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Lemon Verbena

Aloysia triphylla syn. Lippia citriodora

(a-lo-ISS-ee-a tri-FILL-la)


FAMILY:   Verbenaceae

TYPE:     Tender perennial

LOCATION: Full sun to light shade in a warm, protected place.

PLANTING: Transplants, seed or cuttings can be used after last frost in spring. Softwood cuttings should be taken in late summer. Seed method is difficult.

HEIGHT:   3 to 4 feet, smaller in containers.

SPREAD: 3 feet

FINAL SPACING: 18 to 24 inches

BLOOM/FRUIT: Loose clusters of fragrant pale purple flowers that are not spectacular. Bloom in late summer usually.

GROWTH HABITS/CULTURE: An open-growing shrub-like herb with woody stems. Narrow, rough-textured pointed leaves from 1-3 inches long that grow in whorls of 3 or 4 with an intense lemon scent. Somewhat scraggly with long limber branches. Freezes easily in the northern half of the state.

PROBLEMS: Spider mites, whiteflies aphids, and worms, if you aren’t totally organic. Under the Basic Organic Program, the plant has few problems

HARVEST/STORAGE:   Pick leaves and dry anytime during the summer. They can also be frozen. Using the leaves fresh off the plant is best.

CULINARY USES: Marvelous flavor for any meat, great in teas, jellies and sherbet. Lemon verbena is used in some cake recipes and to flavor liqueurs. It is also good for other deserts and sweet dishes.

MEDICINAL USES: Lemon verbena has lots of vitamin C and makes a very soothing and relaxing tea. It has been used for asthma, migraine headaches, vertigo, depression, nasal congestion, indigestion and nausea.

LANDSCAPE USES: Nice in mixed plantings. Chartreuse leaves contrast with darker greens of other plants. Very fragrant garden plant. Good container plant.

OTHER USES:   Potpourri, bath and body care products. Keeps its scent for years.

INSIGHT: Try Odena tri-lemon tea. Use equal parts of lemon verbena, lemongrass and lemon balm. See the HERB TEA chapter.


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