For those unfamiliar with SE Asian dishes (think Laotian, Thai, Vietnamese, and Cambodian), lemon grass may seem an unusual herb. The stalks are typically used to season soups, stir-fries, curries, and sauces, providing notes of lemon, ginger, and a bit of earthiness. If used just to season a dish, six-inch portions of the stalk are usually stripped of the dry outer leaves then crushed before adding to the cooking vessel. They are removed before serving. The more tender, white inner stalk, stripped of the outer leaves, can be chopped and added to dishes as well.
That said, lemon grass can also be used as a summer ornamental grass, growing quickly in full sun, reaching two to four feet tall and up to three feet wide. The leaves are fragrant when brushed and are said to repel insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas. Lemon grass also has a graceful profile, with long arching leaves that form a solid clump. Curious gardeners may enjoy growing this, just to see if they can, as this grass prefers hot, hot temps and high humidity.