Rochelle Greayer

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4/27/2012

The Lemongrass Experiment

Every year, I try out things in my garden that I have no idea what will come of them. As I potter around my garden I see the remnants of last years experiments and I am pondering what will be this years projects.  (I am thinking of trying to propagate my favorite hydrangea by cutting, among other things).

lemongrass www.pithandvigor.com

Last year, on a whim, I bought a lemon grass plant.  A whole 3 dollar impulse buy.  I was armed with absolutely zero knowledge of growing the thing and only the fond memories of amazing Thai Coconut martinis and a now legendary party I hosted years ago (the kind of party we are still talking about over a decade later).

It was a mix-your-own affair – and I had a handful of recipes and ingredients on hand.  But the clear winner of the night was Thai Coconut martini with my homemade lemongrass syrup.  I love garden fresh drinks and this one featured not only the lemon grass, but fresh lime juice and Malibu.  (Every teen from the 80’s knows you can’t argue with Malibu). So good… if you can grow limes, you can grow lemon grass.  Eh – actually everyone can grow lemon grass… and well, we’ll have to leave the rum making to those in Barbados.  But even with just one garden fresh homegrown ingredient, it is a winner.

But back to the growing of the lemongrass plant.  I slapped it in the ground and did nothing (seriously, absolutely, nothing), only to be rewarded with a giant beautiful bounty of grassy stalks.  I didn’t even bother to check it was hardy.

This spring, I am discovering that it is not….but I don’t care.  That was the most rewarding $3 plant I’ve purchased in a long while.   If I happen to see cut lemongrass fresh at the grocer first, I might  try and root the stalks (I have read it is quite happy to throw out roots and thrive – and given how easy it was otherwise – this seems like a similarly rewarding prospect.

How to grow lemongrass in your cocktail garden for Thai coconut martinis

Nothing bothered this thing and it grew to enormous proportions in a single season.   So this years plan….put it in lots of containers.  Why? — because it is easy, cheap, beautiful, and edible….and capping off the sweep –supposedly it repels mosquitoes (TBH – I’m dubious about these sorts of claims… but maybe; the plant is worth having either way though) 

We are calling this experiment a winner!

What are you trying out this year?  As I evolve the rest of my seasonal experiments….I will share my results and I hope you will too. 

top image from metafro, sec

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  1. Geoff says:

    Several years ago I did the same thing with lemongrass. I scored some at the asian market and rooted it in water. The rooting took an absurdly long time, 6 weeks or some such. I then transplanted it to pots and shifted it outside in May (never put anything in the ground before Mothers Day) where it utterly failed to thrive, just like my rosemary. I brought it back inside in the fall and both it and the rosemary thrived all winter. Return to the deck outside in spring and they just kind of sit there, getting wind-burned and looking miserable. I think we’re on our third or fourth spring and I’m going to leave them sit indoors. I don’t know if it’s the lack of humidity or the wide day/night temperature swings here in NoCo but they just do not love the great out-of-doors.
    New for this year is a completely re-done front garden that I have to manage not to kill. Including a bunch of plants I’ve never had before, so it’s fraught with danger.

  2. Tina says:

    I have to ask. Just what is that creature? It resembles a bachelor uncle of mine. There’s something very appealing about it but I can’t quite put my finger on it (there’s not much appealing about the uncle, I’m afraid, hence the “bachelor” status.)

  3. Kate says:

    Oooooooh Sounds like you’re onto something! We’re working a bunch of native grasses into our front yard, maybe I should chuck in some lemon grass to the mix for a bit of yummo!!

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