I will openly admit it, I had no idea how to begin a lemongrass plant until I started composting the kitchen scraps from Redwater Cafe. There in the midst of the “chop and drop” veggie scraps from the labors of many busy chefs sat the small fragile roots of the end cuttings of lemongrass. I had never really thought about it prior, but when I saw the end pieces, I did what any thrifty farm girl would do, and planted them immediately in an area where my chili peppers grew. I nearly forgot about them until, as I was pulling weeds, there were the beautifully formed shoots of lemongrass, waiting for harvest. The luxury of garden plucked lemongrass was completely new to this midwesterner turned Hawaii farmer. There were coconut milk curries awaiting these flavorful stems…I had to get cooking, but first, my forward thinking self cut the roots off and separated them and replanted them all about the garden.
I highly recommend this lovely herb in your tropical garden, and even your higher elevation garden (I am at 2600ft in Hawaii.) It sits quietly and stately anywhere you plant it. Tall and grassy as the name illuminates, it becomes a year round herb that can be grown out of your kitchen trimmings. Trust me, when you are not paying big bucks in the shops, you will find lots of uses for it. The fragrance is divine, and treat it well with enriched compost and it will prosper. For some ideas to get your plantings inspired, see http://www.saveur.com/article/-/Recipes-with-Lemongrass and check out this lemongrass knot tying video too! http://www.saveur.com/article/Video/Video-How-to-Tie-Lemongrass
Growing notes: We do get a variety of rust on the lemongrass leaves here in Hawaii. I recommend harvesting leaves/stems frequently, and if hit with rust covered leaves, just leave it planted, but cut them down to the base, as they will regrow quickly. Make sure to quarantine leaves in a plastic bag so to not spread the rust plant disease. to other plants, farms or gardens.
2 thoughts on “Get Growing Hawaii: lemongrass”
Thanks for this tip! I love the smell of lemongrass and might try to grow it as I currently live in Oahu.
Great Jess! we do get a variety of rust on the leaves here in Hawaii. I recommend harvesting frequently, and if hit with rust covered leaves, just leave it planted, but cut them down to the base, and quarantine leaves in a plastic bag so to not spread the rust plant disease.