Lemongrass is a sweet pungent, citrusy plant often used in Asian cooking. It is a sun-loving plant, so companion planting with lemongrass should include other plants that like to bask in plenty of heat and light. Not only is lemongrass a culinary seasoning, but it makes a soothing tea said to aid in sleep. This is an easy plant to grow with light frost tolerance in either the ground or containers. Pair it with plants that have the same growing conditions or make a fun culinary garden with flavors and textures that benefit from its unique sweet tanginess.
What to Plant with Lemongrass
Lemongrass contains citronella, a plant oil with pest repelling properties, especially mosquitoes. Using lemongrass among your patio plantings is an excellent way to enjoy your outdoors in summer without worrying about those disease transmitting insects.
Planting next to lemongrass provides a rich contrast for the golden leaves while the pungent oil helps prevent other pests. You can readily snap off the leaves and cover your skin with the natural oil to protect you and your family from dangerous mosquitoes and your plants from pests, like whiteflies.
If you are new to gardening with this plant, you may wonder what to plant with lemongrass. While many traditional companion planting schemes exist, there is little information on lemongrass companion plants. That doesn’t mean it isn’t beneficial to other species in the garden, but it hasn’t been shown to accent other plant growth.
Nonetheless, planting next to lemongrass can develop a quick pick dinner area that is easy to browse during meal preparation. Many fruits, vegetables and herbs that tend to be part of a recipe using lemongrass also flourish in the same growing conditions.
East Indian and West Indian lemongrass are the two species most commonly used in cooking. The plants need rich, loose soil with good drainage and plenty of moisture to thrive.
Lemongrass Companion Plants
Herb containers on the back porch or patio provide convenient, fresh seasoning choices just off the kitchen. Some great ways of companion planting with lemongrass are by using herbs, which appreciate full sun and well-drained soil. Possible options include:
All of these have culinary and medicinal properties and can be part of seasoning blends for many recipes. Container gardening also allows you to bring the pot indoors if a severe freeze threatens. Remember, lemongrass can get 3 to 6 feet (91 cm.-1.5 m.) tall, so use other herbs at the edges of the pots so they are not shaded by the lemongrass.
Lemongrass is grown in Guatemala, India, Paraguay, England, Sri Lanka, China, and other parts of Indochina, Africa, Central America, and South America. If possible, choose lemongrass companions from the same region such as galangal, ginger, and turmeric, which do well when planted nearby.
Traditional crops include mangos, cucumbers, fennel and onions. Be careful about intercropping, as the roots can spread out and eventually take over an area. In areas under fruit trees, like citrus, lemongrass makes an attractive ground cover, reducing weeds and keeping moisture in the soil.
It is also useful when planted with tomatoes, peppers, and tomatillos, who prefer the same growing conditions. As an added bonus, lemongrass goes well in dishes that use these fruits.
Many lemongrass companions might be edible but its lime-toned, grassy leaves make a perfect backdrop for geraniums, hardy hibiscus, and many more summer blooming plants.