The Benefits of Lemon Verbena: A Powerful Herbal Remedy for Digestion and Relaxation


Lemon verbena, also known by its Latin name Aloysia citriodora, is a fragrant plant that is commonly grown for its lemon-scented leaves. This shrub-like plant can reach a height of up to 35 feet and has narrow, lanky branches. It is native to South America and is often used in cooking and beverages for its floral and citrusy flavor. Lemon verbena can be grown outdoors in containers or in the garden, and it requires full sun and well-draining soil. The plant is known for its strong lemon perfume, which is released when the leaves are crushed or rubbed.

When planting lemon verbena, it is important to choose a site with good drainage and to space the plants about three feet apart. The plant should be inserted into the soil at the same depth it was growing in the nursery container. After planting, watering should be done regularly, but care should be taken not to overwater, as the plant does not tolerate wet feet. Lemon verbena is a perennial in warmer climates, but it may die back to the ground in colder regions. In winter, it is important to protect the plant from frost by covering it with a plastic sheet or other protective material.

Propagating lemon verbena can be done through cuttings. To propagate using cuttings, take a small cutting with a few pairs of leaves from a healthy and mature lemon verbena plant. Remove the lower leaves and insert the cutting into a pot filled with moist potting soil. Place the pot in a warm and bright location, and mist the cutting regularly to keep it hydrated. Roots should start to form within a few weeks, and once the cutting has developed a good root system, it can be transplanted to a larger pot or into the garden.

Lemon verbena has many uses beyond cooking and beverages. Its leaves can be used fresh or dried to make teas, syrups, jams, and desserts. The leaves can also be used to infuse flavor into oils and vinegars. Lemon verbena is known for its calming and relaxing properties, and it is often used in aromatherapy. It can be used to support digestion, relieve stress, and promote sleep. The plant is also said to have anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties.

While lemon verbena is generally easy to care for, it is susceptible to a few common diseases and pests. Powdery mildew and root rot can be a problem, especially in humid conditions. To prevent these diseases, it is important to provide good air circulation and to avoid overwatering. In addition, aphids and whiteflies can infest the plant. These pests can be controlled by regularly inspecting the plant and using manual methods or organic insecticides if necessary.

In conclusion, lemon verbena is a versatile and fragrant plant that can add a touch of citrus to many dishes and beverages. Whether grown indoors or outdoors, this herb requires some effort but is well worth it for its unique flavor and aroma. Whether you use it in recipes, for its medicinal properties, or simply to enjoy its pleasant scent, lemon verbena is a delightful addition to any garden.

How to Grow Lemon Verbena

Lemon verbena is a lemon-scented shrub that is commonly grown in gardens. It is known for its narrow, green leaves and high fragrance, which resembles the smell of lemon. If you are interested in growing lemon verbena in your own garden, here are some tips to follow:

  • Planting: Lemon verbena can be grown from seeds or cuttings. If you are starting from seeds, plant them in pots or directly in the garden with a spacing of three feet between each plant. Lemon verbena prefers well-drained soil with a high humidity level.
  • Watering: Lemon verbena requires regular watering, especially during dry periods. However, be careful not to overwater the plant, as it is sensitive to waterlogging. Water the plants deeply, allowing the soil to dry slightly between watering.
  • Pruning: Lemon verbena plants can become quite lanky if not properly pruned. To encourage bushiness and prevent legginess, prune the plants regularly. You can also harvest the leaves while pruning for culinary or medicinal uses.
  • Support: Since lemon verbena shrubs can grow quite tall, it is recommended to provide support for the plants to prevent them from flopping over. Insert a sturdy stake or place a chicken wire cage around the plant for support.
  • Overwintering: Lemon verbena is not frost-tolerant and needs to be protected during winter. If you live in an area with cold temperatures, you can either bring the plant indoors or cover it with a plastic sheet to protect it from frost damage.
  • Harvesting: You can harvest lemon verbena leaves throughout the growing season. The leaves can be used in a variety of ways, such as making herbal teas, flavored water, baked goods, and floral recipes. Harvest the leaves in the morning when the oils are at their peak.

Growing lemon verbena requires some effort, but it is a rewarding experience. Whether you want to enjoy its refreshing perfume in the garden or use it in various culinary and non-food recipes, lemon verbena is a versatile herb. Follow these tips and have a happy conversation with your lemon-scented shrubs!

How to Plant Lemon Verbena

Lemon verbena (Lippia citriodora) is a high heat-loving plant that grows best in warm climates. It is a flowering shrub that features small white flowers, and its leaves have a strong lemon scent. Lemon verbena can be grown both indoors and outdoors, making it a popular choice among herb enthusiasts.

If you live in an area with frost, it is best to plant lemon verbena in containers or pots, as it can be easily moved indoors during the winter months. When planting lemon verbena, choose a sunny site with well-draining soil. The plant requires at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day.

To plant lemon verbena, follow these steps:

  1. Prepare the soil by digging a hole of about 12 inches in depth and width.
  2. Mix in compost or organic matter to improve the soil’s fertility.
  3. Space multiple lemon verbena plants at least 3 feet apart.
  4. Place the lemon verbena plant in the hole and fill around it with soil.
  5. Water the plant well, making sure the soil is evenly moist.
  6. Fertilize the plant regularly with a balanced fertilizer, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  7. Water the plant regularly, especially during hot, dry days.

Lemon verbena is a relatively low-maintenance plant, but it does require some effort to keep it healthy. The plant is susceptible to common diseases like whiteflies, so be sure to keep an eye out for any signs of infestation and take action. Regular pruning will also help keep the plant in check and prevent it from becoming too leggy.

Harvesting lemon verbena leaves can be done on a regular basis. The leaves are best used fresh, but they can also be dried and stored for later use. Lemon verbena leaves can be used in a variety of recipes, from desserts and beverages to jellies and more. Its strong lemon flavor adds a pleasant citrusy kick to any dish.

In addition to its culinary uses, lemon verbena is also known for its medicinal properties. It has been used in traditional medicine for its calming and soothing effects. It is often used as a natural remedy for digestive issues and as a sleep aid. Its pleasant aroma and flavor also make it a popular choice for aromatherapy.

Growing lemon verbena can be a rewarding experience for any green thumb. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or just starting out, lemon verbena is a versatile herb that can be enjoyed both in the garden and in the kitchen. So, get your gardening tools ready and start planting lemon verbena today!

When to Plant

Lemon verbena, also known as Aloysia citrodora or Lippia citriodora, is a flowering herb that is widely cultivated for its lemon-scented leaves. If you want to grow lemon verbena, it’s important to know when and how to plant it to ensure successful growth. Here are some suggestions on when to plant lemon verbena:

Season Planting Time
Spring Lemon verbena can be planted outdoors in the spring once the threat of frost has passed. It is typically best to wait until daytime temperatures consistently stay above 50 degrees Fahrenheit before planting.
Summer You can also start lemon verbena from cuttings during the summer season. This method allows you to propagate new plants from an established lemon verbena shrub.
Fall In regions with mild winters, lemon verbena can be planted in the fall. It is important to provide proper care and protection, such as placing the plants in pots, to overwinter the plants successfully.

When planting lemon verbena, it is recommended to choose a location that receives full sun or light shade. Lemon verbena prefers warm weather and humid conditions, so it is crucial to water the plants regularly to maintain proper moisture levels. However, be careful not to overwater, as this can cause root issues and diseases.

Lemon verbena can be grown in both containers and in the ground. If grown in pots, make sure to use well-draining soil and provide proper support for the lanky plants. For growing lemon verbena outdoors, prepare the planting area by loosening the soil and adding organic matter for better drainage.

Lemon verbena is known for attracting pests like whiteflies, so it’s essential to monitor the plants regularly and take appropriate measures to control infestations. Pruning the plants after flowering can help maintain a compact shape and prevent them from becoming leggy.

Once you have successfully grown lemon verbena, you can enjoy its many uses. The leaves of lemon verbena can be used to infuse beverages, add flavor to desserts, and enhance the taste of savory dishes. It is a versatile herb that can be a wonderful addition to your garden and culinary adventures. So, if you are a fan of all things lemon-scented, why not join the conversation of lemon verbena growers and start growing this happy and aromatic herb?

Selecting a Planting Site

When selecting a planting site for lemon verbena (known as lippia citriodora in Latin), there are a few key factors to consider. This lemon-scented herb thrives in warm, sunny conditions and is best suited for growers in frost-free regions.

One thing to keep in mind is that lemon verbena can grow up to three to four feet in height, so it’s important to choose a location that allows enough space for its growth. The plant also prefers well-draining soil, so make sure the planting site has good drainage.

If you’re lucky enough to live in a warm climate, you can plant your lemon verbena in the ground. However, if you live in an area with colder winters, it may be best to plant it in containers or pots that can be moved indoors during the winter months. This will protect the plant from frost and ensure its survival.

Lemon verbena loves sunlight, so choose a spot in your garden that receives at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day. This will help promote healthy growth and ample flowering.

When it comes to propogating lemon verbena, there are a few different methods you can try. You can take cuttings from an existing lemon verbena plant and insert them into moist soil. Within a few weeks, roots will start to form, and you’ll have a new plant.

Lemon verbena is not only a beautiful plant but also has many culinary uses. Its lemony flavor is commonly used in baking, desserts, and even as a flavoring in jellies and crème brûlée. Its refreshing scent can also infuse into oils, creating a delightful perfume for the home.

For gardeners and herb enthusiasts, lemon verbena is a must-have plant. Its fragrance and taste are unparalleled, and it’s a versatile herb that can be used in a variety of recipes and pairings. So, when selecting a planting site for your lemon verbena, ensure it has the right amount of sunlight, well-draining soil, and protection against frost. Happy gardening!

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Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.