San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Gardening at a Glance: Lemon Grass

Zacate delimónCymbopogoncitratesPOACEAEGeo-distribution:Originallyfrom India,lemon grass isnow cultivatedin all tropicalregions of theworld. It growswell in CostaRica.Botanical description: This is a grass likeplant, which grows one meter highand has light green leaves. The leaveshave a lemon aroma.Medicinal Uses: Lemon grass is a popularfolklore medicine used for thetreatment of colds and flu, gastrointestinaldisorders, nervous conditions, painand inflammation.Preparation: An infusion is made fromthe leaves by steeping a handful ofleaves in one liter of water. Localcampesinos often boil the lower part ofthe stem and root for a stronger decoction.Takes 1-3 cups per day.Notes: Lemon grass is another easytropical medicinal plant to grow in thehome garden. Each clump of lemongrass can be divided into many newplants for propagation. Cut back thelong leaves and plant the new plants inplastic nursery bags with potting soil.Keep in the greenhouse until the plantshave rooted and produce new growth.They can be grown in large pots orplanted directly in the garden. Lemongrass does well in sunny locations withaverage soil, however, the growth andyield of these plants can be increasedwith applications of aged compost.For more on tropical medicinal herbsand tropical gardening, contact us or

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