Need Help Growing Lemongrass

growing_lemongrassI’ve planted some lemongrass stalks that I bought and rooted in water. When they had a strong root system I planted them in a pot and put them on a southwest window sill. I’ve tried to maintain moisture and fertilized, but unfortunately not only have they not grown but they are slowly withering away. I hope you can help me figure out what I can do to keep them alive and hopefully get them to grow into a decent plant. I live in the south of Spain where the climate is warm and dry most of the year, but I have to keep delicate plants indoors in winter as we are at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains and get frosts. Thanks, Diane

Answer: It’s always difficult to fully diagnose the exact cause of plant failure, but here are some suggestions to try again.

I see about a 50/50 rate of suggestion as to starting lemongrass in water or soil. Most who recommend water rooting do suggest to transplant directly to soil. However, the cell structure of water roots is different from that of soil roots, so it’s imperative to keep the soil generously moist in the early days of transplanting. You can even cover the plant with a plastic bag to seal in the humidity. Another method to move the plant to soil is to daily add soil to the water to allow the roots to transition in cell structure.

You might also just try using soil to start the lemon grass. Just make sure it’s well draining. You will want to cover the pots to keep the moisture in.

Keeping the plant in a warm sunny spot is important, as well. If there is a draft from the window, you might try moving it to a warmer spot and make sure it’s getting as much full sun as possible.

Do not fertilize the starts. Let them show active growth before applying any type of fertilizer. Most plants don’t need a lot of fertilizer except when blooming or fruiting, to help boost that process.

Give it another try, and maybe test both methods and see which works best for your conditons.

Happy gardening,


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  • Reply
    Emy W.
    July 8, 2014 at 10:50 am

    I have 6 stalks of lemongrass in a glass of water. All of them are rooting. I only have 15 cm plastic pots. Is a 15 cm pot enough for 1 stalk? (I’m planning to plant 6 stalks in 6 different pots.) I want to grow lemongrass indoors and I’ll put them outside during summer. I live in Finland where I get 24 hours of sunshine during the summer (only 3 months a year) and the rest it will be really cold and no sunshine at all during winter. Do you have any suggestions for how to grow lemongrass? Thank you Emy.

    • Reply
      July 8, 2014 at 10:53 am


      Based on the information I have available on lemongrass, you should be able to grow it indoors but you most likely will need to give it supplemental lighting. Lemongrass requires at least 6 hours of sun daily to thrive. If you can, provide a grow light or some form of supplemental lighting during the days you don’t receive natural sunlight. It will require a room temperature of 70-75 degrees F during the day, 55 to 60 degrees F during the evening hours.

      Once the stalks have rooted you can plant them in a soil mixture of potting mix and perlite, 7 parts to 3 parts. Water until it flushes thru the pot and then let the soil dry out slightly before watering again. You can fertilize your established plants twice a month with a balanced, water-soluable fertilizer.

      As for the size, I calculate 15 cm to be approximately a 6-inch pot. This should be adequate for a while, until the plants start to grow. Once they get established I imagine you will need a pot at least twice that diameter.

      Good luck, and enjoy your lemongrass.


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