Lemongrass

Gardening Question From Gambriella:

Long time fan. I have all your books and I can’t find any info on your month by month book or on your website as to how to care for lemongrass in Southern California (Orange County) on the coast side (Zone 24). Do I cut it down completely in the fall and let it regrow in the spring?
 
Lemongrass photo

Answer From Pat:

Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citrates) is an evergreen tropical grass with a strong lemony flavor. Since it is evergreen there is no need to cut it back in winter. In fact if you did the plant might die. Frost or even very cold weather may kill it so a better idea is to dig some up in fall, plant it in a pot and grow as a house plant during winter. Plant it back in the garden when the weather warms up in spring. 
 
 I grew it once and found the roots were invasive in my vegetable garden. Also, it took up too much space and was somewhat difficult to eradicate. I only use a small amount when cooking. A few slices of stem provides plenty of flavor in, for example, a Tai coconut soup. For this reason I now buy a few stems in the market and keep it wrapped in plastic and frozen so I always have it on hand. Since you live in Zone 24 most likely it will thrive unless there is a sudden frost.
 

Photo by DanGrebb

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