it now I think we'll leave the planted one there and bring in the pot and see what happens.
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Old 08-13-2008, 10:03 PM   #8
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that's great to hear..........I tried to grow it in Egypt but a gardener "came" with the house and as much as I regret saying it I came to suspect that he was sabotaging my efforts to garden by myself.....if my suspicions are true and I'm not saying that i was right......nothing I planted myself seemed to thrive though I had NO problems growing things in Houston which is actually very similar in weather, though Egypt doesn't have as much humidity..........someone told me to forget gardening if you had a gardener because they wanted to make sure that they were valuable to you .......oh, well, who knows for sure.........the lemon grass flourished in Houston and not Cairo...........glad that y'all are having great success...and you know that the leaves are great in herbal teas...........
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Old 08-14-2008, 05:24 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BreezyCooking View Post
I'm in what's considered the cusp of Piedmont/Northern Virginia (Zone 6/7), & potted up & brought my Lemongrass inside for the winter since my living room is like a big greenhouse/sunroom. The biggest problem I had was keeping my cats away from it - they LOVED to graze on those long grassy leaves.
LOL try bring home come fresh potted catnip and even put it in a birdcage and see how much cats are like the squirrels they love to chase.........there is very little protection against both if they really want it.........the only thing I can think of is a hanging basket and one of my cats is a skydiver.....his name is Tarzan......he'd probably find a vine somewhere to swing to it......he used to swing off my silk arrangements in the house....could have killed him.....anyway, try sprinkling red pepper in your pots....won't hurt the plants at all but cats hate the smell
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Old 08-14-2008, 09:00 AM   #10
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I'm zone 8 Gulf Coast Florida. I got three starter pieces 8 years ago from an Asian Market. Most of the time they will cut off the roots so you can't grow them. They want you to keep coming back to buy theirs ; - ). I left them in a pot under a tree where they get a little morning sun and partial shade the rest of the day. I pretty much ignore them except for cutting to cook with here and there. If we do get a frost, they come back afterwards. The leaves that fall from the tree seem to protect their roots. If you want, you can cut the leaves back in late fall. Sometimes if they are planted in the ground they will be more productive and spread.
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