AN EFFECTIVE GUIDE TO GROW LEMON-GRASS AND ITS BENEFITS
Who doesn’t want to have refreshing, soothing and pleasurable fresh lemony aroma around their house ? As we all know nowadays people don’t have a minute to spare from their work and thus, they want to rejuvenate themselves from their tiresome daily work. This species could be something interesting to ponder on for multiple benefits.
Let’s learn about some facts on Lemon grass i.e. how they grow, what they prefer, their benefits and many more.
Lemon grass, also known as citronella, is a very popular tropical herb well known for its strong citrus flavor and lemony aroma. Due to this very reason, it is a common ingredient in Asian cooking as well as in tea and soups.
This species is preferred by most gardeners due to its multiple uses and benefits. The essential oil extracted from this plant serves as an insect repellent. Besides these, it also have multiple health benefits such as inducing sleep, relieving pain and boosting immunity; thus are preferred most.
BOTANICAL NAME: Cymbopogon spps.
TYPES OF LEMON GRASS
The two most common species of Lemon grass are
- East Indian Lemon Grass (Cymbopogon flexuosus) and
- West Indian Lemon Grass (Cymbopogon citratus).
BENEFITS OF LEMON GRASS
- Antioxidants: Various antioxidants like chlorogenic acid, isoorientin and swertiajaponin present in Lemon grass helps to scavenge free radicals in our body that can cause various kinds of diseases.
- Antimicrobials: Microbial properties of this species treat oral infections & cavities. Oil of lemon grass has found to be very effective against Streptococcus mutans i.e. the bacteria responsible for tooth decay.
- Diuretics: Lemon grass is well known diuretic that causes us urinate more getting rid of excess fluid and sodium from our body. This can be very beneficial to patients with heart and liver problems.
- Promote healthy digestion: Lemon grass can also be used to treat cramping of the stomach and various other digestion related problems. It has also been found effective in stomach ulcer patients.
- Reduce inflammation: Two main compounds of the lemon grass (Citral and Geranial) possesses anti-inflammatory properties and are found effective against many conditions including stroke.
- Anticarcinogenic: Citral and various other components of lemon grass has been found effective against cancer causing cells. This may be due to boost of immune system caused by the compounds in lemon grass helping the body to fight cancer cell on its own.
- Ornamental substitute: Appearance of this plant is almost similar to many ornamental plants and can be used as an ornamental substitute with dual benefits of health and architectural decoration.
Courtesy: Lemongrass benefits
- As it requires warmer temperature to grow, grow it in sunny area of the garden or house preferably in the spring season.
- It is a tropical plant which do best in temperature of 65-85° F.
- These are cold and frost sensitive species. Hence, should be protected from the extreme cold and frost.
- In areas of extreme cold zones, grow the plant in a pot so that it can be kept indoors during cold conditions.
- Keep the soil moist but not water logged, and in dry areas mist the plant for humidity.
- If the plant is being grown in a pot, water the plant when it is dry up to an inch below the surface.
HOW TO GROW
1. Preparation of soil
Rich well drained soil is preferred for the proper growth of the plant. Hence, add compost manure to well drained soil to enhance fertility and water holding capacity.
Wide space is required. If you want to grow in pot use wide large pot at least 12 inches across or at least a 5-gallon bucket.
2. Maintaining Temperature
If you are planning for indoor plantation, maintain temperature of at-least 65-85° F. Prevent exposure to cold and frost.
This can be done by one of the following methods:
a. From seeds
- Spring season is considered as best season for seed propagation. The seeds germinate best in warm humid condition.
- Put the seeds in the pot or plant bed within half inch.
- The seedlings may take about three weeks to emerge. Do not let the soil dry during this period. Keep it moist.
b. From cuttings (stalks)
- Easiest and most reliable method of propagation if done properly especially for colder areas.
- Get a fresh bunch of lemongrasses from local Asian market.
- Cut them from the top with a clean knife leaving only 3-4inches from the bottom. Do not cut any of the bottom part as it might hamper the growth of the roots.
- Now to root your cutting, place the cutting in a glass of water with its base submerged.
- Change the water preferably daily if not at least once in 2 days.
- The roots will start to grow in a week and within 2-3 weeks.
- Transfer it to the pot or plant bed you have prepared and keep the soil moist.
c. From divided plants
- The plant when mature grows multiple stalks from a single base (clumping nature).
- These stalks can be divided and replanted somewhere else.
- For this, separate the stalk from the clump carefully by pulling it with bare hand or use a knife if necessary.
- Be gentle, keep the roots intact.
- Plant the stalk in a well-ventilated area with adequate amount of sunlight.
A QUICK REFENCE GUIDE
- Easy to grow as it takes little to no maintenance.
- Packed with lots of wonderful health benefits.
- Extreme resistance to heat and pests.
- Adds beauty to your home or garden.
- Enjoyed in various forms like soup, sauces and tea.
- Extracted oil acts as excellent insect repellent.
- Once it starts to grow, it just keeps on growing giving you more than adequate.
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