Lemon grass is most commonly used in teas and curries although lemongrass oil is an effective insect and water repellant much used in manuscript preservation and restoration. The Lemongrass plant is a strong growing, clump forming grass that is found in much of the world - albeit closer to the equator than the UK. However, it will grow happily outside in a typical British summer, but must be brought inside for the winter. To this extent it is more trouble than most of the herbs for sale on this site, but nothing tastes quite like a fresh cup of lemongrass tea. So the care is worth it.
So the best strategy is to grow it in a good sized, high quality pot. Use a fairly rich, moisture retentive compost and do not harvest until the leaves are at least 40cms tall. Even then, there should be a good number of thickened stems (4-5) at the base of the plant - this is the bit you want - and you only harvest stems that are about 3/4" (1.5 cms) thick). Cut them off at ground level with a sharp knife and don't take too many from one plant, always giving it time to recover before the next harvesting.
Lemon grass grows very fast in the right conditions which are good compost, lots of water, never standing in it though and plenty of sun. If you keep it in a handsome pot, it will overwinter well in a light, frost free room or conservatory and become more productive as it grows in size. When it outgrows the pot, just divide and replant, giving bits away to friends.
Once cut, unused stalks can be kept in a plastic bag the fridge for a few days - their flavour is retained best if they are wrapped in damp kitchen towel first. The lemony taste of the stalks and leaves gets stronger the longer the plants are in the sun, so August lemon grass is much more potent than your June crop! Always advisable to add bit by bit so as not to overdo it. For a great herbal tea, chop the green leaves and infuse in boiling water, and for something a bit different you can mix them with real tea leaves and serve with a bit of lemon peel.
Lemon grass is extremely versatile and goes very well with Vietnamese Coriander, which we also sell, and you should always think of it in dishes where you use lime juice.
It is medicinal and soothing, hated by mosquitoes and is good in the treatment of colds and coughs