The aroma of lemon verbena fills our garden with its beautiful notes of lemongrass. It’s so pleasant!
I rub my hands with its leaves, and I think of the names of famous fragrances to which verbena gives citrus notes.
We planted our verbena in 2020, the year of confinement due to COVID19 when we have been more dedicated than ever to cultivating our small garden.
The verbena has appreciated our care and, in a short time, has grown into a shrub of more than five feet! At the winter’s end, I cut off the dead branches to stimulate recovery in the spring. And so it did, and now it looks better than ever. This year, I actually pruned it a little too late, at the end of March. Yet it has recovered beautifully.
Now it is more than 2 meters tall!
I will soon start collecting leaves to dry and make digestive herbal teas for the cold seasons.
In this post, I tell you
How to Grow Lemon Verbena
Verbena loves well-drained soils and sunshine. Ours gets sun partly in the morning and during the whole afternoon, and it seems to do well.
Make sure to provide space around it, at least 1 meter in diameter, to develop its foliage.
It has no special needs. In winter, it loses its leaves, so if you want to harvest them to make herbal tea, do so before the end of summer.
Protect the plant in winter with mulching.
Cut off dead twigs at the end of winter, leaving the main stem intact. And soon, you’ll see new little leaves appear. We collect them from June to the end of Summer to make herbal teas.
You can create new Verbena plants from cuttings. The right time to do it is summer. Cut green sprigs of about 10 cm from the year; place them in a mixture of soil and sand over gravel for drainage. Water generously, but let the soil dry out before watering again. Protect from wind and cold. You can repot it in cups in March.
Verbena also grows well in pots. You need to water it regularly and protect it from the cold in winter.
What are the Benefits of Lemon Verbena
Lemon verbena is used in cooking, herbal tea, and natural cosmetics.
It is traditionally used to improving digestion and calming sickness.
You can combine it with other herbs, like rosemary, to enhance flavor and digstion.
Also, recent studies have shown that “lemon verbena can increase the eating quality, prolong the shelf life, and maintain the integrity of bakery products with high-fat content.”(Sourki et al., 2021)
A bit of Botany
Aloysia citrodora (also called Lippia citriodora)- the botanic name of lemon verbena, a shrub native to South America – Peru and Chili – in a sub-tropical climate. Also called lemon beebrush belongs to the Verbenaceae family, including common verbena or vervain (Verbena officinalis).
It can grow up to 3 meters. At the end of Summer, it produces white to pink flowers (Ours has never bloomed yet.) In the European climate, it doesn’t make fruits.
Have you ever used lemon verbena for cooking, to improve digestion, or in natural cosmetics? Share your experience on Instagram with the hashtag #daybydayplants tagging me @daybydayplants_blog. I can’t wait to here from you!