Lemongrass is a graceful, clump-forming grass with long, slender, arching leaf blades. It is a perennial in tropical and subtropical areas but grows as an annual in colder climates. There are a number of species of Lemongrass, but the one most frequently used is the highly fragrant Cymbopogon citratus, native to Southeast Asia.
Lemongrass is a plant with many functions. It is prized for its insect-repelling properties, especially for mosquitoes, and the oils are used in disinfectants and as cleaning agents. It is rich in iron, calcium, and vitamin C and is widely used as a medicinal herb for digestive problems, high blood pressure, and as a fever reducer. In Ayurvedic medicine, Lemongrass is used as an antioxidant, an anti-inflammatory, and an antifungal.
Its sweet and lemony essence is a popular flavoring in Asian cuisine, and herbal tea made from Lemongrass is used to relieve anxiety, pain, and gently promote sleep. In addition, the fresh lemon fragrance from its oil is an ingredient in aromatherapy, soaps, and perfumes.
This beautiful grass is also grown as a 2’ high by 3’ wide ornamental in full sun or partial shade in loamy, moist soil that is high in organic matter. It can be harvested year-round and is hardy in USDA zones 9-11 but can be grown as a summer annual in cooler climates. Lemongrass is really well-suited for container growing as well!