Lemon verbena is a plant that grows in semi-tropical areas. It has leaves that smell like lemon and even have a very strong aroma. Usually, the leaves are used in herbal teas, sometimes in salads, vegetables, and various desserts. Lemon verbena leaves are long lasting, the dry leaves can last up to several years. Try adding this lemon leaf to your food and feel the aroma.
Lemon Verbena Description
Lemon verbena is a plant of Chilean and Argentinian origin, it has a botanical name and the family Aloysia triphylla (Verbenaceae botanical family). It is classified as a gentle shrub, the best growing season is in summer. If you want to grow lemon verbena, then zones 9 through 11 are the best zones for you. The lemon verbena plant is resistant to heat but is very dangerous in the face of winter. So, the planting must be in summer so that when it grows well, it can survive the winter.
Lemon verbena usually grows to a height of 2 to US, but in its native South and Central America, it can grow taller and can even grow up to 10 feet.
This lemon plant has woody branches and branches. The spines are in the form of small tubes that have a fragrant aroma, white to pale colors with a lavender shape.
The bloom time for lemon verbena plants is from summer to fall. Lemon verbena leaves have spear-like characteristics with 3-4 inches in size. Lemon verbena leaves grow in circles of 3-4 stems. The leaves are sometimes hairy and the stems get harder with age.
Also see: How to Plant Tomatoes from Seeds
How to Plant Lemon Verbena
Lemon verbena is a plant that likes full sun, so just plant it in a bright place that has full sun. Lemon verbena’s best growing place is in dry, humus soil. When planting, make earthen gills about 12 inches deep and provide composted soil, lemon verbena works best in soil with a pH of 6.5.
To propagate lemon verbena plants, grow them by cuttings. Take the tips of the plants in the spring and plant them in a polybag container indoors. When it takes root and starts growing, you can move it outdoors.
To transplant cuttings that are already rooted, start when they enter the spring to avoid frost. When doing cuttings, take the tip of the plant about 4 to 6 inches deep and put it in perlite or peat moss and place it indoors until it takes root and is fully grown.
The spacing between one plant and another is between 12 and 15 inches. It grows like a big blob. If you only need it for culinary purposes, you can plant one tree only.
Lemon verbena is also very good when growing side by side with other plants such as cilantro, basil and several other types of vegetable plants.
How to Grow Lemon Verbena
Lemon verbena is a plant that likes moist soil, so it needs to be watered regularly. However in winter you have to pay attention to the moisture level of the soil so as not to cause problems. On the other hand, lemon verbena does not like drying, if the soil is dry due to lack of watering, it will shed its leaves.
Lemon verbena also needs healthy food to grow properly. Among them are tea compost, liquid seaweed, and fish emulsion. Provide food at the beginning of planting in the spring and then every 6 to 8 weeks. Lemon verbena is a food-heavy plant, but don’t fertilize it in winter.
Lemon verbena care is very easy, if you want shady growth, then pinch the ends so that they branch out. Do it in summer and fall. In the summer, if necessary you can replace the plant container or pot, by adding or replacing the soil with new soil.
If growing lemon verbena in a pot, choose a pot that is 12 inches deep either width or depth. To prevent winter foulness, move the plant indoors. In winter usually it will shed its leaves and come back leafy when winter passes.
If it is exposed to frost, then the lemon verbena plant is seriously damaged. That is why you should move lemon verbena indoors during winter.
Also read: Eucalyptus Gunnii, How to Grow It
Lemon Verbena Plant Pests
The lemon verbena plant is just like any other plant, it can also become infected with diseases. To fix this, try to pay attention to the following:
When the lemons are pests, spray them with a strong spray of water, usually these are spider mites and tiny white flies. If this doesn’t work, try spraying with an insecticidal soap or with spinosad.
That is the precaution that this plant does not get damaged and die. However, you don’t need to worry too much, because lemon verbena is usually free from disease.
How to Harvest Lemon Verbena
When should you harvest lemon verbena? The harvest time for lemon verbena is indefinite. You can harvest the leaves and stems at any time as long as the lemon verbena has grown 8 inches.
Then how to harvest it? The way to harvest it is by using garden shears, cut the leaves or the plant’s end, if you want to harvest more you can cut the stems.
Benefits and Uses of Lemon Verbena in the Kitchen
The taste and aroma is very good, lemon verbena has a lemon-like taste and aroma and is a bit sweet.
- Benefits of lemon leaves and verbena flowers are usually used in salads, cut into small pieces for use in vegetable seasonings,
vinegar, salad dressings, jam, fish, pudding, jelly, and poultry. If the leaves are tough, discard them, you should only use leaves that are not hard.
- Lemon verbena leaves can be used fresh or when they are dry.
- To serve a cup of verbena leaf tea you must use fresh leaves with a soft taste, or if you have to season iced drinks. Add lemon leaves to water and store in the refrigerator.
- For culinary, you can serve it with chilies, garlic and mint or coriander.
How to Store Lemon Verbena
How to store lemon verbena when you have a bountiful harvest. Storing fresh lemon verbena leaves in the refrigerator can last up to two days, put in a closed plastic bag.
To darken lemon verbena leaves, do it in a cool, dark, or dehydrator location. When they are dry, separate the leaves from the stems for storage. If you want to keep the taste, you can freeze the lemon leaves.
When storing, put in an airtight container, these leaves will remain fragrant, aromatic, up to 2 or even 3 years.
Propagating Lemon Verbena
Lemon verbena can be grown by cuttings or by growing seeds. However seeds are very difficult to grow and very long. So, to propagate lemon verbena plants, you should take the tips of the stems and plant them (cuttings).
Cuttings are the quickest way to propagate this plant. Cut off the ends in the summer or fall, then dip the cut ends in root stimulating liquid. Then enter into a container that already has a planting medium of organic matter. When planting cuttings, it needs extra heat to grow, if it gets frost, it will die.
This new plant is transferred to a new pot or outdoors to be planted in the ground when the cuttings have taken root.