Member Price: $39.95
Member Price: $39.95
Lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus), native to Southeast Asia, is a perennial herb known for its distinct lemony scent and flavor. Widely used in cooking, particularly in Asian cuisines, it is also valued for its ornamental qualities and its use in essential oils and herbal remedies.
Lemon grass is a fast-growing, clump-forming grass that reaches a height of 2-4 feet and spreads about 2-3 feet wide. It is hardy in USDA zones 10-11 and can be grown as an annual in cooler climates. The plant features arching, linear leaves that emerge from a central stalk, creating an attractive fountain-like appearance. Lemon grass prefers full sun and well-draining, fertile soil with consistent moisture. It is relatively low-maintenance, drought-tolerant once established, and resistant to most pests and diseases.
The foliage of lemon grass is one of its most notable features, both for its appearance and its fragrance. The long, slender leaves have a gray-green to blue-green color and can reach up to 3 feet in length. When crushed or bruised, the leaves release a strong, lemony aroma that is characteristic of the plant. This scent is due to the presence of citral, an essential oil also found in lemon and other citrus fruits. The attractive and fragrant foliage makes lemon grass a popular choice for ornamental plantings, as well as for use in cooking, teas, and essential oils.
Lemon grass can be easily grown from seed or propagated by division of established clumps. In colder climates, it can be grown in containers and brought indoors during the winter months. The plant requires minimal pruning, with occasional removal of dead leaves and trimming back of any overly tall stalks.
In the kitchen, the lower part of the lemon grass stalk, which is more tender and flavorful, is commonly used in soups, curries, and stir-fries. The leaves can also be used to infuse teas and other beverages with their refreshing, lemony flavor. In addition to its culinary uses, lemon grass is known for its potential health benefits, including anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal properties.
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