Perennial bush, with a very strong lemon smell, best grown in large tubs as it does not appreciate sub zero temperature. The tubs need to be large because this a big plant, rising to over two metres high sometimes. Lemon verbena is both comestible and has strong medicinal benefits, it is also extensively used in the perfume industry. Originally South American it has been grown in Europe since the late 18th century.
Growing lemon verbena needs a little work and love, as already noted it does not like frosts so it best to clip it back in late Autumn and either place against a south facing wall or pop it in the green house. Every winter it loses all its leaves so clip back hard when the leaves at the bottom of the stems start to yellow and drop off. Lemon verbena keeps it’s flavour well when dried, to keep it looking green and attractive I find that it is better to dry it out of the sun in a large paper bag or hessian sack.
In the Spring when it restarts to grow it loves to be moved into sunny spot, the sun also helps concentrate the essential oil it its leaves.
I clip mine back mid summer, it stops it getting too leggy, very important with out wind, makes a denser bish and I also I take tip cuttings to reproduce more. Simply clip the tips at a leaf junction, the grown hormone is stronger at those points, plant in a good quality soil like Orgasyl, keep moist and in the shade and within three weeks it will have sufficient roots to pot on. Spring and mid summer I find are the best moments to take sucessful tip cuttings.
Caroline loves Lemon Verbena tea with fresh Morrocan mint. It can be added to a wide range of dishes that require a lemony zing.
I don’t like to comments of the health benefits of plants, not least because it is illegal here in France to do so without a huge medical study and trials behind you. But here are a few links to other sites that are not so timid.