Where to buy fresh lemon verbena leaves?

Contents

From Tea to Tincture

The unassuming Lemon Verbena plant – have you seen it? Those long, lanceolate leaves don’t look like much, but Aloysia citrodora provides the freshest lemon scent when bruised, even better than lemon balm or lemongrass and right up there with fresh lemon. I can’t imagine my herb garden without it.

Lemon Verbena is known medicinally as a digestive herb; it helps soothe indigestion, flatulence, and colic. It is mildly astringent and creating a rinse for your mouth can help ward off candida.

What is Lemon Verbena?

The lemon verbena plant is native to South America. Also known as lemon beebrush, its scientific name is Aloysia citrodora. Verbena leaves are about 8 cm long, glossy, pointed and slightly rough to the touch. This perennial shrub has an overpowering lemon scent, especially when the flowers and leaves are touched.

The verbena plant can stand 2 to 3 meters high and has white and purple flowers. The tiny flowers appear in early summer or late spring. The plant is sensitive to cold, losing leaves at cold temperatures.

Lemon verbena leaves are used to add lemon flavor to vegetable marinades, fish and poultry dishes, salad dressings, puddings, jams, Greek yogurt, and beverages. The plant is also used to make lemon verbena tea wherein the leaves are dried and steeped.

In recent times, the medicinal use of the lemon verbena herb has gained popularity, especially since studies have revealed that it has a myriad of health benefits. Due to its many uses, the lemon verbena is marketed as an herb garden plant.

Growing Lemon Verbena

Lemon Verbena Live Plants USDA Certified Organic 2 ½ “ Pots

  • Dates back to the Victorian era when ladies used sprigs of leaves and leaves themselves as a perfume of sorts.
  • Intense Lemon Flavor and Aroma. Use in tea and desserts especially sorbet.
  • It pairs well with fish and poultry. And has been added to marinades, salad dressings and Greek yogurt

Lemon Verbena is a deciduous shrub that will lose its leaves in the fall. In its native countries – Chile and Peru, it grows by the roadside and can get up to 15 feet tall. In the USA, it grows best in zones 9 and 10 and can survive in zone 8 with protection from frost. If you plant your fragrant herb in the ground, it can reach upwards of 6 feet at maturity.

In my growing zone 8, I have never had one survive a winter outside. I usually pot up my plants and overwinter them in the garage. The bigger space you give the roots, the bigger your plant will become.

If you are going to grow this herb in a pot, plan accordingly – it is a heavy feeder and drainage is key. Lemon verbena doesn’t like soggy roots! It does benefit from pruning, which is good because pruning gives you wonderful, scented leaves to use and enjoy.

I bring my plant inside once it loses its leaves, usually October in the PNW. Sometime in April, I cut it back and bring it back outside after first frost date.

The Aloysia citrodora plant can be somewhat hard to find. I have never found it at the grocery store herb stand. It is well worth the hunt, though. Try a specialty nursery in your area.

Propagation is by stem cutting in the spring. One it begins to leaf out again you can begin making cuttings.

Using Lemon Verbena

There are so many wonderful uses for lemon verbena. I grow several plants, or I would never have enough leaves. Try these ideas:

  • Make Lemon Verbena sun tea. Cut and wash two handfuls of leaves, stuff them in a jar and set it out in the sun for several hours. Voila!
  • Thinly slice the leaves and put Lemon Verbena in a salad or with vegetables.
  • Make a hot tea – bruise or cut up 1/4 cup leaves and add 1 cup hot water, steep and enjoy. Consider adding mint for a real treat.
  • Make Lemon Verbena infused vinegar by chopping or bruising the leaves and covering them with a simple white wine vinegar for 30 day
    s.
  • Try lemon infused olive oil using the method above.
  • Make lemon flavored sugar by mixing bruised leaves into a bowl of sugar. Leave it overnight. The sugar will take on the lemon oil properties.
  • Make Lemon Verbena Lemonade
  • Make Lemon Verbena Simple Syrup

Preserving Your Lemon Verbena

The simplest way to preserve your harvest is to dry the leaves. This can be done in a food dehydrator or by hanging them upside down in a brown bag until they are crisp. It only takes a day or two, depending on the weather. Dried leaves retain their aroma for many years but are not as potent as fresh ones.

You can also make a lemon verbena sugar paste. Put two cups of leaves and 1/2 a cup of sugar in a food processor until it forms a paste. Spread it in a thin layer inside a plastic Ziploc bag and freeze it. To use: Break off what you need and sprinkle onto desserts, in tea, or on fruit. It will keep indefinitely this way.

I also like to make lemon verbena ice cubes and drop them in a glass of water on a hot day – very refreshing!

Make a Lemon Verbena Glycerine Tincture

Pure 100% food grade vegetable glycerine is soluble in water and great to use with children because there is no alcohol involved. While it has many moisturizing properties, it is also fantastic at picking up the properties of herbs, and it has a sweet taste. Just the thing if you are creating a Lemon Verbena tincture for an upset tummy.

  1. Remove the leaves from the stems and cut out any brown spots
  2. Bruise the leaves or cut them into smaller pieces and fill the jar, leaving some space for liquid to get in.
  3. Dries herbs will expand while re-hydrating, so you only want to fill your jar ½-3/4 of the way full.
  4. Mix equal parts of vegetable glycerine and distilled water, pouring over the herbs in the jar.
  5. Use a clean knife to remove any air bubbles.
  6. Place the lid on the jar and label it with the herb and date.
  7. Place the jar in a cool, dark place for about 30 days. Shake it every couple of days when you think about it.
  8. After the 30 days, strain the liquid from the herb with a small strainer. Squeeze to get as much liquid from the leaves as possible.
  9. Bottle your Lemon Verbena Glycerine Tincture and label it with the name and date. I just put mine back into canning jars.
  10. Store in a cool dark place. It will keep indefinitely.

Lemon Verbena Uses and Health Benefits

May Help with Weight Loss

The metabolic effects of lemon verbena tea may help increase the rate of fat burning by optimizing various bodily processes. There are only two calories per serving, and it can help in preventing you from snacking and compromising your diet.

Some studies show that lemon verbena may help with obesity. The researchers found out that lemon verbena extract reduced triglyceride accumulation, oxidative stress, and inflammation in animal subjects. A study concluded that the polypharmacological effects of polyphenols from lemon verbena have potential clinical applications in obesity.

Aids in Digestion

Lemon verbena tea has soothing qualities. That is why it is used in many parts of the world to relieve indigestion and other stomach issues. Lemon verbena tea has anti-spasmodic qualities, which means it can help eliminate cramping and bloating. It can also help regulate appetite and optimize metabolic processes.

Strengthens Muscles

You can use lemon verbena tea to boost physical performance. Research has shown that its high antioxidant potential reduces damage to muscles during workouts, without inhibiting muscle mass and stamina. This makes lemon verbena tea a good pre-workout companion.

Boosts Immunity

Oxidative stress, a result of free radical activity, weakens the immune system by causing cellular mutation and chronic diseases. Studies have connected lemon verbena with lower oxidative stress levels and improved health, as evidenced by an increase in white blood cells, the immune system’s first line of defense.

Can Be Used as an Essential Oil

Lemon verbena essential oil is distilled from the stalk and leaves of the lemon verbena plant. Nowadays, verbena oil is being used in aromatherapy, skincare, and massage. It can be used to treat acne, reduce eczema, soothe sore muscles, and reduce joint pain. Before using lemon verbena essential oil, make sure you follow the directions indicated on the label as it may cause skin irritation in some people.

Reduces Inflammation

Arthritis can wreak havoc on joints and mobility. As people age, their joints become more prone to this condition because of overuse and lack of time to heal properly. Lemon verbena has been shown to reduce joint pain at the same time allows for faster recovery for joint-related injuries. This is mainly due to the high levels of antioxidants of this herb.

Relieves Anxiety

The antioxidant compounds in lemon verbena can affect the hormonal balance in the body. Lemon verbena tea has been known to be a calming beverage for people with nervous afflictions or chronic stress. It can help calm your mind and body.

Final Thoughts on Growing & Using Lemon Verbena

Find a Lemon Verbena plant; it is well worth the hunt. Learning to grow and use this plant makes a wonderful and useful addition to your herb garden. Share your ideas for using this refreshing herb.

Verbena Tea Information: Learn About Growing Lemon Verbena For Tea

I love a cup of steaming, fragrant tea in the morning and prefer mine with a slice of lemon. Since I don’t always have fresh lemons on hand, I’ve taken to making tea from verbena, specifically lemon verbena. What’s lemon verbena? Only the most surprising duplicate for lemon, especially given that it’s a leaf. It really does have an authentic lemon twang, flavor and fragrance. Interested? Read on to find out about making tea from verbena, growing lemon verbena herbs for tea and other helpful verbena tea information.

Growing Verbena for Tea

Lemon verbena is a deciduous shrub that thrives in USDA zones 9-10 and can survive in zone 8 with protection. Native to Chile and Peru, the plant grows along roads where it can achieve heights of up to 15 feet (up to 5 m). While not a “true” verbena species, it is often referred as such.

Lemon verbena does best in loose, well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. The plant does not like wet roots, so excellent drainage is crucial. Verbena plants can be grown in the garden proper or in a container that is at least a foot (30 cm.) across. Grow in an area of full sun, at least 8 hours per day, for maximum flavor.

Unlike most herbs, lemon verbena is a heavy feeder and benefits greatly from fertilization. Fertilize the plant in the early spring and throughout the growing season with an organic fertilizer. Fertilize the plant every 4 weeks during its growth phase.

Lemon verbena typically loses its leaves when temps drop below 40 F. (4 C.). If you want to try to extend its life, harden the plant off by reducing watering a few weeks prior to your predicted area’s first frost. You can then bring the plant indoors before it freezes to overwinter. Or you can allow the plant to drop its leaves and then move it indoors. Prior to bringing the plant inside, prune out any spindly stems. Do not overwater dormant, leafless plants.

How to Harvest Verbena for Tea

When making tea from verbena, you may use fresh leaves, of course, but you will want to capture its lemony aroma and flavor for use during the winter months. This means drying the leaves.

When collecting leaves to make tea, select healthy leaves in the morning, just after any dew has dried; this is when the plant’s essential oils are at their peak, giving the leaves their most flavor.

Leaves can be harvested throughout the growing season, although if you are growing this plant as a perennial, quit harvesting a month or so before the first expected fall frost. This will give the plant some time to build up its reserves prior to winter.

Lemon Verbena Tea Information

Lemon verbena is said to be helpful with digestive ailments. It has been used for centuries as a fever reducer, sedative, antispasmodic and for its antimicrobial properties. There are several ways to dry herbs for use throughout the year.

One option is to cut bunches of lemon verbena, tie it together with string or twine and hang it in a warm dry place with good ventilation. Once the leaves are dry and crackly, strip them from the stems and crumble them with your hands. Store them in an airtight container out of direct sunlight.

You can also strip the fresh leaves from the stems and dry them on a screen, in the microwave or oven. When the leaves are completely dry, store them in an airtight container out of sunlight. Be sure to label and date the container. Most herbs lose their flavor after about a year.

Once the leaves have been dried, making tea from verbena is quite simple. Use either 1 tablespoon (15 ml.) of fresh herbs or 1 teaspoon (5 ml.) of dried for each cup of boiling water. Place the leaves in a tea strainer of tea pot, pour the boiling water over them, cover, and steep for 3 minutes or more, depending on how strong you like your tea. Adding mint to verbena tea steps it up a notch.

Another easy tea method to make tea is to make lemon verbena sun tea. Just snip enough leaves for a couple of handfuls and put them in a large glass jar. Fill the jar with water and allow the whole thing to sit in the sun for several hours.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article is for educational and gardening purposes only. Before using or ingesting ANY herb or plant for medicinal purposes or otherwise, please consult a physician or a medical herbalist for advice.

Lemon Verbena

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Overview

Lemon verbena, sometimes called vervain, is generally acknowledged to be the most strongly scented and intense of the lemon scented plants. The scent has moved writers to poetry and prose in an effort to describe its essence, which is both crisp and relaxing at the same time. Because of its scent, lemon verbena is used in making perfumes and toilet water, as well as a flavoring in baking, jelly and preserving. The flavor of lemon verbena has been likened to a cross between licorice and camphor, and it is widely used as an herbal flavoring to replace oregano, particularly in fish and poultry dishes. Lemon verbena was introduced to England in 1700s, and found a comfortable home there, where the deciduous bushes sometimes grow to fifteen feet in height. The plant has an incredibly strong minty-citrus scent that is quite powerful when harvested fresh, however the dried Lemon Verbena is less over-powering and more subtle. It is native to Chile and Peru, but grows quite contentedly in other places. It is used in a similar manner as many other plants with mint or camphor content.

Parts Used

Dried leaves for use in tea infusions and herbal sachets.

Typical Preparations

Tea infusions either hold or cold, and seldom found in food and capsules.

Summary

As a culinary flavoring, lemon verbena has been used as everything from ice cream flavoring to pepper substitute. The licorice and camphor content do make the volatile oils from the plant stronger than most other lemon-scented herbs, so it’s advised to use it sparingly as a flavoring.

Lemon Verbena Recipes: 35 Ways to Use Lemon Verbena

Starting in mid-spring, the guy I get most of my produce from brings in long stalks of verveine citronnelle, bushy with feather-shaped leaves, faintly sticky and powerfully fragrant. Rub one with your thumb and it will knock you over with a floral and citrusy scent that does bear resemblance to lemongrass, as the French name points out (citronnelle means lemongrass).

The most natural thing to do with the leaves is to infuse them for herbal tea, to be served hot of chilled, but I was looking for more ideas so I turned to you — via Twitter et Facebook — and the Internet for suggestions. Here’s a compendium below; I hope you find it inspiring if you come across that lovely herb yourself!

Happy pairings for lemon verbena recipes

Lemon verbena + Peach
Lemon verbena + Apricot
Lemon verbena + Raspberry
Lemon verbena + Strawberry
Lemon verbena + Rhubarb
Lemon verbena + Pear
Lemon verbena + Citrus (especially grapefruit)
Lemon verbena + Yogurt
Lemon verbena + Ginger
Lemon verbena + Fish
Lemon verbena + Chicken
Lemon verbena + Pork

Beverages with lemon verbena

~ Make herbal tea, hot or iced, with lemon verbena on its own or mixed with other herbs, such as mint or sage.

~ Prepare a simple syrup for cocktails, non-alcoholic spritzers, iced tea, or lemonade.

~ Make a liqueur.

Lemon verbena recipes for baking and desserts

~ Add it to a rhubarb tart.

~ Make sorbet or ice cream.

~ Infuse it in the cream for panna cotta and other custard-style desserts, such as crème brûlée, and pots de crème.

~ Infuse it in the whipped cream for peaches and cream.

~ Make a simple syrup to moisten a sponge cake or a rum baba, drizzle onto crêpes and yogurt, or dunk in some ladyfingers for a strawberry charlotte or tiramisu.

~ Add to strawberry jam.

~ Add to a strawberry or peach soup.

~ Make lemon verbena sugar (whizz fresh leaves with sugar in a blender) and use to make simple butter cookies.

~ Chop finely and add to a fruit salad.

~ Infuse it in ganache for filled chocolates or macarons (advanced!).

~ Include in the syrup when poaching pears or peaches.

~ Make a lemon verbena jelly with gelatin or agar agar.

Savory lemon verbena recipes

~ Add to white fish fillets cooked en papillote.

~ Make lemon verbena vinegar.

~ Insert a handful in the steamer when steaming chicken breasts.

~ Add it to a marinade for a ceviche.

~ Add it to the brine for pork chops.

~ Make lemon verbena pesto.

~ Blend the leaves into a vinaigrette.

Non-food use for lemon verbena

~ Use it to scent a DIY glass and surface cleaner !

Join the conversation!

Have you ever encountered lemon verbena? How do you like to use it? All additional suggestions are welcome!

Té de Cedrón

If you enjoy herbal teas, you will really enjoy this fragrant lemon verbena tea – té de cedrón – which can be enjoyed hot or over ice. In Mexico, people drink it as a sleep aid and to help reduce indigestion but we drink it because it has a bright delicious lemony flavor.

Our version is delicately flavored and lightly sweetened with real honey. You can also prepare it with agave nectar, stevia or sugar although it is great without any sweetener too.

In Mexico, it is common to find lemon verbena grown in pots in patio gardens. It is easy to grow and can be used to cook a wide variety of dishes in addition to preparing tea. Lemon verbena is especially good when used to add a delicate lemony fragrance to fish. Learn how to grow it here.

A few leaves are all you need to prepare your tea. You can double or triple the number if you prefer a stronger flavored tea or will be serving it iced.

Enjoy!

Pin 5 from 1 vote

Lemon Verbena Tea Recipe

Recipe to prepare a delicate, fragrant Mexican lemon verbena tea (té de cedrón) which is lightly sweetened with natural honey. Delicious served hot or iced. Course Drink Cuisine Mexican Keyword cédron, herbal tea, lemon verbena, tea Prep Time 1 minute Cook Time 15 minutes Total Time 16 minutes Servings 4 cups Calories 22kcal Author Andrés Carnalla

Ingredients

  • 3 lemon verbena leaves
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 tsp. honey or sweetener of choice optional

Instructions

  • Place the 3 lemon verbena leaves in the 4 cups of water.
  • Boil for 15 minutes.
  • Serve hot or iced with a teaspoon of honey in each glass for sweetness.

Notes

Adjusting the Flavor Our recipe makes a very delicately flavored tea. Chopping the leaves before boiling releases more flavor if you prefer a stronger tea. Preparing Iced Tea Double or triple the quantity of leaves if you are preparing iced lemon verbena tea. Sweetener Options You can use agave nectar, stevia or sugar to sweeten your tea instead of honey. It is also delicious unsweetened. Plant Names Lemon verbena is also known as lemon beebush. In Mexico, it is called cedrón.

Nutrition

Calories: 22kcal | Sodium: 5mg | Sugar: 6g

More Mexican Beverages to Enjoy

  • Mexican Hot Chocolate
  • Jamaica Water
  • Spearmint Lime Cucumber Water
  • Watermelon Water

A beautiful refreshing tea, excellent in Spring and Summer, and especially nice in Autumn. Minty, health giving, and relaxing. If you don’t have fresh Tulsi, tea bags are easily bought and some places have dried Tulsi leaves. The other day I saw dried Tulsi leaves at my Indian Grocer’s. Or failing that, using Basil will give you a lovely, relaxing tea.

Similar teas include Tulasyadi Phanta, Fennel Tea, Tulsi Khara, Green Tea, Apple Juice and Strawberry Cooler, Ginger Root and Turmeric Tea, Longan and Young Ginger Tea, and Lemon Verbena and Lavender Tea.

Browse all of our Tea recipes and our Tulsi recipes. Or take some time to explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

Tulsi, Mint and Lemon Verbena Tea

Take the leaves of any mint, a couple of sprigs of lemon verbena or lemon balm, and a long flower or a few leaves of Tulsi. Place them all in a teapot. Bring water to the boil and pour over the herbs. Allow to seep for 5 mins. Strain and serve hot, warm or cold. Sweeten if you wish with jaggery, sugar or honey.

The herbs can be reused – pour over more hot water and seep a little longer before serving.

This tea is also wonderful chilled in the fridge and served over ice. Perfect in the Summer heat.

You can add some ginger root if you fancy.

Author: Ganga108

Heat in the Kitchen, Cooking with Spirit. Temple junkie, temple builder, temple cleaner. Lover of life, people, cultures, travel. Champion of growth, change and awareness. Taker of photos. Passionate about family. Happy. View all posts by Ganga108

Quick Guide to Growing Lemon Verbena

  • Lemon verbena loves warm weather, so plant it in spring after the last frost.
  • Space lemon verbena plants 12 to 18 inches apart in an area with full sun and fertile soil with excellent drainage; container growing is a great option.
  • Boost the nutrients in your native soil by mixing in several inches of aged compost or other rich organic matter.
  • Encourage impressive leaf production by regularly feeding with a water-soluble plant food.
  • Check soil moisture regularly and water when the top 2 inches of soil are dry. Roots do not like being constantly wet.
  • If your lemon balm gets beat up by the elements or is looking tired, trim back 1/3 of it and watch it grow back twice as thick.
  • Harvest lemon verbena leaves anytime once they are large enough to use.

Soil, Planting, and Care

Plant lemon verbena in loose, well-drained soil rich in organic matter. Drainage is a key to success with this herb, which will die if roots stay constantly wet. If you’re growing lemon verbena in a container, choose one at least 12 inches in diameter to give roots room to spread and fill it with a premium potting mix such as Miracle-Gro® Potting Mix. A larger pot also insulates roots somewhat against soil temperature changes. Burying the container in the ground provides the best insulation for roots, but it’s a risky choice. If plants root into surrounding garden soil, when you remove the container in the fall, severing the roots will likely trigger leaf drop.Full sun yields best growth and the most flavorful leaves, although plants in southernmost and desert regions benefit from light afternoon shade. In Northernmost areas, siting a plant near a white wall or fence will surround the plant with reflected light, which enhances growth. If plants receive more shade than sun, stems will be spindly and sprawling and leaves will lack strong essential oil levels. Lemon verbena is a heavy feeder and, unlike many herbs, benefits from frequent fertilization. In early spring and throughout the growing season, fertilize lemon verbena with Miracle-Gro® Shake ‘n Feed® Tomato, Fruit & Vegetable Plant Food. Be sure to follow label directions.

Lemon verbena typically drops its leaves when temperatures dip below 40 degrees F, entering dormancy. It’s possible to overwinter lemon verbena outdoors in zone 8 and warmer, but it’s wise to help plants harden off. To do this, reduce watering a few weeks prior to the typical onset of below-freezing temperatures.

In northern zones, carry plants indoors before cold weather arrives, or wait until a cold snap causes the plant to drop leaves, then move it indoors. Most likely, the move from outside to inside will cause the plant to drop all its leaves. Many gardeners let the weather trigger leaf drop to avoid indoor clean-up and prevent carrying insects inside. Thin plants before bringing indoors, removing spindly stems. Save these stems to dry and scent dresser drawers and closets.

Avoid overwatering dormant (leafless) plants. This is a common way gardeners kill lemon verbena, whether it’s growing in planting beds or pots.

Lemon verbena is an aromatic herb with fragrant leaves that fill the garden with a sweet, lemony scent. Not only does the plant smell and taste delicious, but it’s beautiful in landscaping, forming a large shrub with rich, green leaves and delicate white to purple blossoms.

Given all its positive attributes, it’s no wonder that more and more gardeners are rediscovering this herb and want to learn all about growing lemon verbena!

Lemon verbena has a long medicinal and culinary history. Victorian ladies would stuff sachets with the lemony leaves for a fresh scent during the sweltering days of summer. These days, you’ll find it in tea, soaps, beverages, and desserts. Innovative cooks even use the leaves to flavor meats and fish.

Growing up, I remember the lemon verbena shrub that my grandmother grew in her garden. It was taller than me, and I used to run my hands through the leaves, releasing a burst of fragrance. Citrusy scent flew through the air, and I liked to steal a few leaves to sniff as I played in the yard.

Planting Lemon Verbena

Growing Zones

Lemon verbena is a perennial in frost-free areas like zone 9 and 10. If you live in a zone with cold winters, you can try growing lemon verbena in a container, keeping it indoors during the cold times. You can also grow it as an annual in zones 7 and below.

Sun Requirements

Lemon verbena grows best in full sunlight. Full sun gives the best growth and the most flavorful leaves, but if you live in a desert region or the southernmost states, it’s best if your plants have some light afternoon shade to protect them from the scorching sun.

If you live in northern areas, putting your plants near a fence or a white wall to help reflect light, which will enhance growth.

Too much shade will cause the stems to be sprawling and spindly, and the leaves won’t have intense oil levels.

If you’re growing lemon verbena inside, pick a place in your house that is one to two feet from a sunny window. You also can place it under full-spectrum light.

Soil Requirements

Lemon verbena prefers loose, well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. It’s essential to make sure that the plant has plenty of drainage, which is the key to success. The roots will die if they stay constantly wet.

You can add compost, sand, or peat moss to the soil to help increase drainage.

Starting Lemon Verbena

In most circumstances, gardeners start with a purchased plant or a stem tip cutting from a friend. Either way, you want to plant your lemon verbena in spring.

You can start lemon verbena from seed, but it’s not for the weak of heart. It’s a challenging plant to start, and slow to germinate and grow. It takes a long time, and most people prefer to go with a purchased plant.

If you go with the seed route, plant seeds outside after the danger of frost has passed.

If you decide to grow a cutting, moisten and put the cutting into the soil. Then, put a plastic bag over the pot, creating a mini-greenhouse environment. Then, once the plant takes root, you can switch to the plant to a container with high-quality potting soil to help renewed leaf growth.

Spacing

Pick a place roomy spot to plant your herb. Each shrub needs to be at least 12 inches apart, and the rows need to have an 18-inch gap between the plants. Lemon verbena are large plants that need space to grow. Annuals can be grown in a smaller spot.

Dig a hole a bit wider and deeper than the pot the plant is currently in and set it in the hole. Pat down firmly on the dirt and water deeply.

Growing Lemon Verbena in Containers

If you decide to make a go of growing lemon verbena in a container, pick a pot that is at least 12 inches in diameter so that the roots have room to spread out and grow.

Choose a larger pot because it insulates the roots against soil temperature changes. Some gardeners bury the container in the ground to provide more root insulation.

Use a premium potting mix to fill the pot. Amend store-bought soil with coarse sand and peat moss.

How to Care for Lemon Verbena

Taking care of lemon verbena requires a few extra steps because they are heavy feeders and prolific growers.

Watering

Remember when you’re growing lemon verbena, you need to water on an regular basis. However, you don’t want to make the roots wet all of the time. Soaking the roots in standing water will cause the plants to die. Water the plant when the top 2-3 inches of the soil has dried. In most areas, this translates to 1 inch of water per week.

Fertilizing

Lemon verbena is a heavy feeder, so it benefits from frequent fertilization, unlike other herbs. You can add some fertilizer in the early spring and throughout the growing season. Usually, a vegetable fertilizer, such as a 5-10-10 or a 10-10-10 granular fertilizer works fine.

When the plant is actively growing in a container, fertilize with an organic, water-soluble fertilizer every two weeks from spring to fall. Remember this herb feeds often!

Pruning

This herb needs regular pruning to stop a build-up of deadwood and a straggly look. Prune your growing lemon verbena regularly to accelerate new growth.

When you prune, make sure you remove any dead wood first. Spring pruning will help to contain the growth, while other prunings throughout the year help to keep the plant looking tidy. You can save the clippings to start new plants or just use them up in the kitchen.

Overwintering Lemon Verbena

When the temperatures dip below 40℉, lemon verbena drops its leaves and enters dormancy. You can overwinter this plant outdoors in USDA zones 8 and warmer, but you should harden off the plant first. To harden off, reduce watering a few weeks before the typical onset of below-freezing temperatures.

If you live in colder zones, bring the plants indoors before the cold weather arrives, or you can wait until a cold snap causes the plant to drop leaves. Avoid overwatering dormant and leafless plants. It is an easy way to kill your lemon verbena, whether they’re in your garden beds or a container.

Companion Plants for Lemon Verbena

The best companions for lemon verbena include:

  • Lemon grass
  • Alfalfa
  • Apple
  • Apricot
  • Bee balm

Common Pests and Diseases

One problem with lemon verbena is that it can be a host of dozens of pests. Depending on where you live, the pests and diseases can vary. Here are a few of the common ones.

Leafminers

If you notice a small black or grey fly with a yellow stripe and transparent wings, you have leafminers. Leafminers lay their eggs on the underside of the leaves where they feed on the leaf tissue. You’ll often notice the maze-like tunnels they chew through leaves, first.

Try introducing beneficial predator insects such as ladybugs to your garden to take on the leafminers. Also, be sure to use proper plant care techniques and remove infected leaves to stop the infestation.

Mites

Spider mites are red, yellow, or green pests that size of a pinhead that causes webbing on the leaves. Their size makes them a bit tricky to spot!

Large infestations of mites can cause yellow, withered leaves that drop prematurely. Using insecticidal soaps and oils helps to get rid of spider mites.

Aphids

Aphids are tiny, soft-bodied insects that cover the buds and underside of the leaves. The problem is aphids is that they suck the plant’s fluid by piercing stems and leaves with their mouths.

A small infestation of aphids doesn’t pose a huge problem, but a more extensive infestation can stunt growth and encourage powdery mildew growth.

Treat aphids by blasting them off of the plant with water and apply insecticidal soap. Beneficial predator insects also help to feed on the aphids.

Scale

If you notice tiny, brown bumps on the leaves that seem to move, you have a scale infestation. Scale is a parasitic insect that feeds on the sap of the plant, leading to defoliation and branch dieback. You can treat the plant with insecticidal soap or horticultural oil.

Harvesting and Storing Lemon Verbena

The great thing about harvesting lemon verbena is that you can do it as often as you want throughout the growing season. Each time you cut a new stem, new growth will emergy at the whorl of leaves under the cut. The growth pattern means that frequent cutting is necessary to stop the stems from becoming too leggy.

You can make a large cutting by removing half of the plant off. If your plant is a bit out of hand, removing more keeps the plant contained.

To store your lemon verbena, dry the leaves individually on screens or bundle the stems together and hang upside down in a dark, dry location. Then, save the dried leaves in sealed containers in a dark place. When you’re ready, crumble the leaves up before using.

Another choice is to freeze lemon verbena, whole or chopped, in ice cube trays filled with water. Try blending the chopped leaves with softened butter and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a unique butter flavor.

Cooking with Lemon Verbena

Many people don’t realize how versatile lemon verbena is in the kitchen. At the end of the growing season, take any unused leaves and put them into grapeseed oil. Blend the mix in a blender and let it sit for a few hours. Then, mash and strain the solids. Use the lemon verbena-infused oil in salad dressings, or pour it over veggies.

Lemon verbena makes a dreamy ice cream, tastes great in shortbread, lends itself nicely to custard, and makes pesto shine. Try it as a garnish in your favorite cocktail or use it to add zing to chicken.

Of course, you can always go with the classic: tea. Lemon verbena has been used historically as a tea to reduce indigestion and increase appetite. Whether it works or not, it tastes great. Try it mixed with mint for a special summer iced tea.

The Bottom Line on Lemon Verbena

Lemon verbena is a sizable herb that makes a statement in your landscaping. It’s aromatic, so you want to place it somewhere that people will see and smell it. You can’t fully appreciate lemon verbena without a frequent whiff of its lovely scent. Whether you add it to your tea or meat seasoning, it’s a versatile herb that everyone loves.

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