Aromatic Plants: The Lemon Grass (Cymbopogon Citratus)
The lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus) is a species belonging to the family of grasses, native to Asia and Africa, which are attributed digestive properties, pharyngeal anti-inflammatory, sedative and antacid, as well as serving as a culinary spice and insect repellent.
It is a herbaceous, perennial, aromatic and robust plant that can be grown in the warm regions outside. It grows in the form of thick tufts of bulbs from which sprout elongated and rough leaves of light green color capable of reaching a maximum height of 1 to 1.5 meters and which gives off a refreshing fragrance, similar to that of lemon .
The flowers of the lemon grass grow together in spikes of 60 centimeters long, and only appear when the plant is found in areas where tropical climates predominate.
It is precisely in these warm regions that this plant is grown outdoors, whether in gardens or containers. However, in places with less favorable climatic conditions, it is recommended to cultivate them in pots, sheltered from the cold and inclement weather.
The lemon grass grows and grows best in full sun to give a better flavor and aromatic power with more than eight hours a day of direct sunlight, but you can also get good results if given a location with at least six hours of sun Direct from the spring to the fall.
This plant prefers a loose, fertile and well drained substrate, important conditions for the health of the specimen. It is recommended to mix garden soil with compost, debris from dried grass or well fermented manure. If sowing is done in a large container, good mix for quality pots should be used.
Before placing the seedling in the soil it is convenient to choose a place where a dry environment prevails, because the lemon grass is very sensitive to excess moisture.
When planting in a garden bed or in a large bowl a deep hole should be dug to aid the development and strengthening of the lemon grass . If sowing is directly on the ground, a space of approximately 60 centimeters should be left between each plant. For indoor potting, it is best to use a container of 20 liters or more to allow full growth.
Irrigation and care
Regarding irrigation, excess water should be avoided, especially in the case of freshly transplanted lemon grass. Once the plant has been established, the weekly deep watering will encourage the good growth of the roots preventing them from drying out.
In regions with cold climates it is recommended to move these plants inland before the first frost. Another option is to dig, divide a growing group and plant divisions into pots or smaller containers to protect them during the winter. The lemon grass will always remain green, but the growth slows down considerably during the winter. Make sure to lighten the watering while the growth slows down.