Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Growing Lemon Verbena

One of our customers recently emailed with questions about growing lemon verbena - so we thought we would share the info with everyone:

Lemon verbena (Aloysia triphylla) is a must have herb: The heavenly, lemon scented (and flavoured) leaves are cherished for tea (hot or cold). Lemon verbena thrives in full sun, and a potting soil rich in organic matter. The branches of lemon verbena will triple at every point where you snip them - so harvest often!

Lemon verbena is a shrub from South American, and therefore must be wintered indoors below USDA zone 9. However, lemon verbena is deciduous and typically drops its leaves during the low light months. This is a critical point; we have heard from many sad gardeners lamenting the death of their plant over winter indoors (where as the plant was simply demonstrating its natural dormancy). Dormancy lasts one to three months, during which time you should water weekly and never fertilize. The only way to prevent winter dormancy for lemon verbena is to grow it under grow lights left on 18 hours/day.

During the active growing seasons of spring and fall, water and fertilize lemon verbena regularly. Plants can grow into well-branched plants over 24 inches tall in one season. Small white flowers often occur in late summer, and have a perfumey, delicate lemon fragrance. If planning to winter indoors, grow in 6 inch and larger pots with drainage holes.

Pests can be an issue when growing lemon verbena indoors; watch for spider mites and white flies. As a precaution, we recommend rinsing plants under fast flowing fresh water every two weeks.

Lemon verbena can be harvested at any time in the active growing season, and is equally wonderful fresh or dried.

For more information, please visit the Sage Garden Herbs info page for lemon verbena at .

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