Lemon grass seed starting

I was wondering if anyone has started lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus) from seed? I've ordered some T&M seeds and have read up on it but it does seem a little intimidating. Another DG member suggested buying some lemon grass in the grocery store produce section and try to find some viable root left on it. A great idea that I'm going to try but meanwhile I have seeds coming.
Any suggestions are appreciated.

Conneaut, OH(Zone 5a)

I tried it last year with limited success.Only a few seeds germinated.I think if I would have used a heat mat,I would have had better results.I do have a large plant in a container that I bought.I am over-wintering it indoors for the 2nd time.I made a lemon herb container garden.Most of the plants,I grew from seeds and some of them from cuttings.I gave it to my mother for mother's day.I don't know how it did.We live a fair distance from each other.I didn't see my mother again till october,by then she had tossed it.Most of the plants were annuals.When I asked her about it during the summer(on the phone) she would tell me it was doing great.But I have my doubts.

edgeoftheworld -
I have heat mats so that's a start. I had found some T&M germination information that indicates a very narrow temperature range of 70 to 72 for germination but if the soil gets too hot, the seeds will go dormant. Says to situate them on a sunny, unheated greenhouse bench. Ha! If I didn't heat my greenhouse, the temp would be about 10. I definitely plan on wintering over any plant I get from this endeavor.
Your lemon herb container - what a cool idea! What else did you grow in it? I love lemon for cooking but not in sweet tea.
Thanks for your suggestion.

Conneaut, OH(Zone 5a)

CindyM,hmmm,let me try to remember.lemon verbena,lemon basil,lemon thyme,lemon balm,lemon grass,lemon hyssop,lemon mint(monarda citriodora).

Edgeoftheworld -
Wow - you did the lemon up big time. I'm so intrigued with your idea that I may have to try it. Did you have to use an awfully big pot? I was wondering if I'd have room in the pot for some petunia 'Limoncello' since I have seeds to sow.

Reno, NV

What a cool idea. I'd be interested in hearing how big of a pot as well.

Carmel, IN(Zone 5b)

Looks like someone over in the herb forum was successful at getting seeds to start.

Edge, I love your selection of plants for your lemon garden. I've done some similar theme gardens, but yours was outstanding. I have to go look up lemon hyssop--that's one I'm not familiar with.

Conneaut, OH(Zone 5a)

I was broke and out of work.I wanted to give my mother something from the heart.I used what I had.It was a window box,type of a container.Maybe 12"X30".I used potting soil and mixed in alot of vermiculite.I was trying to make it light,so my mother could lift it.I also mixed in some slow release organic fertilizer.I told her to put it in a sunny spot and all you will have to do is water it.My guess was,some of the plants would not make and some would take over.Like, I said,I really don't know how it turned out.The plants were all very small,when I planted them.If the whole thing was a nightmare,I will never know.My mother would never want to hurt my feelings.If I had grown it for myself,I would have used a larger container.I would have pinched and trimmed the plants to keep them a certain size.Nothing is maintenance free.But I told my mother it was.Sons are like that.

Reno, NV

How perfectly sweet of you:). Thanks for the size

Mom -
Thanks so much for that link! You've been so helpful finding those links for me. I tend to squeeze visiting DG in between other "to-do" things that I don't spend a lot of time browsing. I really need to set aside more time. Anyway, germination looks a lot better than the T&M site led me to believe. I did visit a more "up scale" grocery store yesterday - they used to carry lemon grass but it didn't sell BUT they offered to get some for me on Monday with their other herb deliveries (the type that come in clear plastic tubs). I'm totally impressed! So, I'll make a trip out there on Tuesday (only about 7 miles) and see if they were able to get it. I'm psyched.
Edgeoftheworld -
I think your gift was far more thoughtful than you give yourself credit for. The reason I asked about pot size - last summer I started setting my potted plants in garden beds to fill in the open spaces where the resident plants gave in to heat and dry conditions. I even stuck this huge pot with my first tomato plants in the middle of the bed. It really added color and interest to a tired area. I would envision do something similar with a "lemon" pot since my patio is way too shady for it. Thanks for sharing the info.

Huntington Beach, CA


I had great success with lemon grass seeds. At the end of September, I just put a few seeds in a divided seed germinator with bottom heat and OVERNIGHT the seeds were already out of the dirt! Now, only a few months old, the seedlings are about six inches tall.

I hope you have good luck with your seeds and grocery store sprouts.

Killgriff07 -
Thanks for your encouragement. What do you mean by "divided seed germinator"? Like an APS system or somewhat similar? Tomorrow is seed starting day. Have been holding off pending possible trip to AZ but that's not on the schedule now so I'm more than ready to go.

Huntington Beach, CA

Just the basic seed starters like they sell in nurseries. http://www.onlinebuffalo.com/pictures/seedling20.jpg

I started my lemon grass seed yesterday. They're sitting nice and cozy on a heat mat under lights. I'll be hovering over them several times a day, watching for germination. I'm experimenting this year with the plastic Glad containers (small ones that come with deli meats), one type of seed per container. My theory is that they might be a little more flexible moving them about under lights and into the greenhouse than my APS units or traditional flats. Of course that means I'll have to transplant them into individual pots but I do that anyway. Actually, I use plastic cups with holes punched in the bottoms. Reminds me that I have a whole lot of plastic cup washing to do since I reuse them.

Huntington Beach, CA

I hope they grow well for you.

Here's what mine look like week by week.

Sorry, the first two are difficult to see. Here's a link to the larger photos of the two.



Thumbnail by Killgriff07

Killgriff -
Those photos are great! Do you document all of your seed-starting so thoroughly? It's very helpful to know what the little sprouts will look like. Did you pot your seedlings up at two weeks? If I end up with a clump of a few seedlings, will the plants grow on okay or do I really need to separate out individual seedlings?
I just checked in on mine again - I have a sprout!!! And I just planted them on 2/10! Yesterday I noticed the soil was a little dry - my being paranoid about getting it too wet after reading the T&M thing - so I gave them some water. This is such a good thing since the "up-scale" grocery store still hasn't gotten in the fresh lemon grass from their supplier for me to try to root.
Many thanks for all of the encouragement here!

Huntington Beach, CA

I just recently started to document them as a way to practice my HTML (web page coding) but it is very useful.

I'm just experimenting with how they grow. If they don't seem to grow out that much, I will plant them together so that they fill out.

Congratulations on your sprout! I hope you get a lot more.

Carmel, IN(Zone 5b)

Way to go, Cindy. Hope you have many happy sprouts. As a fellow Hoosier, I'm sure you are as anxious for spring as I am. I'm planning on starting some seeds that need extra time for germination this weekend. I love to play in the dirt!

I have 14 sprouts this morning. I'm totally happy with them even if that's all I get (but I'd be ecstatic with even more). Next I'll have to read up when and how to harvest them for cooking (even though it seems a bit premature at this point).
Mom, IN winters suck. I don't go by the "6 more weeks of winter" prediction on Groundhog Day - a factor of 8 weeks is a bit closer. The recent warm up was heaven! Happily, seed starting in January/February has helped cope with cabin fever for many years now. The smell of damp seed starting mix is wonderful. I think I prefer playing in the dirt indoors to outdoor winter sowing. I have no problem with stratifying seeds in the fridge in damp coffee filters and baggies (takes up so little space) and putting up the grow lights. DH is quite the enabler and has built both tabletop lights and a big free-standing 3-tier system for me so I have everything I could ever want for playing in the dirt. I already have Thalictrum and Dodecatheon sprouting but the Cimicifuga could prove to be a little more challenging. Love to see the green sprouts in February - pure bliss.

Carmel, IN(Zone 5b)

Cindy--Could you send your handyman husband down my way for a bit? LOL Although my husband is supportive of my efforts, we are not "do-it-yourselfers", so I bought the stands/lights from Gardeners supply. Would love to have another set, but they are rather pricey. One of my 3 lights is already in use, as I overwintered quite a few herbs (including my lemongrass).. That leaves me 2 4' lights for starting seeds and growing some baby plants until they are ready to be planted outdoors. Seems like I expand every season.
I'm going to attempt artichokes this year, so tthose will be started this weekend, along with eggplant, orange bell peppers, and my Bells of Ireland.

Have any good recipes that use lemongrass to pass along?

Mom -
DH has learned to be a handyman since marrying me. :) I can't recall the total cost of my light stand but it's made from standard 2 x 4's and plywood. Bolts to hold it together and plastic to line the rimmed shelves (keeps all of the dirt and water from spilling everywhere) and the light fixtures so I know it was way cheaper than the Gardener's Supply variety which I couldn't bring myself to buy. I haven't brought it out for the past two years because DH gave me a little lean-to greenhouse. Now I get the seeds started indoors with tabletop lights where I can control the temps better and will then move them out to the cooler greenhouse as I pot them up. I focus primarily on starting perennials and a few select annuals. I don't have enought sun for too many veggies so it's mainly tomatoes (which I grew last year from purchased seedlings) and some herbs. I don't even try to start impatiens (my main annual due to shade) since I go through about 12 flats of them every year. Good luck with the artichokes! I love artichoke hearts. Daughter wants to try asparagus but right now, she doesn't have a good soil structure (rocky hilltop) or watering method (shallow well) to keep them going.
As for recipes, haven't started looking yet other than using the lemon grass for seasonings. Daughter suggested lemon grass soup which I will have to investigate (hey, I love lemon rice soup so it's worth a shot). Also ready yesterday that the green flatter blades can be used for tea, both alone or in a combination with other tea types.
I did find some somewhat fresh lemon grass at Meijer yesterday. I bought two containers and have 3 pieces that are definitely the root end. I popped them into water last night. Thought it would be easier to check for root development rather than planting them directly into dirt. Not the freshest specimens but I'll give it my best shot. I now have about 20 little sprouts from seeds. I also read that outdoor pots of lemon grass look beautiful as they grow through summer so it's a great 2 for 1 deal growing it.

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