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.Check soil moisture regularly and water when the top 2 inches of soil are dry.A larger pot also insulates roots somewhat against soil temperature changes.If plants root into surrounding garden soil, when you remove the container in the fall, severing the roots will likely trigger leaf drop.In early spring and throughout the growing season, fertilize lemon verbena with Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics® Edibles Plant Nutrition.Most likely, the move from outside to inside will cause the plant to drop all its leaves. .
How to Grow Lemon Verbena, Growing Lemon Verbena
Fortunately, regular trimming also gives you plenty of citrusy leaves for use in beverages and dishes.The easiest way to grow lemon verbena is to start with a small plant. .
Lemon Verbena Grow Guide
High quality organic potting soil.Lemon verbena is a tender perennial; its roots should not be allowed to freeze.Sow and Plant.Start with a purchased plant, or obtain a stem tip cutting from a friend and root it in late spring.Lemon verbena is typically grown as a specimen plant in a container at least 12in (30 cm) in diameter.Lemon verbena is the most "lemony" of all lemon foliage herbs.Dry perfect leaves in small bunches, and store them in airtight containers. .
How to Grow Lemon Verbena
Common Name Lemon verbena, lemon beebrush, vervain Botanical Name Aloysia citriodora Family Verbenaceae Plant Type Tender perennial in frost-free zones Mature Size 6 ft. where hardy Sun Exposure Full sun Soil Type Rich and moist Soil pH Slightly acidic (6.1 to 7.0) Bloom Time Late summer Hardiness Zones 8-11 (USDA) Native Area South America, especially Chile and Peru Toxicity Mildly toxic to cats, dogs, and horses.The fragrance and size of lemon verbena plants make them a valuable addition to the back of the sunny herb border.A site with full sun, rich and well-drained soil, and regular moisture will quickly grow for the harvest.Situate your lemon verbena plants where a neighboring tree or building won't overshadow them.Plants that grow indoors as houseplants may need supplemental artificial lighting to prevent lanky growth and leaf drop.A lack of water leads to plant stress, leaf drop, and insect pest infestation.When the top 2 inches of soil are dry, then water and aim for a moisture level that resembles a wrung-out sponge.In its native South America, lemon verbena plants grow in a sunny, frost-free climate.Unlike other herbs, lemon verbena appreciates a regular fertilizing schedule to keep it lush and vigorous.When it comes to lemon-scented herbs, lemon verbena has the most intense oil concentration per square inch of plant material.Add loose potting soil enriched with time-release fertilizer, leaf mold, or composted manure to ensure a healthy start.Keep the container in full sun, water daily, offer a general fertilizer every few months, and if the pot lives outdoors, overwinter indoors once the temperatures drop.Cut plants back by a third to half in early spring to encourage compact, bushier, and thicker growth.Lemon verbena is propagated in the same way as other woody herbs like rosemary and lavender—by taking semi-ripe cuttings in the summer.Give the cutting a humid environment by placing the pot in a large clear plastic bag that is closed at the bottom, but with a 1-inch nick at the top so moisture can escape.Lemon verbena usually drops its leaves and enters dormancy when the temperature goes lower than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.Provide extra winter protection by cutting plants back to within a couple of inches of the ground after the first hard frost and covering the remaining stub with soil.Bring your potted lemon verbena plant indoors or to a greenhouse when temperatures drop below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.Lemon verbena growing outdoors in full sun and rich soil is rarely plagued by pests.When brought indoors to overwinter, spider mites and whiteflies seem to be drawn to the plants as they struggle to acclimate to weaker light and less humidity.But if you have the space for a pot well over 12 inches in diameter, a spot with plenty of sun, and you're willing to regularly prune the plant to keep its size in check, you can definitely try growing it indoors.
Growing Lemon Verbena and Keeping it Alive
North American home gardeners who try to grow this tender, wonderfully fragrant perennial herb may succeed more often than they fail, but a large number who try year after year eventually develop a deep sense of frustration and guilt when they repeatedly “commit herbicide”.Many of the latter group responded sympathetically to Linda Ligon’s editorial in the December 1991/January 1992 Herb Companion, in which she expressed frustration at her own inability to keep lemon verbena plants alive.Although our research doesn’t claim to have solved the mystery or to offer a sure-fire formula for success, it has uncovered a few misconceptions about the plant and a lot of solid advice.Those who have succeeded with lemon verbena agree that the plant is worth a bit of effort, and we hope that discouraged verbenaphiles will give it another try, armed with information and a positive outlook.Lemon verbena is one of more than 30 species of aromatic shrubs in the genus Aloysia (family Verbenaceae), all native to the warmer parts of North and South America.Its botanical name has undergone a cycle of change in the two centuries since it was introduced to England as Verbena triphylla.Though lemon verbena is sometimes still offered as L. citriodora, it has long been reassigned to the genus Aloysia, this time as A. triphylla.Lemon verbena grows best in loose, well-drained soil that’s rich in organic matter, and drainage is the more important of those two characteristics.Neither clay nor very acidic soils are hospitable to lemon verbena; a lot of sand and a little lime, respectively, seem to be the best remedies.In more northern regions, lemon verbena thrives in full sun; even better is a site in the reflected light of a white fence or greenhouse wall.For many herbs, pruning stimulates the emergence of new growth at several points along the remaining stem, but lemon verbena responds mainly at the whorl of leaves immediately below the cut.Almost without exception, gardeners growing lemon verbena for the first time are dismayed when the plant drops all its leaves, which this herb does with the slightest provocation.The leafless sticks look so pitiful that many gardeners, thinking that the plant has died, toss it onto the compost pile.Some sources indicate that freezing temperatures alone can trigger dormancy, but Tom DeBaggio of Arlington, Virginia, has found that a frozen plant that is brought indoors and placed under lights to simulate summer day length will continue to produce new growth after the damaged leaves have dropped off.His experience has convinced him that day length is the main factor that triggers the metabolic slowdown of dormancy.In plants that are wintered indoors, sudden leaf loss frequently appears to be a reaction to rapid temperature change or root disturbance.Many gardeners grow lemon verbena in a pot so that it will be easy to move indoors and out as the weather dictates.Choose a pot at least 12 inches in diameter to allow the roots ample growing room and to limit the effect of short-term air-temperature changes on soil temperature.The risk in this strategy, however, is that the roots may grow out the drainage holes in the pot and be broken when the plant is exhumed in early fall.However, Andy Van Hevelingen of Newberg, Oregon, had an uncovered lemon verbena that survived a single night at 3 degrees Fahrenheit.Conditions were optimal: the stems were protected from wind, the soil completely dry around the roots, and the decrease in temperature gradual over a few weeks so that the plant had time to harden off and become fully dormant.Protection from wind seems to be critical near the edge of the plant’s hardiness range; try wrapping the dormant top with weatherproof plastic foam or burlap or covering it with mulch.Kae Snow-Stephens of Shreveport, Louisiana, covers the small but actively growing lemon verbenas in her garden with plastic garbage bags when the cold becomes threatening, and they have not only survived one-night temperatures as low as 22 degrees Fahrenheit, but have done so without losing leaves or slowing their growth.If spring has sprung and you’re wondering whether your lemon verbena will ever come back, you can test for signs of life by bending or clipping off the ends of the dormant woody stems.Dry, brittle wood is dead, but you may find that the stems are alive closer to the base of the plant.One experienced gardener recommends that you resist the temptation to perform such a test because the dead wood protects that which is alive; if your curiosity can survive the wait, the answer will come eventually in the form of new growth (or its continued absence).One of the common ways gardeners kill lemon verbena is by overwatering during leafless periods; this is especially easy to do if you’ve been watering on a time schedule.In early spring, the plant is watered, occasionally fertilized, and placed in a warm, sunny spot; growth should begin within a couple of weeks.If taken in early fall or later, when growth slows as the days shorten, cuttings will take longer to root (which increases the chance of failure) and are less likely to survive transplanting.Lemon verbena is a favored delicacy of whitefly and spider mites; many experienced gardeners and commercial growers refuse to have this herb around because they feel it attracts those pests.Home gardeners with just a few plants can combat an infestation of whitefly or spider mites by spraying the leaves top and bottom with insecticidal soap, or with a solution of dishwashing liquid (1 teaspoon), vegetable oil (1 tablespoon), and water (1 quart) three times at ten-day intervals, rinsing about three hours after application.But the great joy of lemon verbena is the sweet, lemony scent that leaps from the leaves at the slightest touch.The pleasant, fragrant tea is said to act as a gentle sedative and has been used in reducing fever, settling stomach upset and intestinal spasms, and soothing bronchial and nasal congestion.David Merrill, managing editor of The Herb Companion, has never yet killed a lemon verbena plant.Lemon verbena clearly is important enough to warrant the stoic persistence of many gardeners, and why others nearby can grow it with no difficulty is a mystery we have yet to solve.I stare disappointedly at the huge pot that I bought last spring, anticipating the needs of the tiny lemon verbena that I had purchased.Yet an herby acquaintance right here in town has a lemon verbena bush the size of a Volkswagen, which she tends by casually slashing it back as she walks by it.I’ve experimented with moving some plants outside when light frosts (around 30 degrees) are still expected, and keeping some inside until it’s warmer out.Now that I live in the “Gold Country”, it grows against the east wall of the house with the daylilies, facing the morning sun.I’ve changed my annual routine: I wait until the last possible minute to dig it up, which is about the beginning of November (unless it snows).I cut back all stems immediately to 6 to 8 inches from the soil, and then neglect them until February, watering them only lightly once a month or less.Around the middle of February, I move them closer to the sunlight from the west-facing window in that same entryway, and start a heavier watering program.My recommendations are: grow your lemon verbena in full sun outside all summer to make a strong plant.
Gardening 101: Lemon Verbena
Noted for its multiple health benefits and the lovely scent of its leaves, lemon verbena is a plant I highly recommend you grow in your herb garden.Native to the warmer parts of western South America and brought to Europe by the Spanish and the Portuguese, lemon verbena was mainly cultivated for its oil. .
Lemon Verbena Plant: Sweet Lemony Shrub
The lemon verbena plant is by far my favorite herb to grow!Add a few fresh leaves to boiled water to make a revitalizing herbal tea; as a scented garnish in cocktails, cold drinks, and desserts; infused in creams and butter to flavor ice cream, biscuits, and cakes; or as an alternative to a lemon zest rub to give a lemon zing to meat dishes.Fortunately, lemon verbena dries extremely well and retains its lemon flavor and scent to give you that warm Mediterranean vibe throughout winter.Common Name(s) Lemon verbena, lemon bee bush, cidron, herb Louisa Scientific Name Aloysia citrodora Days to Harvest Harvest when plants are well established Light Full sun Water Regular watering Soil Well-drained, moderately fertile Fertilizer Nitrogen-rich or general-purpose fertilizer Pests Spider mites Diseases Pythium root rot.All About Lemon Verbena.Lemon verbena is a woody tender perennial shrub, growing to 8ft (2.5m) by 8ft (2.5m) in height and spread when growing in optimum growing conditions.Planting Lemon Verbena.Growing lemon verbena in a container will limit the plant height to around 2ft (30cm) to 3ft (90cm) tall.It needs a full sun position to maximize the essential oil and lemon scent in its leaves.Lemon verbena requires consistent temperatures above 50°F, (10°C) to stimulate growth.In colder climates, grow lemon verbena indoors in containers over winter and provide outdoor plants with a deep dry mulch to protect roots from frost.Prolonged drought will also trigger leaf drop, plant stress and pest infestation so check soil moisture content during periods of hot weather, especially plants grown in containers.Watering is not necessary over winter for plants growing outside.Soil.A well-drained, moisture-retentive, moderately fertile soil is ideal for growing lemon verbena.Regular trimming of young leaves and stems will help keep plants productive but after a while, branches may become spindly and congested.All lemon verbena plants benefit from a good rejuvenation prune cutting branches back by a third in early spring to encourage compact, bushy growth.The best way to propagate lemon verbena is via softwood or semi-ripe cuttings similar to other woody herbs such as rosemary and thyme.Take softwood cuttings in spring, snipping 4 to 6 inches of new growth, removing the lower leaves, and placing the stems into pots filled with a 50:50 mix of compost and perlite or horticultural grit.Softwood cuttings can be placed in a glass of water which allows you to observe root development closely.Semi-ripe cuttings can be taken in late summer/early fall and should be kept indoors until spring the following year.Fresh young leaves have the best lemon flavor.For larger harvests cut stems back 4-6 inches to encourage bushy growth.Store fresh stems and leaves in the refrigerator wrapped in damp kitchen paper or place stems into a glass of water until needed.To avoid pythium root rot, plant lemon verbena in well-drained fertile soils and water consistently to keep the soil moist and not wet.A young lemon verbena plant.A: In warm, tropical climates, plants can become quite large and may need regular pruning, but they are not invasive plants.Grow lemon verbena in soil with good drainage and protect roots from frost with a thick dry mulch. .