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Almanac Planting West Indian Lemon Grass (Cymbopogon citratus)

West Indian Lemon Grass

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Cymbopogon citratus

Overview

Uses: Herb: can be used fresh or dried. May also be used for landscaping and as an indoor or outdoor potted plant. 

Benefits: May be used as a seasoning or to make tea. Considered medicinal. Very aromatic with notes of sweetgrass and citrus.

Zones: 9 - 13 (grown as an annual in cooler zones)

Sun: Full 

Life Cycle: Perennial (grown as an annual in cooler zones)

Mature Height: 20"-36"

Mature Width: 15"-24"

Bloom Season: Summer/Fall (blooms are insignificant and unlikely if grown as an annual)

Summary

West Indian Lemon Grass is a functional and beautiful aromatic herb that's commonly used as an indoor plant, patio plant, and an outdoor plant.

It's known as a "tender perennial" since it's so often grown as an annual in climates with winters colder than it can survive. It thrives when planted outside assuming the soil and air temperatures are above 60°F.

Often used for making teas and as a seasoning (either fresh or dried). It's wider and better suited for cooking than the East Indian variety of Lemon Grass. 

Provides a wonderful sweet, grassy citrus smell to the areas that it grows in. 

Often used for its medicinal properties, which are suggested to include, but are not limited to such things as antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. 

Care

West Indian Lemon Grass Care

Provide at least 6 hours of full sun daily. 

Water regularly and attempt to keep soil moist but not wet. This is a fast growing plant and a heavy drinker. May require water every other day throughout the summer, especially if potted instead of planted in the ground. 

Keep in temperatures above 60°F. May be grown as a perennial patio plant in cooler climates, providing that it's overwintered inside of a house and given necessary amounts of light, temperature, and water.

Does best in temperatures between 70°F and 90°F. 

Thrives in humid conditions. 

Does best in nitrogen rich soils that provide good drainage.

Size

Size of West Indian Lemon Grass That You Ship

We ship our West Indian Lemon Grass in 4" grow pots. 

Size of West Indian Lemon Grass When Fully Grown

West Indian Lemon Grass typically grows to a size of around 24" tall and 18" wide. In situations where it is grown as a perennial, it may grow as large as 60" tall and 36" wide. 

Additional Information

Botanical Name of West Indian Lemon Grass

  • Cymbopogon citratus

Toxicity and Risks of West Indian Lemon Grass

Cymbopogon citratus is not considered to be toxic to people when consumed in normal doses; however, it does contain essential oils and cyanogenic glycosides that can be toxic in large doses. 

It is very unlikely that anyone would consume enough Lemon Grass to be concerned about the threat of poisoning.

According to the ASPCA, the only symptom of West Indian Lemon Grass poisoning in dogs and cats is an upset stomach.