Does Lemongrass Need Full Sun? (Answered)

Lemongrass is a herb that captivates with its lemony fragrance and versatile uses. It has become an ingredient in kitchens, gardens, and herbal medicine practices worldwide. This herb originates from tropical regions and boasts tall graceful stems that offer a wide range of flavors, scents, and beneficial properties that have fascinated people for centuries.

Regarding sunlight, lemongrass thrives best when fully exposed to rays. While it can tolerate some shade, it flourishes in environments with 6- 8 hours of sunlight daily. Direct sunshine fuels robust growth, resulting in strong stalks and an abundance of lush leaves.

Read: Do Gardenias Need Full Sun? (Answered)

Do Lemongrass Need Full Sun or Shade?

Lemongrass is a tropical plant that enjoys plenty of sunshine. Ideally, you should give your lemongrass plant at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. Because it prefers sunlight, it would be best to plant it in a location that receives full sun.

That being said, lemongrass can also tolerate partial shade. If your garden doesn’t offer the perfect sun-soaked spot, don’t worry; your lemongrass should still grow, though it might not be as robust as in full sun. When planting your lemongrass in a partially shaded area, ensure it receives sun exposure during the day.

Pay attention to your local climate, as lemongrass thrives in warmer temperatures. During colder months, protect your lemongrass plants by bringing them indoors or providing adequate insulation. If you live in an area with harsh winter conditions, consider growing lemongrass in a container to easily transport it indoors.

In conclusion, while lemongrass prefers full sun, it can still grow in partial shade with some sun exposure. Just keep an eye on the temperature to help your lemongrass thrive.

How Fast Does Lemongrass Grow?

Lemongrass is a fast-growing plant that you can easily grow in your garden or in containers. In ideal conditions, it may reach up to 5-7 feet in height and 3-4 feet in width within just one growing season. To ensure proper growth, providing your lemongrass with a suitable environment is important.

The growth rate of lemongrass largely depends on the climate and soil conditions. You can expect your lemongrass to grow faster in warmer climates (USDA zones 9-11). However, it might take a bit longer to reach its full potential in cooler climates. Planting lemongrass in rich, well-draining soil and providing ample moisture will help promote quicker growth.

To further encourage growth, you should fertilize your lemongrass plants regularly. You can use a balanced liquid fertilizer once every 3-4 weeks in the growing season. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions on the fertilizer packaging. This will provide the necessary nutrients to help your lemongrass plants thrive and grow at a faster rate.

Another factor to consider is spacing. When planting lemongrass, providing enough space between plants can significantly influence their growth rate. A recommended spacing is about 2-3 feet apart, allowing for better airflow and preventing overcrowding.

This way, your lemongrass can focus more energy on growing taller and producing the aromatic leaves and stalks you love.

How Tall Does Lemongrass Grow?

Under ideal circumstances, lemongrass can grow between 3 to 6 feet (approximately 1 to 2 meters). The height it reaches is influenced by factors like climate, care practices, and genetics. Creating an environment plays a crucial role in maximizing its growth potential. Here’s an explanation of how lemongrass can grow and what factors affect its height:


The growth of lemongrass relies heavily on the climate in which it is cultivated. It thrives best in regions with climates that maintain consistently warm temperatures. In cooler climates, its growth may be slower or more limited.

Pruning and harvesting

Regular pruning and harvesting practices also impact the height of lemongrass. Frequent removal of stalk portions, for aromatic purposes can result in reduced plant height.

However regular harvesting can promote growth from the base.

Container vs ground planting

If you decide to cultivate lemongrass in a container its growth might be somewhat limited compared to plants grown directly in the ground. The confined space within a container can have an impact on both the size and height of the plant.


It’s important to note that there can be variations in how lemongrass grows within the same species. Certain plants may naturally exhibit a compact growth pattern while others grow taller.

Can Lemongrass Grow in the Shade?

Lemongrass is quite a versatile plant, and you may be wondering if it can grow in the shade. Generally, lemongrass prefers full sun but can tolerate partial shade if necessary. Here’s what you should know if you’re considering growing lemongrass in a shadier area.

Firstly, it’s essential to understand that lemongrass requires at least six hours of sunlight daily to thrive. So, if your garden has areas with filtered sunlight or dappled shade, lemongrass can still grow reasonably well. However, if you plant it in dense shade, it may experience slowed growth, reduced essential oil content, and weaker stalks.

Secondly, ensure that your lemongrass receives adequate water. Lemongrass likes moist soil, so keep an eye on your plants during dry spells. Make sure not to overwater your lemongrass in shaded areas, as this can lead to root rot. It’s important to maintain a balance between providing enough water to support growth and preventing oversaturation of the soil.

Lastly, it’s a good idea to feed your lemongrass plants with an organic fertilizer every four to six weeks, regardless of whether they are in the sun or shade. This will help to ensure they receive the nutrients needed for optimal growth.

Can Lemongrass Grow in Indirect Light?

Lemongrass can, indeed, grow in indirect light. Although it thrives in full sun, it is possible to have a healthy lemongrass plant with some shade. Your lemongrass plant can grow well if it receives at least six hours of sunlight per day. Make sure to place your lemongrass in a bright spot where it can get plenty of indirect light.

It’s important to note that lemongrass grown in partial or indirect light might grow slower than those in full sun. This could lead to thinner stalks and fewer leaves. However, the bright side is that even with a slower growth rate, your lemongrass can still be cultivated for its fragrant leaves and stalks.

If your indoor space lacks sunlight, consider supplementing it with artificial lighting. Grow lights that simulate light are effective for supporting indoor plant growth.

You should position these lights 6 to 12 inches above the lemongrass plant to ensure that it receives enough light.


Can Lemongrass Survive if Grown in the Shade?

Although lemongrass prefers conditions, it can still survive and grow to some extent even if placed in partially shaded or filtered sunlight areas. Its growth and overall health may not be as robust as plants that receive sunlight. Several factors influence a plant’s ability to survive in environments.

Tolerance for shade

While lemongrass prefers sun, it has some shade tolerance, especially when it isn’t too dense. When we talk about shade here we are referring to reduced sunlight than complete darkness. Lemongrass can adapt when exposed to light than what would be ideal.

The intensity of the shade

Lemongrass can manage with filtered sunlight that passes through the leaves of plants or trees. However, constant exposure to shade may pose challenges for its growth.

Soil requirements

Ensuring drainage is essential for lemongrass regardless of the amount of light it receives. In shady regions, the soil may retain moisture for longer periods so it’s important to promote good drainage to avoid root rot. Shady areas naturally have water retention due to cooler temperatures.

Caring for lemongrass in shady conditions

Maintaining consistent watering is crucial for keeping the soil adequately moist when growing lemongrass in shaded areas. However, it’s important not to overwater, as shaded soil tends to retain moisture. To support growth and development, consider using a slow-release fertilizer that provides essential nutrients to compensate for any deficiencies caused by the lack of light.

Can Lemongrass Grow in Shade?

Lemongrass is a tropical plant that thrives in sunny locations. However, it can grow in partial shade as well. To ensure your lemongrass plant grows healthy, paying attention to the specific conditions it needs, even if it receives less sunlight than ideal is essential.

When growing in a shaded area, you may notice lemongrass growing slower, having fewer leaves, or having less aromatic stems. To compensate for the light deficiency, there are a few things you can do for your lemongrass plant:

  1. Choose a spot with dappled sunlight: Aim for a location that receives at least 5 to 6 hours of filtered sunlight per day. This will help your lemongrass to grow better than in full shade.
  2. Soil quality: Ensure your soil is nutrient-rich and well-draining to ensure your lemongrass can absorb the required nutrients. Add organic matter like compost or aged manure to improve soil quality.
  3. Water more frequently: Due to lower sunlight, your lemongrass may need additional attention when it comes to watering. Keep the soil consistently moist, but not waterlogged, and you’ll see improvements in growth.
  4. Regular fertilization: Providing your lemongrass with balanced, slow-release fertilizer will help it receive the necessary nutrients to grow strong and resilient, even in a shaded environment.

It’s best to move your lemongrass plant outdoors during the warmer months to expose it to more sunlight and increase its overall growth. Additionally, when growing lemongrass in containers, be sure to choose a sizable pot to accommodate root growth, which will also improve the plant’s ability to adapt to various levels of sunlight.

In summary, while lemongrass prefers full sun, it can grow in partial shade with proper care and attention. By following these tips, you can enjoy growing lemongrass even in a less-than-ideal environment.

Lemongrass and Sunlight Requirements

Lemongrass thrives in full sun and grows best when it receives a minimum of 6-8 hours of sunlight per day. Ideally, if you can provide your lemongrass plant with even longer periods of sun exposure, it will flourish and produce more essential oils that give it its distinct lemony fragrance.

Soil and water requirements also play a role in the growth of lemongrass. It prefers well-drained soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. Be sure to keep the soil consistently moist but never waterlogged. Applying a generous layer of organic mulch around the plant base will help maintain moisture levels and regulate soil temperature.

Here are some tips for growing lemongrass in different conditions:

  • In colder climates, planting lemongrass in containers and bringing it indoors during winter is best. This way, you can place it near a sunny window and continue to provide it with the sunlight it needs.
  • If you live in an area with limited sun, try planting your lemongrass in a raised bed or use a light-reflecting mulch to maximize sunlight exposure.
  • Make sure taller plants or structures don’t shade your lemongrass plant. Placing them between other sun-loving plants helps ensure they get enough light throughout the day.

In summary, providing your lemongrass plant with the appropriate amount of sunlight and proper soil and water conditions is essential for its growth and development. With this care, you can enjoy the benefits of lemongrass in your garden and culinary creations.

Factors Affecting Lemongrass Sunlight Needs

Soil Type

The type of soil in which you plant your lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) plays a vital role in determining its sunlight requirements. Ideally, lemongrass prefers well-draining soil rich in organic matter.

Good soil allows the roots to access nutrients and moisture efficiently, so the plant can tolerate sunlight better. Conversely, poor soil quality may hinder the lemongrass’s ability to handle full sun exposure.

Water Supply

Proper watering habits are also crucial in meeting your lemongrass’s sunlight needs. Ensure a consistent water supply, without overwatering, to maintain the plant’s overall health and vitality.

A well-hydrated lemongrass can withstand full sun for more extended periods. However, too much water can lead to root rot and make the plant more susceptible to damages from sunlight exposure.


The climate of your location significantly influences the sunlight requirements of lemongrass. If you live in a region with hot and intense sunlight, your lemongrass might benefit from some partial shade during peak hours.

On the other hand, if the climate in your area is cooler or experiences frequent cloud cover, your lemongrass will appreciate and likely require full sun exposure to thrive.

Lemongrass Variety

Lastly, the specific variety of lemongrass you choose to grow will also have an impact on its sunlight needs. Some lemongrass varieties can thrive in full sun, while others may prefer partial shade. It’s essential to research the specific sunlight preferences of your chosen lemongrass variety before planting to optimize its growth and potential.

By understanding these factors and tailoring your lemongrass care accordingly, you can provide the ideal sunlight conditions for a healthy, productive plant.

Other Factors Affecting Lemongrass Growth

Besides sunlight, other factors can influence the growth and health of your lemongrass. Let’s explore these factors.

Soil Quality

To ensure optimal growth, ensure your lemongrass is planted in well-draining soil. A sandy loam soil with a pH range of 6.0 to 7.0 is ideal for lemongrass. To improve soil quality, you can:

  • Add organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, to help improve drainage and provide nutrients.
  • Use a soil test kit to check the pH level of the soil. If it’s too acidic or alkaline, you can add lime or sulfur to achieve the desired pH.

Watering Frequency

Lemongrass requires consistent watering to thrive. Generally, water your lemongrass when the top one inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Here are some guidelines for watering frequency:

  • Provide your lemongrass with about 1-2 inches of water per week, depending on the weather and the plant size.
  • Water more frequently during hot and dry periods and less often during cooler or rainy weather.
  • Ensure your lemongrass plant is not sitting in standing water, which can lead to root rot.

By paying attention to these key factors and ensuring your lemongrass receives enough sunlight, you’ll be well on your way to growing healthy, robust lemongrass plants.


Potential Problems with Excessive Sunlight

While lemongrass typically thrives in full sun, there can be instances where excessive sunlight may cause some issues for your plants. Here are a few potential problems to watch out for to ensure that your lemongrass plants remain healthy and productive.

Sunburn: Just like you, lemongrass plants can also experience sunburn when exposed to excessively high levels of sunlight. This can result in yellowing or browning leaves and weakened growth. To prevent sunburn, you can try giving your plants shade during the hottest parts of the day.

Dehydration: Excessive sunlight can cause increased water evaporation from your lemongrass plants, dehydrating them. To counteract this, you might need to water your plants more frequently during periods of extreme heat or sun exposure. Keep an eye on the soil moisture to avoid overwatering or underwatering them.

Insect Pests: Some insects are more attracted to plants exposed to intense sunlight. For example, spider mites and thrips are commonly found on plants that are under stress from direct sun exposure. Regularly inspect your lemongrass plants for signs of pest infestations, and take appropriate measures to manage them if needed.

Reduced Aroma: Intense levels of sunlight can potentially affect the aromatic compounds in lemongrass plants, reducing their overall fragrance.

Although this isn’t a major issue, it can be disappointing if you’re growing lemongrass primarily for its aromatic properties. Consider providing some partial shade for your plants, especially during the hottest parts of the day, to maintain their strong aroma.

By staying aware of these potential problems and taking appropriate measures to deal with them, you can grow healthy, robust lemongrass plants that can thrive even in full sun conditions.

Strategies for Optimal Sun Exposure

Positioning in the Garden

When planting lemongrass, choose a spot in your garden that receives full sun. This means it should get at least six hours of direct sunlight daily. If your garden is partially shaded, try to choose the sunniest area for your lemongrass plants.

Remember to space your plants about 24 inches apart, giving them enough room to grow. It’s essential to ensure good air circulation, so avoid overcrowding and planting them in areas where other plants or structures might block them.

Use of Reflective Surfaces

Take advantage of reflective surfaces to maximize the sun exposure for your lemongrass. Reflective materials, like aluminum foil or even white plastic sheets, can help direct more sunlight to your plants.

Place these materials near your lemongrass plants, making sure they reflect sunlight toward them. The additional light will not only help them grow healthier, but it can also help prevent pests and diseases.

Indoor Cultivation Tips

If you grow lemongrass indoors, ensure your plants still receive ample sunlight. Place your lemongrass near a south or southwest-facing window with plenty of sun. Turning your plants every few days is a good idea to ensure all sides receive equal sunlight.

You can supplement natural light during the darker months by using grow lights. Set up a timer for the lights to mimic the usual daylight hours, and provide your lemongrass with 12 to 14 hours of light per day.

Remember to maintain a consistent watering schedule and monitor the humidity around your lemongrass plants to keep them thriving indoors. High humidity is beneficial, so consider using a humidifier or placing a tray filled with water near your plants.

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How to Grow and Care for Lemongrass?

To successfully cultivate lemongrass plants, creating a growing environment and providing proper care is important. Here are some useful tips on growing and caring for your lemongrass plant:

Planting Lemongrass

Choose a spot in your garden where the plants can receive at least six hours of direct sunlight every day. Enhance soil fertility and drainage by incorporating compost, manure, or other organic materials into the planting area. Plant lemongrass, during springtime once any frost dates have passed. The soil has warmed up.

To successfully plant a lemongrass start by digging a hole that’s larger than the rootball. Place the plant in the hole ensuring that the top of the rootball is level with the soil surface. Fill the hole with soil. Gently press it down to remove any air pockets. After planting remember to water the plant and maintain moisture in the soil without making it too wet.


To keep your lemongrass healthy it’s important to water it, especially during dry periods. Make sure to give the plant a soak so that water reaches its roots but be careful not to overwater as this can lead to root rot and other problems caused by overly wet soil. Adding a layer of mulch around the base of the plant can help retain moisture and regulate soil temperature.


Regular fertilization is beneficial for lemongrass as it promotes growth and abundant stalk production. Choose a slow-release fertilizer or an organic one specifically formulated for herbs, following the manufacturer’s instructions regarding application rates and frequency. Avoid over-fertilization as excessive nitrogen can result in foliage growth at the expense of stalk production.


Although not necessary for survival, pruning can contribute to your lemongrass plant’s appealing and compact appearance. Throughout its growing season remove any damaged leaves and stalks you come across.

During the late stages of the growing season or when the plant goes into dormancy, it is recommended to trim back the foliage of lemongrass to about 6 inches in height. This helps rejuvenate the plant in preparation for a growth cycle.


For those living in regions where lemongrass is a perennial plant (zones 10 and 11), it can be left in the ground throughout winter. However, it is advisable to dig up the lemongrass before the first frost and transfer it to a pot. Keep the lemongrass indoors in a lit area during winter and reduce watering. As spring arrives, gradually expose the plant to conditions before replanting it back into the ground.


When harvesting lemongrass, wait until its stalks reach a height of 12 inches. Use either a knife or pruning shears to cut off the stalks above their base while leaving the lower portion intact. Remove any leaves and tough layers from these stalks. The harvested lemongrass stalks can be used fresh or dried for cooking, making teas or for experiments.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the ideal growing conditions for lemongrass?

Lemongrass thrives in warm, sunny environments. Ideally, you should provide it with at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight each day. It prefers well-draining soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0. Keep the temperature above 40°F (4°C) to prevent damage to the plant.

How much water does lemongrass require?

Lemongrass needs consistent moisture but also requires well-draining soil. You should water the plant regularly to keep the soil evenly moist but avoid overwatering. Overwatering can lead to root rot. During hot weather, you may need to water your lemongrass plant more frequently to maintain its moisture requirement.

Is lemongrass suitable for indoor growth?

Yes, lemongrass can grow indoors with adequate care. Place your lemongrass plant near a sunny window to accommodate its sunlight requirements, or use artificial grow lights. Keep the temperature above 40°F (4°C), as cooler temperatures may damage the plant.

Does lemongrass grow better in sun or shade?

Lemongrass fares better in sunny conditions. Growing strong and healthy requires at least 6 to 8 hours of sun daily. While it can tolerate partial shade, it may become more susceptible to pests and diseases, and its growth might be stunted in less than ideal light conditions.

How much sunlight does lemongrass require?

Lemongrass loves sunlight and thrives best when it receives at least 6 hours of full sun daily. Providing ample sunlight benefits its growth and enhances its flavor and aroma.

Is it possible to grow lemongrass indoors?

Yes, you can grow lemongrass indoors, as long as you provide it with a sunny spot, like a south-facing windowsill. Make sure the area gets at least 6 hours of direct sunlight. You can supplement natural sunlight with indoor grow lights if it is scarce.

What is the ideal growing zone for lemongrass?

Lemongrass grows best in USDA Hardiness Zones 9 through 11. It thrives in a warm climate and well-draining soil. If you live in a cooler region, you can still grow lemongrass in containers and move them indoors during the colder months.

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About Rinkesh

A true environmentalist by heart ❤️. Founded Conserve Energy Future with the sole motto of providing helpful information related to our rapidly depleting environment. Unless you strongly believe in Elon Musk‘s idea of making Mars as another habitable planet, do remember that there really is no 'Planet B' in this whole universe.