Lemon Grass, East Indian
An aromatic perennial grass from southern India used as a source of lemongrass oil for flavoring and perfumery. Contains the essential oils citral, geraniol, geranial, and other delicate oils which lend a lemony-citrus fragrance. Usually grown as an annual, it forms large vigorous clumps which can be cut back to 3", then divided and brought indoors to over-winter. The long arching leaves are fibrous with a stiff mid-rib and coarse edges. Harvest the outer leaves as soon as the plant is growing vigorously. Also cut and freeze for late winter use. Culinary: Use it to make a citrus-like lemonade or tea, or use it in soups with poultry, fish and sea food, or as a late ingredient in vegetable and tofu stir-fry. Perfumery: Use in potpourris. (Cymbopogon flexuosus)
Medicinal: Tea made from the leaves has antifungal, and anti-inflammatory action. Used by the Vietnamese to treat rheumatism. Topically applied as a poultice for fungus infections such as athlete's foot.
Growing instructions: Perennial in zones 10-11 or an annual in zones 4-9. Germination at 70-85°F in 10-14 days. A light-dependent germinator. Transplant in spring. Full sun. Grows 18-24" tall. Space 18-24" apart. Extra care: Sow seeds indoors on soil surface and keep moist, but not soggy. Do not over-water. Transplant to cells or small pots, then to garden in late spring when seedlings are at least 3" tall. First harvest is approximately 75 to 90 days after maturity.
Packet: 0.07 g - approximately 221 seeds