Count Your Blessings!

With love and passion, everyone can have a nice garden...Elaine Yim

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Count The Garden By The Flowers, Never By The Leaves That Fall.
Count Your Life With Smiles And Not The Tears That Roll.
..... Author unknown.

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Malaysian Flora USDA Zone 11
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Monday, July 20, 2009

Lemon Grass

Scientific name: Cymbopogon citratus
Common name: Serai
Family: Poaceae 
Native Plant of India

The lemon grass plant grown in many parts of South East Asia. Here, we call it the serai plant in malay.

Lemon grass is widely used in many Asian dishes, particulary Thai, Malaysian and Vietnamese cuisine. We cut away the top leafy portion and use only the lower section of the stem for cooking. It has a lemon scent and somewhat citrus-ginger taste. We use it to cook curry, tom yam soup, spicy seafood and even when we fry chicken. We can find this plant in almost every home, especialy in the countryside. Even if we don't grow lemon grass at home, we can easily buy it from the markets.

When growing the lemon grass plant, it is better not to plant it directly on to the soil but to put the stems in a container of water and let it stand for a few days until roots start to form.

After the outer dried leaves are removed, it will reveal some new shoots. Now, it is time to plant it in soil in a container or on the ground. It is very very easy to plant and there is hardly any problem with pests. I guess pests don't like the lemongrass smell. When the leaves gets too bushy, it should be trimmed down for a neater look.

The many uses of lemongrass:
  • teas, soups, curries
  • a species of lemongrass i.e. citronella grass is used to make citronella oil which is used as soap, insect repellent and in aromatherapy
  • lemongrass oil has antifungal properties
  • medicinal herb to cure cough and colds in ancient Indian ayurvedic treatments
  • research has shown that it has anti-cancer properties
Because of this anti-cancer findings/news, there are many health enthusiasts who would DIY and take the homemade lemon grass drinks. Here, lemongass is finely chopped and steeped in a pot of hot water for an hour before drinking it. Some like to drink it chilled. I'm tempted to try this too. I really love the scent of lemon grass leaves. I'm thinking of making a potpourri using the leaves and chopping the lower part to make the health drink. After drinking lemon grass potion, I'll try to have a good night's sleep with lemon grass potpourri under my pillow. Perhaps I'll report the findings in another post.


  1. Belle.. you may want to add this, " Visit any market in Malaysia, ask for Serai and the seller will show you lemongrass..." .. haha..

    We planted 4 of these not in pots like you did, but on the ground. Just to make them look neater and less bushy, Kakdah from time to time will hold the leaves together and cut back some 6 inches. Some sort of pruning .... Lemongrass is a must among Malaysian I guess.

    Have a good Monday!!
    ~ bangchik

  2. I agree with Bangchik. Lemongrass is a must in Malaysia. Although my cooking do not require lemongrass everyday but sometimes I do need them ;-) Autumnbelle, tqvm for showing how to plant them properly. Happy Monday!

  3. I dont use lemongrass in my cooking but I love lemongrass oil added to the bucket of water used to clean my floors at home. Lovely scent and it keeps flies away.

  4. Somehow, I had problems growing lemon grass. A bit luckier now as there's a small clump thriving now.
    Thanks for the tips.

  5. Bangchik, Stephanie, Sunita, Sunshine girl. Thank you very much for the wise words, ideas and nice comments.

  6. It's been my experience with lemon grass tea is a diuretic so I drink it in the morning or during the day. My lemon grass spends most of its time in a pot, but likes the short time it gets to be outdoors in the garden. It's one of my favorite herbs!

  7. Hi Autumn Belle Thank you for visiting my blog. What an interesting blog you have I have just been looking around. It is so nice to share with people living in different countries and seeing the plants they grow.

  8. What a delight! I didn't know this and you enlightened me to the world of Asia. Thanks for sharing.

  9. I have enjoyed reading some of your posts. Welcome to our blogging community. Thanks for reading my post this morning...come again. I'll be back to read more.

  10. A friend of mine , introduced me to lemongrass tea. YUMMY!
    Good post, all about it.

  11. A perfect post. How to grow a plant and eat it. Mmmm.

  12. Becky, Joanne, Daisy, Balisha, Rosey Pollen & Bradzio. Thank you very much for visiting my blog and for your nice comments.

  13. Hi Autumn, thanks for the tips on lemon grass. Does it smell as good as the lotions and products? I wonder how well it would do in Illinois garden.

  14. Hi, Roses and Lilacs. I guess they do. I love the fragrance of lemongrass. As for the plant, the stems and even the leaves are fragrant.

  15. I'm going to try and root some lemongrass this week, thank you!

  16. Dilley, good luck in your venture.

  17. Hi Autumn Belle,

    I am looking for potted citronella plants. Do you know where I can get them in KL or PJ? Please do get back to me soon?


  18. If by citronella you are referring to lemongrass, you can try asking any local nursery nearby if they have them. Actually it is very easy to grow. You just need to buy some lemongrass stalks from the market and try to root them in a pot of water. Good luck!

  19. I tried to grow lemongrass during the wet season then they all drowned and died. I have no land, only pots in an apartment. Any advice on the most ideal conditions for growing lemongrass in a pot?

    1. The soil should be well-draining and not water-logged. During rainy season, you need not water it everyday. Check the soil before watering.


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