Aromatic Crops - Lemongrass Cultivation Practices

Lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexuosus)
Graminae

Varieties 
OD-19, OD-408, RRL-39, Pragathi, Praman, CKP-25, Krishna and Cauvery are popularly cultivated.

Soil and climate 
Sandy loam with abundant organic matter with a pH of 6.0 is found suitable.  It comes up well under tropical and sub-tropical conditions with a high rainfall (200 - 250 cm) and humidity. It performs better upto 1500m above mean sea level.

Seeds and planting 
It can be propagated by slips. About 55,600 slips can be planted in a  at a spacing of 60 x 30 cm in ridges. Also 60 X 45 cm spacing can also be planted to adopt 37,000 slips/ha.  It can also be propagated through seeds at 4 kg/ha. Seedlings are to be raised and transplanted during June – July or October – November.

Manuring 
Apply FYM or compost at 20 - 25 t/ha as basal. Apply 50 kg N/ha annually, half at planting and half one month after planting. From the second year onwards, first dose of fertilizer should be applied after cutting and again one month after the first dose.

Irrigation 
Life irrigation on third day and further irrigation at 7 - 15 days interval.

Aftercultivation 
Hand hoeing and weeding are done as and when required.

Plant protection
Pests and diseases 

In general, pests and diseases may not affect the plant. If there is any sucking pest spray Methyl demeton 25 EC or Dimethoate 30 EC 1 ml/lit. For caterpillars spray Phosalone 35 EC or Monocrotophos 36 EC 2 ml/lit.

Harvest 
Harvest the leaves first at 90 days after planting and thereafter 75 - 90 days interval.  Cut the bush by leaving 10 - 15 cm above the ground level. Oil is extracted either by water or steam distillation method. Oil recovery 0.2 - 0.3 %.

Yield    
Herbage                           :          20 - 30 t/ha
Oil: First year                   :          25 kg/ha
Second year onwards       :          80 - 100 kg/ha