Cymbopogon citratus or Lemongrass is a clump forming grass native to India and Sri Lanka. It forms dense clumps up to 6 feet (1.8 m) tall and 4 feet (1.2 m) wide. The leaves are tapered at both ends and are up to 3 feet (1 m) long by 0.5 inches (1.2 cm) wide with scabrous margins. The grass is used in Thai cooking and an essential oil is distilled from the leaves that are used in perfumery. The grass is hardy in the landscape in USDA zones 9B-11.
Blooming: The inflorescences are large compound panicles that have a nodding appearance.
Culture: Cymbopogon citratus need full sun to light shade with a moist well drained soil. In the greenhouse we use a soil mix consisting of 2 parts peat moss to 2 parts loam to 1 part sand or perlite. Even though the plants are somewhat drought tolerant their appearance suffers from drought conditions. In the greenhouse we keep the plants fairly moist at all times and they are fertilized on a monthly basis. Since they are fairly aggressive growers they need to be divided often if grown in containers. During the winter months water is somewhat restricted, but the plants are never allowed to dry out thoroughly.
Propagation: Cymbopogon citratus is propagated by division in the spring.
Cymbopogon citratus was featured as Plant of the Week September 9-15, 2005.
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Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.