If you’ve ever grown this striking and flavorful herb, you may have wondered “Is lemongrass a perennial? And if it is, can I overwinter it?” You’re not alone in asking yourself these questions; I’ve heard them cross the lips of many gardeners over the years. Lemongrass is such a versatile herb and a beautiful plant. It’s no wonder folks want to know how to keep it around from one year to the next. This article shares details on where lemongrass survives the winter and offers you advice on keeping lemongrass plants alive during the colder months, even if you don’t live in a warm climate.
The scent and flavor of lemongrass leaves and stems is an essential ingredient in recipes from around the world. There are two common species of lemongrass. One is edible.
The species you want to grow for culinary enjoyment lemongrass, Cymbopogon citratus, and you’ll find the plant for sale at nurseries and garden centers around the world, typically alongside classic herbs, like thyme, oregano, and rosemary.
Does lemongrass survive the winter?
Lemongrass plants are true perennials with life cycles that continue for many years if the plant is grown where stay above freezing year-round. Though they are perennial. So, if you live in a climate where winter temps regularly drop below freezing, lemongrass is treated like other annuals and only grown for a single season. The plants are then fully harvested and removed from the garden prior to the onset of cold. Or, they are left in the garden to with the arrival of the first frost. However, if you don’t want to fully harvest or toss your plant of the season, there are a few clever ways you can keep your lemongrass plants from one year to the next. Later in this article, I’ll share two ways to overwinter lemongrass, where you live.
Ways to overwinter lemongrass plants
If you live in a cold climate where the plants will not survive outdoors, there are two ways to overwinter lemongrass plants. Their survival depends on a combination of your good timing and the conditions you subject the plants to. The first way to overwinter lemongrass plants is indoors, in a pot as a houseplant. The second involves keeping a few rooted bare-root stems in a glass of water through the winter months.
lemongrass a perennial you can grow indoors as a houseplant? Yes!
If you want to overwinter lemongrass as a houseplant, plan to dig it out of the garden a few weeks before your first frost and pot it up into a container filled with new, sterile potting soil. Plastic or glazed ceramic pots are best. Avoid terracotta because it will dry out too quickly inside your home. If you’d like, this is a good time to divide the plant and pot each division into its own container so you’ll have more plants in the spring. Alternatively, you can harvest up to three-quarters of the plant and only save a small chunk of it to grow as a houseplant. Place the newly planted pot (or pots) in a shady area to allow the plant(s) time to settle into its new home until the of frost threatens. If you’re already growing your lemongrass plant in a pot, you can skip this step.
When frost is on the immediate horizon, bring the pot indoors. Place it in a bright, south-facing window or under a grow light. Remember, these are tropical plants that require a lot of light. They also prefer humid conditions, which is not likely to be what you have inside of your home during the winter months. Because of this, consider placing the pot on a humidity tray or near a humidifier. Keep the soil moisture level even; never allow the plant to fully dry out. Do not apply fertilizer in the winter as they plants are not actively growing and do not require nutrients.
Throughout the winter, of the leaves turn brown or crispy, don’t hesitate to trim them off. Sometimes the plant appears to back, but as long as the of each of the stems remain flexible and green, the plant will survive the winter.
Thankfully, lemongrass plants are not a favorite of pests, so it isn’t likely that you’ll face pest when growing lemongrass indoors for the winter.
Refrain from harvesting during the winter because it will reduce the plant’s chances of survival. Make your harvests when you pot the plant prior to bringing it indoors.
Keeping a lemongrass plant in water
Another fun way to overwinter a lemon grass plant is to keep a “sprig” of it in a glass of water on the windowsill. To do this, off an entire stalk from the mother plant and keep a few small roots . the leaves, rinse off the roots, and drop the base of the stem into a shallow glass of water. Wash the glass and replace the water once every week to ten days throughout the winter and trim off any new leaves that grow too long and spindly.