How to Grow Lemongrass Indoors


How to Grow Lemongrass Indoors
Home » Fertilizer » How to Grow Lemongrass Indoors

Growing lemongrass indoors is a fantastic way to have fresh herbs at your fingertips. This comprehensive guide will walk you through detailed steps to cultivate this aromatic plant inside your home. Lemongrass is not only easy to grow but also a delightful addition to many dishes. Follow these instructions to enjoy fresh lemongrass all year round.

Why Grow Lemongrass Indoors?

Lemongrass is a versatile herb used in various cuisines and for its medicinal properties. Growing it indoors offers several benefits:

  • Freshness: Always have fresh lemongrass available.
  • Convenience: No need to go to the store.
  • Aesthetics: Adds a green touch to your home decor.
  • Health: Beneficial for digestion and has a calming aroma.
  • Year-Round Supply: Indoor cultivation ensures you have access to lemongrass regardless of the season.
  • Control Over Growing Conditions: Indoor gardening allows you to control light, water, and temperature, ensuring optimal growth.

Getting Started

What You Need

Before you start, gather the following materials:

  • Lemongrass stalks: Available at grocery stores or nurseries.
  • Potting soil: Well-draining and nutrient-rich.
  • Containers: Pots with good drainage holes.
  • Water: Fresh and clean.
  • Fertilizer: Balanced, water-soluble type.
  • Spray bottle: For misting the plants.
  • Pebbles or small rocks: To improve drainage.
  • Scissors or pruners: For trimming the plants.
  • Grow lights: If natural light is insufficient.

Choosing the Right Stalks

Select fresh, green lemongrass stalks with a firm base. The base should be about 1-2 inches thick. Avoid stalks that are brown or dried out. Look for stalks with some roots attached, as they will root more easily. If purchasing from a store, try to get stalks with the bulbous base intact, as this is where new roots will sprout.

Planting Lemongrass

Rooting the Stalks

  1. Trim the Tops: Cut off the tops of the stalks, leaving about 6 inches from the base. This helps concentrate the plant’s energy on root development.
  2. Place in Water: Submerge the bottom inch of the stalks in water. Use a clear glass so you can monitor root growth. Place the glass in a warm, sunny spot.
  3. Change Water: Refresh the water every few days to prevent stagnation and to keep it clean. This also ensures oxygen supply to the developing roots.
  4. Wait for Roots: In about two weeks, roots will start to develop. Look for roots that are about 2 inches long before transplanting. Longer roots indicate that the plant is ready for soil.

Transplanting to Soil

  1. Prepare the Pot: Fill your container with potting soil. Place a layer of pebbles or small rocks at the bottom to improve drainage. This prevents waterlogging and root rot.
  2. Plant the Stalks: Place the rooted stalks about 2 inches deep into the soil. Space them about 3 inches apart if planting multiple stalks. Gently press the soil around the base to stabilize the stalks.
  3. Water Generously: Ensure the soil is thoroughly moist. Water until it drains from the bottom of the pot. This helps settle the soil around the roots and provides initial hydration.

Caring for Indoor Lemongrass

Light Requirements

Lemongrass thrives in bright, indirect sunlight. Place your pots near a sunny window. Aim for at least 6-8 hours of light daily. If natural light is insufficient, consider using a grow light to supplement. Position the grow light about 6-12 inches above the plants and leave it on for 12-14 hours a day during the growing season.


Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Water when the top inch of soil feels dry. Be cautious of overwatering, as it can lead to root rot. Mist the leaves occasionally to maintain humidity. In winter, reduce watering slightly as plant growth slows. Use room temperature water to avoid shocking the roots.


Feed your lemongrass with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every 4-6 weeks. This will promote healthy growth and vibrant leaves. Use half the recommended strength to avoid over-fertilizing. Organic options like compost tea or fish emulsion are also beneficial. Apply fertilizer after watering to prevent root burn.

Temperature and Humidity

Lemongrass prefers warm temperatures, ideally between 70-85°F (21-29°C). Avoid placing it in drafts or near heating vents. Maintain high humidity by misting the plant regularly or using a humidity tray. A humidifier can also help maintain optimal humidity levels. In dry climates, place the pot on a tray filled with pebbles and water to increase humidity.


Regularly trim the leaves to encourage bushier growth. Harvest the outer stalks first, leaving the inner ones to mature. Pruning also helps prevent the plant from becoming too leggy. Trim any yellow or brown leaves to keep the plant healthy. Use sharp scissors or pruners to make clean cuts and avoid damaging the plant.


As lemongrass grows, it may outgrow its pot. Repotting every 1-2 years ensures it has enough space for root development. Choose a pot that is 2-3 inches larger in diameter than the current one. Gently remove the plant from its pot, shaking off excess soil. Replant it in fresh potting soil, ensuring the roots are covered but the base is just above the soil line.

Troubleshooting Common Problems

Yellowing Leaves

  • Cause: Overwatering or poor drainage.
  • Solution: Allow the soil to dry out slightly and ensure proper drainage. Check for blocked drainage holes and remove any excess water from the saucer.

Slow Growth

  • Cause: Insufficient light or nutrients.
  • Solution: Move to a sunnier spot and fertilize appropriately. Consider supplementing with a grow light if natural light is inadequate. Ensure the plant is not root-bound and has enough space to grow.


  • Cause: Indoor environments can attract pests like spider mites, aphids, and mealybugs.
  • Solution: Wipe the leaves with a damp cloth and use insecticidal soap if necessary. Regularly inspect your plants for signs of pests and treat promptly. Isolate affected plants to prevent the spread of pests.


  • Cause: Underwatering or root issues.
  • Solution: Check soil moisture levels and adjust watering schedule. Ensure roots are healthy and not bound. Repot if necessary to give the roots more space. Inspect for signs of root rot and trim any damaged roots.

Leggy Growth

  • Cause: Insufficient light.
  • Solution: Provide more light or move the plant to a sunnier location. Prune leggy stems to encourage bushier growth. Rotate the pot regularly to ensure even light distribution.

Browning Tips

  • Cause: Low humidity or over-fertilization.
  • Solution: Increase humidity by misting the leaves or using a humidity tray. Cut back on fertilization if necessary. Ensure the plant is not exposed to drafts or temperature fluctuations.

Harvesting Lemongrass

When the stalks reach 12-18 inches in height, they are ready to harvest. Cut the stalks close to the base. Use fresh in your recipes or dry for later use. Harvesting regularly encourages new growth and prevents the plant from becoming too woody.

How to Use Harvested Lemongrass

  • Culinary Uses: Add to soups, teas, curries, and marinades for a citrusy flavor. Use both the tender white base and the tougher green tops.
  • Medicinal Uses: Brew into tea for digestive benefits or use in aromatherapy for its calming effects. Lemongrass tea is also known for its antibacterial and antifungal properties.
  • Storage: Fresh lemongrass can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Alternatively, freeze chopped lemongrass in airtight containers for longer storage. Dried lemongrass can be stored in an airtight container for several months.

Propagating Lemongrass

If you want to expand your indoor garden, propagating lemongrass is straightforward:

  1. Harvest Healthy Stalks: Choose mature stalks with a healthy base.
  2. Root in Water: Follow the same rooting process as initially described.
  3. Transplant and Care: Once roots develop, transplant them into soil and care for them as you would for established plants.

Indoor Lemongrass Recipes

Lemongrass Tea


  • 2 stalks of fresh lemongrass
  • 4 cups of water
  • Honey or sugar to taste


  1. Prepare Lemongrass: Cut the stalks into 1-inch pieces and bruise them slightly to release the oils.
  2. Boil Water: Bring water to a boil in a pot.
  3. Add Lemongrass: Add the lemongrass pieces to the boiling water and reduce heat.
  4. Simmer: Let it simmer for about 10 minutes.
  5. Strain and Serve: Strain the tea into cups and sweeten with honey or sugar if desired.

Lemongrass Chicken


  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 3 stalks of lemongrass
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of ginger
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil


  1. Marinate Chicken: Mix minced lemongrass, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, and oil in a bowl. Add chicken and coat well. Marinate for at least 1 hour.
  2. Cook Chicken: Heat a pan over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken for about 6-7 minutes on each side or until fully cooked.
  3. Serve: Slice and serve over rice or salad.

Lemongrass Coconut Soup


  • 2 stalks of lemongrass
  • 4 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 cup of mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup of cooked chicken, shredded
  • Fresh cilantro for garnish


  1. Prepare Lemongrass: Cut the lemongrass into 2-inch pieces and bruise them to release the oils.
  2. Simmer Broth: In a pot, bring the chicken broth to a simmer and add the lemongrass.
  3. Add Ingredients: Add the coconut milk, fish sauce, lime juice, and sugar. Stir well.
  4. Cook Vegetables and Chicken: Add the mushrooms and chicken, and let it simmer for another 10 minutes.
  5. Serve: Remove the lemongrass pieces and ladle the soup into bowls. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

Health Benefits of Lemongrass

Lemongrass is not just a culinary herb; it has numerous health benefits as well:

Digestive Health

  • Improves Digestion: Lemongrass tea can help in easing digestive issues like bloating and constipation.
  • Detoxifies the Body: Acts as a natural diuretic, promoting kidney health by flushing out toxins.

Anti-inflammatory and Antioxidant Properties

  • Reduces Inflammation: Contains compounds that help reduce inflammation in the body, which is beneficial for conditions like arthritis.
  • Rich in Antioxidants: Helps combat free radicals, reducing the risk of chronic diseases.

Immune System Boost

  • Fights Infections: The antibacterial and antifungal properties of lemongrass make it effective in fighting infections.
  • Boosts Immunity: Regular consumption can help strengthen the immune system.

Mental Health

  • Reduces Anxiety: The calming aroma of lemongrass can help reduce anxiety and stress.
  • Improves Sleep: Lemongrass tea before bed can promote better sleep quality.

Environmental Benefits of Growing Indoors

Growing plants indoors has several environmental benefits:

Air Purification

  • Improves Air Quality: Indoor plants like lemongrass can help filter and purify the air, removing toxins and improving overall air quality.
  • Increases Oxygen Levels: During photosynthesis, plants release oxygen, contributing to a healthier indoor environment.

Sustainable Gardening

  • Reduces Carbon Footprint: Growing your own herbs reduces the need for store-bought products, which often come with packaging and transportation carbon costs.
  • Promotes Sustainable Living: Encourages a more sustainable lifestyle by producing your own food.

Enhancing Your Indoor Garden

Companion Planting

  • Basil: Complements lemongrass well and shares similar light and water requirements.
  • Mint: Can be grown in a separate pot to prevent spreading but thrives in similar conditions.
  • Cilantro: Another great herb that grows well indoors and can be used alongside lemongrass in many dishes.

Aesthetic Arrangements

  • Decorative Pots: Use decorative pots to enhance the aesthetic appeal of your indoor garden.
  • Plant Stands: Elevate your plants using stands to create a tiered look.
  • Hanging Planters: Utilize vertical space by growing lemongrass in hanging planters.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I grow lemongrass indoors all year round?

Yes, with proper care, lemongrass can thrive indoors year-round. Ensure it gets sufficient light and maintain warm temperatures and humidity levels.

How often should I water indoor lemongrass?

Water lemongrass when the top inch of soil feels dry. Consistently moist soil is ideal, but avoid waterlogging.

What type of soil is best for growing lemongrass indoors?

Use well-draining, nutrient-rich potting soil. Adding perlite or sand can improve drainage.

How can I increase humidity for my indoor lemongrass?

Mist the leaves regularly, use a humidity tray, or place a humidifier nearby.

Can I use lemongrass grown indoors for cooking?

Absolutely! Indoor-grown lemongrass is perfect for culinary uses and will be just as flavorful as store-bought.

How long does it take for lemongrass to root in water?

Typically, it takes about two weeks for lemongrass stalks to develop roots in water.

Can I propagate lemongrass from seeds?

While possible, propagating lemongrass from stalks is much easier and quicker than starting from seeds.

What pests should I watch out for?

Common indoor plant pests include spider mites, aphids, and mealybugs. Regular inspection and treatment can keep pests at bay.

How can I ensure my lemongrass gets enough light indoors?

Place the plant near a sunny window or use grow lights to supplement natural light. Ensure it gets at least 6-8 hours of light daily.

Is lemongrass toxic to pets?

Lemongrass can be toxic to pets if ingested in large amounts. Keep it out of reach of pets to prevent any issues.


Growing lemongrass indoors is a rewarding and easy way to enhance your culinary creations. With the right care, you can enjoy fresh, aromatic lemongrass throughout the year. Follow these comprehensive steps, and you’ll have a thriving indoor herb garden in no time. Happy planting!

Leave a Comment