I have a lovely garden and part of it is shady, while the remaining portion receives full sun. I have been thinking of putting the shady part into use by planting a herb that can thrive well. The plant that came into my mind was lemongrass. After conducting thorough research to determine if they can thrive in shady areas, here’s what I found out.
Therefore, can lemongrass grow in the shade?
Yes, lemongrass can grow in shade. It is an unusual tropical grass that can thrive in a frost-free place in full sun and light shade. However, in full shade, they will not thrive well as they prefer well-drained, slightly acidic soil. The perfect time to plant lemongrass is in warm climates and humid conditions.
Lemongrass is a flavoring agent in various dishes. The sweet lemon scent makes them a favorite for drinks, soups, and curries. Typically it is rich in Vitamin A and brings out a perfect taste when combined with tea-containing cloves.
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Varieties of Lemon Grass
There are many types of lemongrass. Unfortunately, many people use it without actually knowing what variety they fall in. By now, you should be curious to find out the variety available in your market. Therefore, check out the following types of lemongrass.
Topping the list of lemongrass varieties is the East Indian. This variety contains a substantial amount of essential oils that also have health benefits. Besides that, it is hardy in zones ranging from 9 to 11.
Probably, you have come across this variety. This is because it is the most popular in cooking various meals such as Thai dishes. Also known as ornamental grass, it can become inactive in 8 plus zone, and that is during cold seasons.
This type of lemongrass is compact and has reddish and yellowish foliage—moreover, it is hardy in zones 6 to 11.
The last but not least variety of lemongrass is Citronella. It produces Citronella oils used in candles and mosquito-repelling items. What’s more, is that it is hardy in zones 10 to 12. Studies show that Citronella also has therapeutic benefits.
Lemongrass Growth Requirements
For lemongrass to thrive well, it must meet the following requirements.
Lemongrass does well in fertile, well-drained soils. Furthermore, it requires soil with a pH ranging from 6.5 to 7.0. Also, ensure that there is proper drainage to avoid root rots. To achieve better yields, ensure that soil is rich and loamy. For better results, add different soil amendments like manure, compost, and leaf mold because they are perfect enriching additives.
The second most crucial growth requirement for lemongrass is water. It plays an essential role throughout its growth. Just like basil, it prefers moist soil for maximum yield. The better part is that it can tolerate drought if it’s well established. To add, a 3-inch layer will help in conserving and enriching soil moisture.
The site plays an essential role in lemongrass growth. It is a vital requirement since it is where your plant will thrive or die. Before planting lemongrass, select an area with the best soils, well-drained soils, proper pH, adequate sunlight, and enough water. Basically, choose a location that has the best conditions favorable for this plant to thrive.
Humidity and Temperature
Humidity and temperature are essential when growing lemongrass but only at equal levels. As tropical plants, lemongrass produces high yields in a steamy and hot climate. However, when the night temperatures are in the 60’s, this plant will thrive well.
As it is frost-sensitive, you can bring them indoors when temperatures are near the 40s. Moreover, lemongrass can’t thrive in high humidity as they are incompatible. This is because they can result in grey mold and rot. When this happens, plants will have stunted growth and may die.
Lemongrass grows well in full sun and hot climates. However, they require at least six hours of direct sun daily to meet their energy needs. If you plant them under the shade, ensure that it receives a good amount of sunlight. If not, they will sparse and attract pests. On the flip side, planting them in areas that don’t receive enough light will produce low yields.
Lemongrass thrives well in fertile soils. However, as a grassy plant, it requires a nitrogen-fertilizer for belter growth. To provide enough fertilizer, use a slow-release 6-4—0 fertilizer to feed lemongrass with enough nutrients throughout the growing season.
To add, ensure that you conduct soil analysis to check if there are deficiencies. If so, find a licensed agronomist to help you take the proper procedures.
How to Plant Lemon Grass
Lemongrass is an excellent plant that can be planted from seeds and in containers.
Planting in Containers
When planting lemongrass in containers, select a container that is at least 12 inches. This will help create a healthy root system and prevent heavy plants from tipping over. To add, create a single root division in a small container during winter. This will help the plant to survive till the following season.
Planting from Seeds
Another effective and common way of planting lemongrass is from seeds. They germinate quickly in warm, moist soil. You’ll need to press the seeds lightly into a potting mix and moist until germination occurs. First, check out if the plants are about 3 inches tall, then thin them to a foot apart.
Pruning lemongrass is essential since it helps in creating further growth. Since they live for more than one season, you can remove dead foliage. Then, shear your plants to about 6 inches at the end of winter when the plant is at the resting face. By doing this, lemongrass will thrive well or rebound quickly. As a result, new shoots will emerge when there’s warm weather.
How to Harvest LemonGrass
To harvest lemongrass;
- Snip the green leafy portions to prepare tea as they are tough to be eaten.
- Use a hand trowel to remove stalks and roots from the clump.
- Remove the tough outer leaves and prepare the soft white stalks by freezing or chopping the whole stalk pieces for future use.
General Care For Lemon Grass
- Provide adequate water, and if the plants are in containers, water daily to keep the moisture levels up.
- Provide adequate fertilizer.
Importance of Lemon Grass
Lemongrass is a gorgeous plant to grow in your garden. If given maximum care, the plant grows well and will provide you with the following benefits.
- Prevents the growth of Bacteria and Yeast.
- It contains substances that help in relieving pain, fever, and swellings.
- Improves sugar levels and cholesterol in the blood.
- Stimulates the Uterus and menstrual floor.
- Used in various drinks
- They are used in preparing unique Cuisines.
- Contains antioxidants.
Common Pests and Diseases
Lemongrass is a beautiful plant to grow in your garden. Apart from having various benefits, it also has few problems, especially when it comes to pests and diseases. Among the pests and diseases are as follows:
Brown leaves occur due to lack of water, rotting especially if the plant is in a pool of water or lacks fertilizer. To handle this [problem, ensure that it is planted on the right site and receives enough fertilizer.
This problem occurs when it is planted in a location with high humidity or due to fungal spores.
Red Spot Leaf
This issue causes sunken lesions on the plant. To control it, maintain adequate space between plants, use fungicides, and frequent irrigation.
It causes brown spots on the leaves. To control it, apply fungicides and pruning.
This disease mainly occurs when the grass is planted indoors. To control it, conduct regular inspections and spray with homemade pests.
Toxicity of Lemongrass
It is a fast-growing ornamental grass used in preparing various dishes and has multiple health benefits. However, according to ASPCA, it can be harmful to dogs, cats, and horses. For example, if consumed, it can cause stomach upset and breathing problems in horses.
Therefore if you own pets, keep them away from these plants. You can build a playing area for them so that they cannot get in the garden.
The Final Say
Lemongrass is an excellent plant to add to your garden area with partial shade. It is a handsome waving plant in the summer and suitable for preparing different cuisines. On top of that, it will add flavor and spice to your food and help you treat various illnesses. Generally, the essential thing is following the tips mentioned above to help your herb thrive well.
As a result, you will get a bumper harvest by providing proper growth requirements such as adequate sunlight, well-drained soils, and fertilizer. Also, ensure to take care of your plant for maximum growth. At long last, you will prepare delicious food and maintain a healthy diet.