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Herbs: Can't keep up with my cat's Lemon Grass cravings

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SouthrnCharmed
Melrose, FL
(Zone 8b)

January 12, 2007
5:06 PM

Post #3077083

I have 5 pots of lemon grass -- one of them is labeled EAST INDIAN LEMON GRASS and I believe I got it at Home Depot or something like that. I rotate them, one at a time onto the porch so that my cat, Karma, can enjoy them. She LOVES Lemon Grass. But I just cannot keep up with her.
She prefers the Lemon Grass shoots when they are new before they get tougher -- wouldn't we all. The East Indian Lemon Grass is a shorter finer variety and I think it would be better because of this. But haven't seen any more.
I have an awesome green house, heated etc just not too sure about the amount of sun I get back there especially this time of year -- BUT our weather hasn't been too terrible. I'm in Melrose -- slightly north of G'ville -- how 'bout them GATORS!?
Any suggestions on how best to keep up with my Karma? I feel terrible watching her pull at the scraggly little nubs of nothing and knowing that the pots in the herb garden haven't got much better. :( I've brought other herbs in and offered them to her -- she's just not interested.

Debra
SouthrnCharmed

Pic is just a temp pot I had started NOT one of my plants -- they are in larger pots

Thumbnail by SouthrnCharmed
Click the image for an enlarged view.

garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

January 12, 2007
6:17 PM

Post #3077264

Pretty Karma! Perhaps the Siamese in her is asking for Thai kitty cuisine?
Does your Karma like Erba Gatto or any catnips?
http://tinyurl.com/ybe2l3
SouthrnCharmed
Melrose, FL
(Zone 8b)

January 12, 2007
9:20 PM

Post #3077729

LOL -- clever you, Garden_Mermaid! I've never tried any of the 'grasses' but I'm visiting the link (thank you). I will try anything at this point to please her -- she makes my heart smile. She gets a wonderfully mellow 'high' from wallowing in catnip but doesn't eat / nibble on anything else -- not the catnip, cat mint -- cat thyme she was briefly somewhat interested in. I thought the basils with their fresh smells would appeal to her -- nope. Just wants that Lemon Grass -- and I just can't grow the stuff fast enough and five pots of it aren't keeping up with her.
Thank you and if you think of anything else let me know
Deb
podster
Deep East Texas, TX
(Zone 8a)

January 13, 2007
12:22 PM

Post #3079191

I do grow oat grass for the town cat. He lives at work and loves to munch on his oats while I brush him. Worth a try?
SouthrnCharmed
Melrose, FL
(Zone 8b)

January 13, 2007
2:37 PM

Post #3079459

It's just dirt and seeds -- and time -- I'll try anything at this point. Caught her practically ripping the poor lemon grass up by it's roots this morning trying to get at something worth chewing on :~( Poor baby.
podster
Deep East Texas, TX
(Zone 8a)

January 14, 2007
1:24 AM

Post #3081472

I was shocked this summer when I saw my 5 ft lemon grass plant which was sitting by the fence. My cat collection would perch on the fence and graze on the sharp blades of grass. It didn't seem to affect them in the least. Either they want the roughage or they like the lemon taste...
ncgardenaddict
Kannapolis, NC
(Zone 7b)

January 15, 2007
1:35 PM

Post #3085882

Plant some outside! You won't believe how fast they get BIG!!! Mine has survived several winters now and my zone is colder than yours!

This is one very old pic - it's easily doubled since then.

Nicole

Thumbnail by ncgardenaddict
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podster
Deep East Texas, TX
(Zone 8a)

January 15, 2007
2:19 PM

Post #3086003

Nicole ~ does it die down in the winter? I've always heard it needs winter protection...
pajaritomt
Los Alamos, NM
(Zone 5a)

January 16, 2007
2:49 AM

Post #3088409

My dogs love lemon grass and keep it eaten down unless I put it behind a whole bunch of other pots. But cats are so much more agile. I guess the answer would be to provide them something they like at least as well, and easily accessible.
Lemon grass is tasty to more than just humans! Cat mint ( as opposed to cat nip, might please them as well. What about suspending your lemon grass from a hanging basket. If it isn't too close to a ledge or a piece of furniture I don't think the cat will get it.
Still, I think it is really cool that there is some gourmet in cats and dogs. We don't give them enough credit. how does your cat feel about garlic?
podster
Deep East Texas, TX
(Zone 8a)

January 16, 2007
11:58 AM

Post #3088980

Perish the thought! ...a garlic purr in the face... UGH! And I love garlic! They would have to learn to nibble the parsley afterward.
Someone from my menagerie nibbled the tops from my topsetting onions here. Didn't take long to find the culprit by their breath...

"Cat mint ( as opposed to cat nip, might please them as well." Can you tell me the difference between these? This discussion came up in another thread and made me start looking. All my references indicate it is one and the same. Help!!! pod
pajaritomt
Los Alamos, NM
(Zone 5a)

January 16, 2007
3:24 PM

Post #3089505

Kitty onion breath, arg!

Here is Richters' page where you can check out the descriptions of both catnip and catmint. It says catmint doesn't attract cats, and I think that, compared to catnip, it doesn't. On the other hand my neighbor tells me her cat loves it. I have never been able to get catnip to survive among cats -- they love it to death, eating it and rolling on it. Their love for catmint isn't quite as tough. I actually grew it for its flowers. Check out both at the following url. Richters will tell you the difference.
http://tinyurl.com/yy2npx
SouthrnCharmed
Melrose, FL
(Zone 8b)

January 16, 2007
4:59 PM

Post #3089860

Thank everyone so much :) I do have the lemon grass planted outside in two places for several years now -- for some reason it took a turn for the worse this year -- our mildest yet! Karma is a porch and indoor kitty and having it in the pots gave her access to it whenever SHE wanted it. I too, was surprised, Podster, that the sharp edges didn't seem to phase her at all. Wish I knew EXACTLY WHAT it was that she was after -- the lemony taste, the roughage / fiber, some vitamin . . . I do notice that SHE never has a fur ball . . .? (knock on wood) She has nice breath :) LOL
Catnip she will 'snort' and wallow in -- wonderfully funny 'high' kitty and cat mint she ignores. Cat thyme she will take a tiny nip of every now and then. Right now she is telling me that if I don't do something soon about the lack of lemon grass she will start in on my aralia! Garlic -- have another cat -- Tigger is an Occicat -- 13 years old and whenever he smells it he actually GAGS -- too funny.
ncgardenaddict
Kannapolis, NC
(Zone 7b)

January 23, 2007
1:40 PM

Post #3113559

Hi Podster! Yes it does die in the winter. As you can see from the pic it is beside my house which helps keep it warmer. I usually pile up the pine straw a bit deep on the sides. One year I trimmed the dead leaves down to the base and covered it. The last few years I don't even cut the leaves down - I treat it like one of my hardy grasses and cut it back in February! It doesn't seem to care either way! The side of my house it's on only gets morning sun too.

It's pretty easygoing! Years ago I divided and gave away a bunch for postage. I remember telling one DG member to go dig it back up and bring it inside! LOL!! That's before I knew!! Oh well - maybe she was in zone 6, I can't remember!

Nicole
AYankeeCat
Fairfield County, CT
(Zone 6b)

January 23, 2007
4:38 PM

Post #3114133

My Holly loves Lemon Grass, too. It took her about 2 years to kill off my potted plant. Now I grow wheat for her in a pot. Actually I have two pots and start the second when the first gets mostly eaten. I buy wheat (from the bin) at the health food store for next to nothing and just use a ceramic pot with drainage and potting soil. Wallingford likes to take a wheat nibble while I'm making din-din. Guess he is a two course kind of guy.
brigidlily
Lumberton, TX
(Zone 8b)

January 23, 2007
6:18 PM

Post #3114451

Would she nibble non-growing LG? Like, get some dried from the health food store? (Just until the pots regrow, of course.) There must be something in it she needs, and I don't know what's in lemon grass besides vitamin deliciousness.

Thanks for that pic and info, addict -- I just planted some seeds in peat pots and now I know where I'm going to transplant it.

podster
Deep East Texas, TX
(Zone 8a)

January 24, 2007
12:31 AM

Post #3115557

Interesting to find that lemon grass survives zone 7B. The reading I've done says otherwise. I am glad to know it! Thank you ncga ~ I left my plant out as it was in a large pot but had sunk roots out of the pot and deep into the ground. It has been frozen of course. Springtime will tell if the roots survived. I will cut it back next month and bide my time. I wasn't too worried as I bought some seed too. Will start them soon. pod
ncgardenaddict
Kannapolis, NC
(Zone 7b)

January 24, 2007
11:51 AM

Post #3116590

One thing I do to safeguard against a particulary bad winter is to always bring some inside too! That way I have a 'backup' should my outside one bite the dust!! :)

Nicole
podster
Deep East Texas, TX
(Zone 8a)

January 24, 2007
12:22 PM

Post #3116657

Oh ye of little faith! : )) Always save a start, I can appreciate that... pod
ncgardenaddict
Kannapolis, NC
(Zone 7b)

January 24, 2007
12:30 PM

Post #3116678

LOL! You won't believe where I bought it... MANY MANY MANY years ago when I was a gardening newbie I bought it from... *drumroll please*

Michigan Bulb!! HA HAHAHAHAHA!!

Of all the things I ordered - it alone survived! I know you are shocked!! It must be 12 years old now!! Yikes!!

Nicole
brigidlily
Lumberton, TX
(Zone 8b)

January 24, 2007
3:46 PM

Post #3117340

Chaos in the midst of order. What a hoot!
bsulli42
Lakeville, MN
(Zone 4a)

February 17, 2007
5:25 PM

Post #3198944

No cat (allergic) and huge lemon grass plant inside for the winter. I need to give it regular haircuts. It's great to learn that cats like it. I may try to propagate some for my cat friends. Anyone know the best way to propagate? Division?
podster
Deep East Texas, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 18, 2007
1:08 AM

Post #3200321

I'm thinking division is it. There is lemon grass seed to be bought but I've no idea where it comes from... mine has never bloomed. Do you cook with it much when you give the plant haircuts?
bsulli42
Lakeville, MN
(Zone 4a)

April 14, 2007
11:04 AM

Post #3389955

Podster -

I haven't been back to the site since my original post. I actually have not tried cooking with the lemon grass, yet. I need to research some recipes and give it a try - especially when I put the pot outside & it really starts growing. Do you have any suggestions?

bsulli
critterologist
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

April 14, 2007
11:55 AM

Post #3390150

I was browsing through DeBaggio's catalog last night (no mail order... but great descriptions and other info at http://www.debaggioherbs.com), and I noticed they list two distinct varieties of lemon grass.

West Indian Lemon Grass, Cymbopogon citratus, grown only from division and taller (mature height up to 6 feet)

East Indian Lemon Grass, Cymbopogon flexuosus, grown from seed and smaller (mature height only 18 inches)

They said the West Indian type is the one commonly found in Asian markets and used in cooking. The East Indian type can be used similarly, but is commercially grown as a source of lemongrass oil for flavoring candy etc.
bsulli42
Lakeville, MN
(Zone 4a)

April 14, 2007
12:02 PM

Post #3390175

Thanks for the info and the link! I'm always thrilled to add another IE Favorite for herb links. Based upon your descriptions, my plant is likely West Indian. The leaves are 24 inches long and it's been inside all winter.

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