Two lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) seedlings found their way into my garden last week when I bought two plants from Green Acres. During the last two decades of living here in California, this is the first time I owned a live lemongrass!
When I was growing up in the Philippines, my grandmother always had a huge specimen of this herb in our backyard. I can still remember how it grew so robustly in a seemingly shady space as it was situated between the banana plants and a dwarf jackfruit tree. Whenever my grandmother prepared fresh-water fish and shell fish, which were so common in our diet back then, I always expected she'd ask me to get some leaves of the 'baraniw' (the Ilocano term for the lemongrass) for her.
From what I can recall, the plant prefers to grow in soil rich is organic matter. My grandmother did not have to water her plant since it rained almost nine months per year in her garden. In my case, however, I will have to compensate for the dry condition of the area through watering until the plants get established.
During my growing up years, I never saw a lemongrass flower - which means that the only method of propagation for the plant I've seen so far is cloning. However, I am prepared to see the effect of the different photoperiod on this side of the globe on the flowering of lemongrass. It will be a good experience to grow this tropical plant in our Mediterranean climate.
So far, the plants have been transferred into larger pots although I intend to plant one of them in the ground soon.
The lemongrass looks nondescript but the citrusy fragrance of the plant is not common at all.