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Does Lemongrass Need Full Sun? (Explained)

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More than any other abiotic factor, sunlight is a major determinant not just for the survival of plants but also of how well they thrive.

In herbs and grasses like lemongrass, sunlight is invaluable to the proper foliage development as it directly affects the color, content, and spread of leaves in the herb. Therefore, as a gardener growing lemongrass, you may wonder just how much sunlight it requires.

So, does lemongrass need full sun? To grow properly and thrive, Lemongrass needs full sun. The needle-like leaves of Lemongrass have cuticles that protect the herb from excess loss of water due to transpiration even in the presence of full sunlight. Full sun is required by Lemongrass to keep its foliage green and fresh and produce vital oils and its delightful citrus fragrance. With Lemongrass and sunlight, it is simply ‘the more, the merrier.’

Does Lemongrass Need Full Sun To Grow?

The recommended and truly ideal time to plant Lemongrass, whether by seed, cutting, or division, is in spring or summer.

Also, Lemongrass grows rapidly as a perennial in hot tropical regions but as an annual in cooler regions. Both facts stated above prove that full sunlight is necessary for the growth of Lemongrass.

For other sun-loving herbs like thyme and basil, a cooler and shady environment with partial sun is required for propagating new plants.

This adaptation is for fear of the young plants being scorched by the sun’s rays, yet that is not the case for Lemongrass.

Neither cuttings nor seeds of Lemongrass are scorched by sunlight when propagated. Rather this is the ideal condition for the growth of Lemongrass, even for young plants.

Under full sun, Lemongrass seeds germinate within 14-25 days, and with full sun daily, the herb becomes ready to harvest in 75-100 days!

For Lemongrass to properly utilize and benefit from full sun, you must meet the soil and humidity requirements. These help to balance the water content of the plant, another essential requirement for growth.

While Lemongrass does not tolerate muddy or soggy soil, it delights in moist, proper draining, and sandy soil. Lemongrass also thrives in a humid atmosphere, about 85%, to be precise.

High humidity and sufficient moisture are essential to utilize the required amount of sunlight properly.

Therefore, Lemongrass does not necessarily need a scorching sun that evaporates soil moisture and reduces humidity. Also, with extremely reduced sunlight and low temperature, Lemongrass will die in a frost. 

How Many Hours of Sunlight Does Lemongrass Need?

To grow properly and produce its aromatic foliage, Lemongrass needs a minimum of 6 hours of exposure to sunlight each day. On average, about 6 to 8 hours of sunlight daily is the standard requirement for Lemongrass to grow properly.

Note, however, that if other conditions are maintained, no amount of sunlight can ever be too much for Lemongrass. Again, that is if other conditions like moisture and nutrient are properly maintained.

Basil and oregano can easily substitute sunlight for artificial lighting indoors during the winter months. Lemongrass, on the other hand, would decline significantly in the absence of full sun.

This decline can also occur when the amount of sunlight becomes insufficient since Lemongrass welcomes no substitute.

So, even if you grow Lemongrass as an indoor herb, ensure to place it on a window-side where it can access a significant amount of sunlight daily.

Lemongrass is often moved indoors during winter when sunlight is limited to prevent it from dying back. During this period, your Lemongrass needs to catch every available ray of the limited sunlight to meet its daily requirements.

With sufficient sunlight, Lemongrass grows upward and spreads, arched in a fountain-like manner. This spread gives it aesthetic and ornamental value in your garden.

Nevertheless, if Lemongrass does not receive enough sunlight (i.e., less than 6 hours a day), the plant will grow stunted with pale yellowing leaves that have lost their appealing citrus scent.

Does Lemongrass Like Sun Or Shade?

Lemongrass cannot be sown without sunlight. They are only potted and hidden in dark places to preserve the dormant plant awaiting more favorable conditions for propagation.

Therefore, it is an obvious fact that Lemongrass largely prefers sun over shade. After all, this herb requires as much as 6 to 8 hours of sunlight every day!

This preference, however, does not mean that Lemongrass is completely intolerant of shade.

In the absence of direct sunlight where it thrives best, a sunny area with a partial shade such as a sparsely branched tree is a good alternative. Still, the shade which Lemongrass tolerates must be humid and warm.

Notwithstanding, Lemongrass will not grow as well in shade as it would under direct sunlight!

Under a shade, Lemongrass tends to grow less aromatic with greenish-yellow foliage, and the spread here is also restricted. If Lemongrass is potted, it is best to move the herb under sunlight daily, even if temporarily.

I would recommend a good siting of your Lemongrass under direct sunlight in your garden. If your intention for Lemongrass is for use in ornament indoors or on a Patio, Lemongrass will still do just fine.

All you have to do is provide a neutral soil of pH between 6.5 and 7.0 that drains properly and is nutrient-rich. Then position your Lemongrass to receive warmth from a sunny position. With these conditions, Lemongrass will also grow properly but in the direction of sunlight where available.

Conclusion

The tropical herb Lemongrass requires a high amount of sunlight daily to thrive. In the presence of enough sunlight, Lemongrass grows to an ornamental function with green, citrus-scented leaves.

Without sunlight, the herb retards its growth. As a result, Lemongrass dies off in winter and thus is an annual in temperate regions but a perennial in the tropics.

This narrow-leafed herb prefers sun over a cooler shade, so if you plan to cultivate Lemongrass, prepare a bright and spacious position where it can spread out its aromatic foliage.

Lemongrass can also tolerate shade if that is all you can afford, but it must be warm and humid.

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