Our mystery seeds from last week were from West Indian lemon grass, Cymbopogon citratus.
Too bad today’s post can’t come with a scratch-and-sniff component.
Lemon grass, although not related to lemons, has a lovely lemony scent. It is used in Asian cooking, particularly Thai, and also in teas.
Both West Indian and East Indian lemon grass grow well in the Southwest because they are drought and heat tolerant. They are, however, frost sensitive and the brown ends may need to trimmed back after a cold winter. The plants do well growing in pots and can be temporarily moved indoors if necessary.
Lemon grass plants are easy to propagate. Many Asian markets sell lemon grass stalks, so look for some with the bulb and a few roots still intact. Simply stick the root/bulb part of stalk into moist soil for rooting. It is also possible to separate and move the stalks from an established clump of lemon grass.
Depending on the species, the plants may periodically produce flowers.
The flowers are fairly inconspicuous, as with other grasses. Over time they turn reddish brown as the seeds form.
(The public domain photograph is by Jose Hernandez, hosted by the USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database)
Simply sow the mature lemon grass seeds into moist soil for new plants.
Before you know it, you will be catching the delicious citrus scent as you brush by the plant.
Have you ever grown lemon grass? What is your favorite recipe for using it?