If you’re looking for a fragrant herb with a warm citrus flavor, lemon verbena is the perfect addition to your garden. It’s easy to grow and adds a delicious flavor to teas, salads, desserts, and more! This blog post explains how to grow lemon verbena in your garden.
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5 Tips for How to Grow Lemon Verbena
1. Plant lemon verbena at the right time
Growing lemon verbena from seed is difficult; it’s best to use cuttings or transplants. Transplants are generally easier because they do not require any special preparation before planting.
Plant lemon verbena transplants in the spring after your last frost and once the soil has warmed.
Lemon verbena is generally considered an annual herb, but it may come back as a perennial in areas with frost-free winters up to zone 8. In cooler climates, grow lemon verbena in containers and bring it indoors during the winter.
Don’t be concerned when lemon verbena loses its leaves in the fall; it is often deciduous.
2. Choose the best location for growing lemon verbena
Lemon verbena prefers full sun and well-drained soil. Leave enough space between each plant – about 12-18 inches apart is ideal – so they have room to grow. For square-foot gardening, plant 1 per square.
Additionally, be sure that the area you choose does not get too hot. Lemon verbena can tolerate temperatures up to 90°F (32°C), but anything higher can damage the leaves.
Provide shade or plant in an area that receives afternoon shade if you live in a hot summer climate.
3. Care for lemon verbena as it grows
Once your plants are established, water as needed. An inch layer of compost at the beginning of each season provides needed nutrients. Take care not to over-water or over-fertilize.
Common pest issues of lemon verbena include spider mites, aphids, and caterpillars. Usually, the damage is minor and is best left untreated.
4. Harvest lemon verbena at the right time
When harvesting lemon verbena, pick the leaves in the morning when they are most fragrant and flavorful. Harvest individual sprigs as needed throughout the growing season.
5. Use lemon verbena in a variety of ways
The leaves of lemon verbena can be used in various ways – from teas to salads and desserts – adding a unique lemony flavor to any dish. Lemon verbena leaves are tough and should be removed from marinades and dressings before serving.
- Freeze dry or dehydrate the leaves and add them to herbal tea.
- Add dried, crumbled leaves to baked goods like banana bread or carrot cake.
- Use the leaves to make herbal oils, syrups, and extracts.
- Mince lemon verbena leaves and toss with cooked rice.
Hopefully, this blog post has given you insight into how to grow lemon verbena in your garden. With its refreshing citrus flavor, tender texture, and easy-to-grow nature, it’s no wonder why this fragrant herb is becoming increasingly popular amongst home gardeners.