Lemon Verbena (Lippia citriodora or Aloysia triphylla) is a shrub of the family of Verbenaceae of which only the type species is cultivated. Remaining small in size in adulthood, it is very suitable for small plots and finds its place perfectly in a fragrant garden or on a terrace. Its semi-evergreen foliage exudes a pleasant lemony scent, just like its panicles of immaculate flowers that bloom in summer. Let’s see how to plant a Lemon verbena which is also called Peruvian verbena, fragrant verbena or three-leaf verbena. Let’s also look at its needs and when to harvest.
Plant a lemon verbena
This shrub is planted ideally from April to May, when the risk of frost has completely disappeared. In a harsh climate, one can wait for the end of the ice saints.
The method of planting lemon verbena in the ground is the following.
- Dig a hole of moderate size, that is to say not exceeding 20 cm deep,
- Cover the bottom with pebbles,
- Mix garden soil with sand, compost, heather soil and a little planting soil to improve it,
- Install the plant in the center of the hole,
- Tamp down, taking care of the roots,
If you wish to cultivate several subjects in the ground, it is advisable to space them out 50 cm apart from each other.
Pour plant a lemon verbena in a potwe choose a container with a pierced bottom, about thirty centimeters deep at most. The procedure is the same as for planting in the ground.
Growing Lemon Verbena
This little shrub likes to be planted in a well-drained, dry, poor and calcareous soilin hot situation, very sunny, protected from the wind and sheltered from frost. Pot culture allows it to be placed on the terrace, not far from a bay window, its scent having the reputation of repelling mosquitoes.
It is strongly recommended to install a fragrant Verbena in a medium capacity pot rather than in the ground in regions where winters are cold. In this way, this shrub, certainly perennial but not rusticcan be entered in a frost-free and bright room so that it is well protected from the harshness of certain climates. In the most southern regions, it is of course possible to install it in the ground.
Caring for a Lemon Verbena
This shrub whose height in adulthood reaches at most 1.50 m is undemanding in care and does not pose any particular problem.
The watering lemon verbena have to be very moderate, even almost non-existent once the plant is well rooted. Too humid soils are not suitable for it at all because they promote cryptogamic diseases, make this shrub more sensitive, and you should also know that a lemon verbena is much more fragrant if it is grown in rather dry soil.
Mulching only concerns lemon verbena grown in the ground. It is absolutely essential for protect the stump of this chilly shrub. Before the first frosts, take the precaution of spreading a good layer of dead leaves which, in addition to being protective, will enrich the earth with nutrients. Nothing prevents you from installing a wintering veil as well, because with this shrub, prevention is better than cure. From -3 or -4°C, the problems start at the level of the stems, and from -7°C, it is the stump that suffers seriously from the cold.
These protections must be removed when spring arrives. This is also the time to remove dead wood and cast off partly withered branches 35 cm from the base.
Pests and diseases
Lemon verbena is little affected by parasite attacks.
She is more sensitive to fungal diseases since she undergoes excessive watering or frequent. It is the same if it is planted in poorly drained soil as this favors stagnant water and, consequently, the proliferation of pathogenic fungi. In dry soil, this shrub has no particular disease.
Harvest Lemon Verbena
The lemony scent evolves between the beginning and the end of summer. In June, it is light, subtle, delicate and turns out to be much more marked in September. If one wishes dry the leavesso we can make a first harvest in June then one second in september. But it is also possible to pick the tops and leaves in the middle of the summer season to use them fresh. In this case, we collect them as needed.
They make it possible to prepare delicious infusions. However, be careful not to overuse it. Finally, note that the leaves of Lemon Verbena are neither more nor less than the famous Verbena, queen of the ray of herbal teas and infusions multiple brands. Thanks to its highly appreciated fragrance, Lemon Verbena perfectly deserves its place in a very sunny aromatic garden.