Lemongrass is a tender perennial that will occupy more than one place in your life. It is an ornamental grass with two-to-three foot, spiky leaves that have a wonderful scent of lemon. Be sure to give it plenty of growing room – a small clump can easily increase to two feet wide or more in a single season. Although it can survive a mild winter, it is probably best to divide your plant before cold weather arrives and pot some to overwinter inside for next season. You will have plenty to share with friends.
The bonus of lemongrass is its use in cooking. It gives a lemon flavor to many dishes without overpowering them, and it won’t turn bitter with long cooking. The tender inner core is chopped, like scallions, and used in Oriental dishes and seafood. The tough outer parts can be used to flavor soups and teas, or dried for use in potpourri.
Surely you can find a place in your garden for a plant that is easy to grow, has a wonderful scent, and will send you to your cookbooks looking for new recipes.
Gayle Jones, former Smith County Master Gardener
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service