How to Grow Lemon Grass Seed

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Lemon grass is used in Asian cooking to impart a lemony-citrus taste. A native of India, this herb is known by many names with Lemon grass being the western name. When buying lemon grass seed, make sure you are buying cymbopogon citratus seeds (the Latin name of culinary lemon grass). Lemon grass is not frost hardy, and is considered a tender perennial in most of the United States. Grow lemon grass in large containers in full sun, keep moist, and overwinter in a cool (7.22 degrees C) room.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Lemon grass seed (cymbopogon citratus)
  • Seed starting flat
  • Sterile soilless seed starting mix
  • Vermiculite
  • Clear plastic bag or clear cling film
  • Seed starting mat
  • 3-inch pot
  • Sterile potting mix or compost

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  1. 1

    Sow lemon grass seeds from mid January through early March.

  2. 2

    Fill a seed starting mat with moistened, sterile, soilless seed starting mix.

  3. 3

    Sprinkle lemon grass seed over the mat. Cover with a thin layer of vermiculite.

  4. 4

    Place the mat in a clear plastic bag, or cover with plastic.

  5. 5

    Place in a warm room out of direct sunlight. Lemon grass seeds germinate at 21.1 to 23.8 degrees C. Place the covered flat on a seed starting mat set at 22.2 degrees C. To be safe, make sure the plastic is not touching the mat.

  6. 6

    Keep the seed starting mat moist, not wet, before and after the seeds germinate.

  7. 7

    Lemon grass seeds will germinate between 21 and 40 days. When the seedlings are large enough to handle, gently lift out of the seed starting mat. Place the seedlings in individual 3-inch pots filled with sterile potting mix or compost.

Tips and warnings

  • Make sure the lemon grass seeds you buy are cymbopogon citratus.
  • Lemon grass is considered a tender perennial in most parts of the U.S. Consider planting the adult plant in a large container and overwintering indoors.
  • If you start lemon grass from seed later than March, you will not be able to harvest that summer, but will have to overwinter plants and start harvesting the next spring.

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