When and how do you harvest lemongrass?

Joined Sep 5, 2008
I planted lemongrass about 5 months ago and it's doing fantastic, however it still doesn't look anything like the lemongrass I'm used to buying in the store with the white part at the bottom: my lemongrass is green and leafy, with leaves up to 3 feet tall, and getting brown and slightly woodsy (feeling hard) toward the bottom. I'm not sure, if I were to pull out one of those shoots, whether they'd be some white part at the bottom that's currently hidden in the soil?

Or maybe my lemongrass is not ready yet to be harvested?

And if/when it is, how do you do it: do you just pull on one of the shoots until the whole thing comes out of the ground?

Joined Oct 31, 2008
Why don't you just try one of those and find out if it is ok. I have never grown lemon grass but many different herbs and some are different in appearance than in a store.
Joined Jan 8, 2010

Easiest is to cut a piece of lemon grass close to the ground.

Just be careful while cutting. You most likely will end up with cuts on your hands as the leaves are very sharp (like paper cuts)

Then cut of the upper part, basically were it turns into seperate leaves.

Of the remaining part remove 2 (maybe 3) layers of the outer skin and that's about it.
Joined Jan 22, 2011
Great advice by butzy. The way yours look is exactly how it looks when grown in the Caribbean (as far as I can remember). We would use that woodsy part you mentioned, as well as part of the root to make tea. BTW, did you know that lemon grass is called "fever grass" in some parts of the Caribbean? When you have high temperatures, a hot cup of this tea works wonders.
Joined Sep 5, 2008
I didn't know that about lemongrass - thanks for the info.

I couldn't cut it without damaging the root so I ended up just pulling one of the stalks.
Joined Dec 18, 2010
Lemongrass is extremely hardy.  The only way to damage lemongrass is to dig the entire rootball out with a spade.  And even then it might try growing back.  Cut the outer stalks near the ground, as mentioned above, and beware the sharp leaves.  Pulling the outer stalks works fine too, but increases the risk of getting cut by the leaves.  As long as the center of the rootball remains mostly in the soil the plant will continue to grow and prosper.
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