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Do Lemongrass Come Back Every Year? Is It a Perennial?

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Gardening is a popular hobby across the US, and people tend to spend a lot of their time taking care of their green friends. Some people prefer to fill their gardens with flowering plants, some prefer vegetation, whereas others prefer medicinal herbs such as lemongrass. 

You can learn more relevant information about lemongrass down below.

Does lemongrass come back every year?

Lemongrass comes back every year depending on the USDA zone you live in. Lemongrass roots in zones 8b and 9 are typically hardy, and their leaves turn brown in winter but might come back if proper care is taken. For zones 10 and above, lemongrass growth slows down, but they come back next year.

Lemongrass is a tall grassy plant that is known to grow in the mountainous regions of tropical and subtropical Asia. Lemongrass packs a lot of usage such as in aromatherapy, as an ingredient in foods and beverages as well as a fragrance in many cosmetics and deodorants.

This is why lemongrass is a popular plant among many people’s gardens. But these plants are highly sensitive to temperature, especially cold temperatures. 

Lemongrass is a very active plant, but its activity slows down and becomes dormant as the temperature drops below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

To determine whether lemongrass will come back every year after the winter, you can use the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map, which can determine which plants are most likely to grow in a location. 

In zones 10 or above, lemongrass growth and activity slow down as well as their leaves get limp.

In zones 8b or 9, it may appear that the plant has perished out as the leaves will go brown and might fall out, but their roots are hardy. 

Therefore, if the soil is covered well with a heavy layer of hay or straw mulch, or any frost blanket – the lemongrass plants might survive and come back next year.

If you wish to increase the chances of lemongrass coming back every year, it is preferable to keep them in locations that are a bit warmer, with temperatures ranging between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Will lemongrass grow back after winter?

Lemongrass is a plant that remains active during the warm climate or in tropical areas but becomes inactive and dormant during winter when the temperature drops below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Typically, in summer or in warm climates, you will notice how vigorously the leaves of lemongrass grow, but in winter that completely changes.

The local air temperature of your area and which USDA zone your state has fallen under determines whether your lemongrass will grow back after the winter. 

If you live in an area that has the USDA zone of 10 or above, your lemongrass leaves will lose their vigorous growth and liveliness but will grow back after winter.

However, if your area of residence is in USDA zone 8b or 9, the leaves will become lifeless or even worse get brown and fall off. The care you put into your lemongrass would determine whether they will come back after winter.

Do you have to replant lemongrass every year?

If you had taken proper care during the winter by either covering the soil with straw or hay mulch or, better, cover with a frost blanket – then lemongrass plants can easily survive the winter and its harsh cold temperatures. 

But the question is, do lemongrass plants perish and have to be replanted every year?

Luckily, lemongrass plants are perennial and will not usually perish unless it is exposed to very low temperatures with little to no protection. For areas that fall under the USDA zone of 10 or above, you typically will not need to make many adjustments for your lemongrass plant.

For areas that fall under USDA zones 8b or 9, you will need to make adjustments to both the plant and its surroundings such as cutting the leaves back and covering the soil with mulch, as well as relocating the plant somewhere warm. 

Frequently in these zones, the roots of the lemongrass become hardy but will come back – otherwise, they will perish and replanting will be required.

How to care for lemongrass in the winter? Do you cut back on lemongrass in winter?

There are several ways to take care of your lemongrass in the winter, whether they are indoors or outdoors. The details of the methods are laid below:

Covering lemongrass outdoors:

Since lemongrass is a plant of tropical origins, it will hardly survive the cold temperature outside during winter. If you are in zone 10 or above, they can survive the winter outside with little protection. 

If you are in zone 9, you need to cover your lemongrass with row covers or any other insulating sheet to completely cover the plant.

Pruning and cutting back:

If you are in zone 8 or below, the lemongrass will not survive the cold outside and has to be brought indoors. And to make them survive the night, you will have to prune the leaves to at least 12 inches using pruning shears. 

You can also divide them if there are more than five stalks in the plant.

Is lemongrass annual or perennial?

Lemongrass is of tropical origins and thrives in warm climates – and because of that, they can be both annual or perennial based on which temperature zone it is in. Lemongrass is drastically sensitive to cold temperatures, so they are annual in very cold areas, elsewhere they are perennial.

Plants generally have a lifecycle that falls under either of the two categories: Annual or Perennial. Lemongrass is a plant that is highly sensitive to temperature changes and therefore their lifecycle is complex and falls into either of the categories based on their location.

Plants that have an annual lifecycle are the ones that complete their full lifecycle over a single growing season by reproducing through seeds and flowers. Once their new plants start to grow, the old parent plants wither away.  

Therefore, annual plants change every year as new plants replace the old ones.

In case of plants that have a perennial life cycle their growing season is not bound by a year – instead, the parent plants survive several seasons and years even though they complete their reproductive cycle in one growing season. 

Unlike annual plants, the parent plant does not wither away after their reproductive cycle.

Lemongrass does not survive in cold areas, especially in zones 8 or below, so their leaves tend to brown and wither away, and they do not come back until the end of winter – this is similar to the behavior of an annual plant. 

Whereas in warmer areas, the temperature does not affect their growth massively even in winter – which is similar behavior to a perennial plant.

Does lemongrass grow year-round? What climate does lemongrass grow in?

As explained earlier, lemongrass plants have a different life cycle pattern based on the location they are in and the temperature of that location during winter. Lemongrass grows well in warm climates and will grow year-round, crossing several growing seasons. 

But in colder climates, their lifecycle comes to an end in winter, and they come back next year.

Lemongrass is a plant of tropical origins in Asian countries where it thrives in the warm temperatures during the summer, but also the winters aren’t too cold for the plants to wither out.

In the United States, some states such as Florida, southern Texas, southern Arizona, and southern California don’t have very low-temperature drops in the winter, thus making the lemongrass grow year-round in those parts. 

Other places where the temperature drops below 45 degrees Fahrenheit cause lemongrass to cease their life cycle and resume after winter.

How long does a lemongrass plant last?

Since lemongrass is sensitive to cold temperatures, it should not be grown during the winter or if winter is approaching soon. Lemongrass will last for years if it is allowed to grow in swampy and warm areas – USDA zones 10 or above.

Lemongrass is both annual and perennial based on the zone it is grown in, therefore they can last between one year to several years. For lemongrass to grow completely to maturation before they can be harvested, they require anywhere from 100 days to a maximum of 8 months.

Once the plant has matured, it will behave perennially in warmer areas and last for several years unless it is exposed to cold temperatures. In colder areas, you can make them last for years as well if properly insulated, or else they will last for a year till winter.

Final Thoughts

Depending on the USDA zone you reside in, lemongrass returns every year. Lemongrass roots in zones 8b and 9 are usually hardy, and their leaves turn brown in the winter, but they may come back if given sufficient care. Lemongrass growth slows in zones 10 and above, but it returns the following year.

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