September 16, 2015

Urban Gardening: Growing Green Onions and Lemongrass (Part 1)

For your reference, here is a list of entries under the Urban Gardening series:

As with my onions, I haven't been successful propagating these plants so far. But I've already gathered quite a number of images, so might as well make an entry on how to grow green onions and lemongrass in theory.

Day 1: Dunk 'em in water

Propagating green onions and lemongrass follow the same rule: start root growth in water. In the kitchen, save around three inches of the bottom part of the plants and immerse the root section in water.

Green onions in water

These cuttings, especially the green onions, have a rather sharp scent; best change the water everyday to keep it from stinking up the place.

A closer look at the green onions.
The longer the roots, the faster the growth.

As the cuttings are still in the rooting process, direct sunlight is not needed. However, rooting will proceed quickly if the containers are placed beside a sunny window.

Lemon grass in water.

Day 7: Green onions can be transplanted

Green onion stalks grow rather quickly, and most websites recommend keeping them in water throughout their use. Regular trimming is needed to prevent overgrowth, where you can use the trimmings in cooking and garnishing dishes. Supposedly, the stalks will just regrow indefinitely.
Green onions planted on soil.
The white stuff is controlled-release fertilizer.

I, however, opted to plant them in the soil, mainly because by the first week the root area starts to look soggy and the onion smell starts to grow stronger. So, similar to onion planting, I separated the stalks (ensuring that the root system is distributed among the stalks), dug deep, and planted them into the soil.

Day 14: Lemongrass can be transplanted

Lemongrass, on the other hand, takes more time to propagate. Around Day 7 there are some roots already growing on the cuttings, but the leaf system is still a little too short. So I waited for another week, hoping that my cuttings would grow a little more leaves.

By Day 14 I became a bit impatient and decided to transplant them into the soil. Lemongrass can supposedly grow for until five feet, so best plant them in a deep pot.

Lemongrass planted on soil.
Already looking dried out. :(

Problems encountered while growing green onions and lemongrass:

  • Green onions have soggy roots. I think this can't be helped when growing the green onions in a container, the only thing to do is change water regularly. This website seems to be attempting to grow green onions as well, and based on the pictures it seems that it might help if "clean" plant is chosen for regrow.
  • Green onions wilting when transferred to soil. I highly suspect that the pests that infect my onions are also infecting the green onions. I've read that sprinkling cinnamon powder and chili power onto the soil will deter pests; I've yet to prove or disprove that tip.
  • Lemongrass dries out. Supposedly, lemongrass should constantly be given moisture, and that the roots should never dry out. Loam soil should be used, as opposed to clay soil, and ensure that the soil has fast drainage. According to this website, it is also better to peel the dried out layers before starting propagation.

Fortunately, greens onions and lemongrass sell cheap at the supermarket. I'm currently on my second growing attempt, and should I fail, I think it's not too expensive to try again.

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