Lemon Verbena

March 11, 2008

I wish you could smell this plant, it is heavenly.  It survived, hooray!   I brought the plant indoors for the winter but it looked like it was dying so I pruned it back quite hard and it did what I hoped it would and has lots of lovely fresh growth appearing from the old wood.

Lemon verbena (Aloysia triphylla) isn’t very easy to grow from seed and is best propagated from softwood cuttings in the summer or hardwood cuttings in the autumn so I’ll be taking some cuttings in the summer as insurance!

Facts and uses:

  • Lemon Verbena is a large, bushy deciduous shrub that can grow up to 1 metre or more in height or up to 4.5 metres in warmer climates where there is no frost.
  • It can be combined with other lemon scented herbs such as lemon thyme and lemongrass to make a seasoning that goes well with chicken, fish, pork or lamb.
  • It makes an attractive pot plant, or border plant if you live in warmer climates where it can be left outside; it prefers moist, warm climates and a rich soil.  It is sensitive to cold weather so is best grown in a container if you live in a cooler region so it can be protected in the winter.
  • Lemon verbena leaves can be made into a lovely tea especially when mixed with mint leaves.
  • The dried leaves hold their scent well so can be used in pot pourri, pillows and sachets.
  • Sprigs of leaves can be harvested and dried then stored in airtight jars. (I have some from last year and they still smell wonderful when crushed).   Alternatively they can be wrapped and frozen for up to 6 months.

If you have any favourite uses for lemon verbena, feel free to leave a comment below.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Melanie 03.11.08 at 1:00 pm

Lemon scented Herbs are my favorite, I just love this Verbena and can’t wait until next month when the stores start stocking it again.

2 linda 03.11.08 at 1:57 pm

I have a friend who makes sorbet with lemon verbena. it’s wonderful.

3 jodi 03.11.08 at 3:18 pm

I’m with you on this–my favourite lemon-scented herb, by far. Totally lovely. I didn’t bring mine in last year, so I have to truck down to the herb nursery and get several plants–occasionally I make tea, but mostly I just run my hands through it (it’s in a container on our deck).

4 Madeleine 03.17.08 at 9:40 am

Hi everybody, thanks for your comments. Lemon verbena sorbet sounds lovely, don’t suppose you have a recipe? I’d love to try it out.

I also love to just run my hands through it when passing; makes the house smell nice too in the winter!

5 Jess 03.21.08 at 11:21 am

Thanks so much for writing this wonderful blog. You have so much excellent information.
We’ve been living in SPain for the past couple of years, so Basil (especially Bordeaux variety – yum!), coriander and parsley have been going crazy. We’ll be moving back to Cornwall, England soon, so I have to re-learn all my cooler-weather herb knowledge, and it looks like this is the best place to do that!
Thanks again and happy herbing!

6 Madeleine 03.23.08 at 4:22 pm

Ooh, I’m blushing now! Thank you for your kind comments and the link from your fascinating blog. I love that Earth Dress picture you have in your shop.

At least you’ll be moving to one of the warmest areas in England!


7 Shirley Bovshow "EdenMaker" 03.26.08 at 5:41 pm

Thanks for reminding me about this great herb. I’ve got to add it to my garden.

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