Lemon Verbena — learn all about the lemon shrub

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Interesting facts about lemon verbena

Botanical name: Aloysia citrodora, Lippia citriodora, Verbena triphylla, Aloyia triphylla
Other names: lemon shrub, fragrant verbena, verbena, lemon leaf, verbena
Use: for tea, bath additives, cold drinks, desserts, salads, fish dishes, Asian dishes, pastries, as a substitute for lemongrass, for soap and other cosmetics, as bee pasture
Origin: Peru, Chile
Flower colours: white
Flowering period: from August
Special features: the lemon-like smell of the green leaves fascinates, popular food plant for many insects, ideal for large pots, frost-free wintering necessary

Lemon verbena goes by many different names, all of which refer to the distinctive scent or leaf shape. The perennial, conditionally hardy subshrub is also called lemon shrub or fragrant verbena. In France and Spain, the lemon tree is known as verbena. The decorative plants can be on the balcony or terrace from the end of May until autumn. Lemon verbena in pots have the advantage that you can overwinter them and serve as a tea plant for several years. With their characteristic scentlemon verbena leaves are predestined for fresh consumption. The aromatic herbs are also suitable for drying. From August, delicate white flowers appear, which are a valuable source of food for many insects. Frost-free overwintering of the lemon verbena is important.

In which location does the lemon verbena feel most comfortable?

The lemon shrub prefers a sunny location with humus-rich, well-drained soil. A place near a wall is ideal, where heat is given off and the subshrub is sheltered. Planted in the ground, the lemon verbena is only conditionally hardy (short-term down to -5 °C). It is ideal if you plant the lemon verbena in a pot. From the end of May to October, the aromatic plant is on the balcony or terrace and from November to May it is sheltered indoors.Basically, the soil should be permeable and never have stagnant moisture. A soil pH of 5 to 6.5 is ideal for lemon verbena. With mixed plantings, it is important that the planting partners have similar soil and moisture requirements. Good partners for the lemon bush are rosemary, lemon balm, Moroccan mint or the cola bush (Artemisia).

Our gardening tip: The lemon verbena can also be used as a houseplant in the house for a short time and can thus be harvested directly. However, a sunny outdoor location is important for growth and aroma.

How do I plant my lemon verbena?

It is best if you plant the lemon verbena in the garden or in a large container immediately after purchase. A place in the herb spiral, in the raised bed or balcony box is also possible. Aloysia citrodora is undemanding and grows well when there is enough heat. For good growth, put high-quality potting soil in the planting hole when planting.

When planting in containers, use either Kölle Organic Peat-Free Herbal Soil or Kölle Organic Peat-Free Planting Soil mixed with sand. It is important that the soil is loose and humus and that there is never waterlogging. With a dose of natural fertilizer you promote growth and soil life. Avoid using mineral fertilizers. Compost or organic fertilizer will do.

Our gardening tip: When planting out in the bed, you should bear in mind that the lemon verbena is not hardy. In the wine-growing climate, the subshrub can be left outdoors with some protection and budding can take place the following year in mild winters. It is important that the herb is well rooted and has woody parts. Young plants are more vulnerable to frost.

How do I properly care for my lemon verbena?

After planting the lemon verbena, only needs-based watering is necessary. With sufficient heat, the scented plant grows well and you can harvest the young leaves regularly. By cutting, you promote the bushy structure and the formation of new shoots. Even if you don’t use leaves, it’s still a good idea to trim the long shoots regularly. This will allow the lemon verbena to branch better. Due to the pruning, the herb is delayed in flowering. If you want flowering plants, you should only cut back part of them. The flowers of the lemon tree are very popular with bees, bumblebees and butterflies.

How do I water my lemon verbena properly?

Moderate soil moisture is important for the aromatic herb. Neither drought nor standing water are tolerated. According to its origin, the Aloysia citrodora requires little water. Make sure the soil dries up a bit before the next watering. Lemon verbena planted in the ground only needs regular watering until it has rooted. Once the herb has established itself at the site, it only needs to be watered in phases without precipitation. Potted lemon verbena should be watered about once a week. Make sure that there is no water in the coaster 15 minutes after watering, because standing water can quickly damage the roots.

How do I harvest and use my lemon verbena?

Harvest lemon verbena

You can regularly harvest the leaves of the lemon verbena from May to October. Either you pick the individual leaves, which are as young as possible, or you cut off entire branches. The content of ingredients is highest when you harvest late in the morning and use it fresh. If there is a surplus of crops, you can dry the leaves and preserve them for the winter.

Use lemon verbena

The characteristically fragrant leaves of the lemon verbena can be used in many ways. The unique lemon aroma of the lemon bush refines many dishes and serves as the basis for aromatic drinks.

10 ways to use lemon verbena leaves:

  1. tea
  2. cold drinks such as B. punch, lemonade, cocktails
  3. desserts
  4. salads
  5. fish dishes
  6. Asian dishes
  7. pastries
  8. for scented sachets
  9. bath additives

for soaps and other cosmetics

In addition to the possibility of using the fresh leaves as an aroma supplier, they can also be used as an edible decoration. But the leaves of the lemon verbena can also be used in many ways as a dried herb. Would you like to learn more about aromatic herbs and their diverse uses?

Now preserve the full aroma of the spicy herbs

Capture the full aroma of the aromatic garden herbs. With our tips you will learn what options there are for preserving the herbs and how you can best experience them.

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What pests and diseases can lemon verbena get?

The herb is extremely robust with its lemon scent and is very rarely attacked by harmful insects, caterpillars or diseases. It is important that the lemon bush is planted in the optimal location and that waterlogging is avoided. Sometimes lice or spider mites can be found on the new shoots in spring. Improve the conditions and prune the plants, new shoots will quickly grow back.

FAQ – Frequently asked questions about lemon verbena

How often can the lemon bush be harvested?

With regular harvesting and pruning, a harvest is possible from May to September. The pruning delays the formation of flowers and leaves are formed continuously.

What is the Difference Between Lemon Verbena and Lemon Balm?

Both herbs have an intense lemon scent and are used similarly.

lemon verbena

lemon balm

leaf texture

tender, fine

thicker, not so tender

Height up to 100 cm up to 40 cm hardiness tolerates light frost down to a maximum of -5 °C absolutely hardy

How is lemon verbena propagated?

The fragrant herb can easily be propagated by cuttings. The best time to do this is early spring or late summer. Use sharp scissors to cut the cuttings only from healthy plants, these should not have flowers. The young plants develop optimally in seed trays or in a seed set with a transparent cover. After 3 to 4 weeks the first roots have formed and the young plants can be repotted in pots with potting soil. There is also the possibility of lemon verbena by sowingto multiply. Attention Lemon verbena germinates in the light, ie you should not cover the seed with soil, just scatter the seed on the potting soil and water it.

How is the lemon verbena overwintered?

The scented plant is only partially hardy and should be overwintered as frost-free as possible. Place the pot with the lemon verbena in a light spot at 10 to 16 °C and make sure that the soil does not dry out completely. The subshrub may lose its leaves in the winter quarters. From March it will sprout again under good conditions.

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