Lemongrass Pruning: How To Cut Back Lemongrass Plants

Pruning Of A Lemongrass Plant
prune lemongrass
(Image credit: olovedog)

Popular in Asian cuisine, lemongrass is a very low maintenance plant that can be grown outdoors in USDA zone 9 and above, and in an indoor/outdoor container in colder zones. It’s fast growing though, and can get a little unruly if not pruned back regularly. Keep reading to learn more about how to cut back lemongrass.

How to Cut Back Lemongrass Plants

If given plenty of sun, water, and fertilizer, lemongrass can grow to as big as 6 feet (1.8 m.) high and 4 feet (1.2 m.) wide. Pruning lemongrass plants is a good idea for keeping them a manageable size as well as encouraging new growth. Cutting lemongrass stalks for cooking will keep the plant somewhat in check, but lemongrass grows so quickly that extra pruning is often necessary. The best time for trimming lemongrass is early spring, when the plant is still dormant. If your lemongrass has been left untended for a while, it has probably accumulated some dead material. The first thing to do is get rid of that. Rake away anything that’s unattached underneath, then pull out any dead stalks that are still in the ground. These are probably mostly around the outside of the plant. Once all that remains of your plant is green, you can cut down the tops of the stalks to make it a more manageable size. Lemongrass is very forgiving and can be cut back quite drastically. Cut it down to as little as 3 feet (.9 m.) high and prune it regularly to keep it that size if you so desire.

Pruning Lemongrass in Colder Climates

If you live in a colder climate, your lemongrass may go dormant over the winter, with all of its leaves turning brown. If this is the case, wait until early spring for lemongrass pruning and cut all the leaves away, right down to the tender white part of the stalk. This may look extreme when you do it, but before long, fresh growth should come in to replace all that lost material.

Liz Baessler
Senior Editor

The only child of a horticulturist and an English teacher, Liz Baessler was destined to become a gardening editor. She has been with Gardening Know how since 2015, and a Senior Editor since 2020. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University and an MA in English from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. After years of gardening in containers and community garden plots, she finally has a backyard of her own, which she is systematically filling with vegetables and flowers.