If you are a voracious tea drinker and love to making tea by using different combinations of herbs. Then you need to grow your own herb rather than purchasing from the market, which gives you a very healthy fresh taste rather than purchased dry herbs. Lemon verbena is one of those herbs. Which you can grow in your own garden and even in your house by using a pot.
In this article, I will assist you, how to grow your own lemon verbena plant.
It is a perennial herb which normally grown as an annual herb. The plant grows into a shrubby plant that shows vigorous growth by regular pruning to stay it from getting leggy. moreover, through regular trimming, it will give you lots of citrusy leaves to be used in beverages and dishes. Try steeping leaves in plight then enjoy the resulting tea hot or cold. You can also mince the leaves and use them to flavor fish and vegetable dishes.
Although it is good to grow verbena in outdoor beds like a garden herb you can also grow lemon verbena indoor due to its fascinating fragrance. Every time when you walk by your potted verbena, just touch the leaves and luxuriate in the lemony scent. Having it readily there, you will be able to enjoy it by using it in different desserts and savory dishes. Outdoors, lemon verbena can grow quite large but growing verbena indoor in containers is extremely much doable.
Historical Profile of the plant:
Lemon verbena is one in every 30 species of aromatic shrubs within the genus Aloysia and family Verbenaceae. They are native to the hotter climate. Its botanical name has undergone a cycle of changes within the two centuries since it had been introducing to England as Verbena triphylla. Its lemon scent was the source of an alternate name Verbena citriodora. After that, a Spanish researcher assigned it to genus Aloysia because of its fruit separate into two nutlets, whereas the fruit of Verbena species separates into four. The plant was called A. citriodora until it had been moved again within the early nineteenth century and now to genus Lippia. Though lemon verbena is usually still offered as L. citriodora, it is long been reassigned to the genus Aloysia. Now as A. triphylla. The species name describes the characteristics whorls of three leaves that form along the stems. Not uncommonly, however, the whorls incorporate four leaves, sometimes on the whole plant and sometimes just on certain stems.
Lemon verbena may be a perennial shrub or subshrub which grows up to the height of 2-3 meters or 6.6- 9.8 ft high. The leaves are long glossy with pointed end are about 8cm length. They are slightly rough to touch and emit a powerful lemon scent when bruised just like epithet citrodora lemon-scented.
In late spring or early summer, a spray of small purple and white flower appear on the plant. Although if you grow in a pot then it will not flower because they move to floral growth as they complete certain vegetative growth while in a pot it cannot be achieved due to regular pruning. It is an evergreen plant when cultivating under tropical conditions and is sensitive to cold. they lose their leaves as they subjected to a temperature below 0oC and move toward wood hardiness as temperature drop to -10oC. Pruning is suggested in spring to encourage a bushy form. Due to its many culinary uses, it is widely listed and marketed as an essential plant for the garden.
Uses of lemon verbena:
Lemon verbena leaves are known for adding lemon flavor to fish and poultry dishes, vegetable marinades, salad dressings, jams, puddings, and greek yogurt and beverages. The leaves are also utilized in potpourri. They are employed to create herbal teas and as a liqueur flavoring. It is utilized in traditional herbal medicine. The oil was historically steam distilled from the leaves to be used within the perfume industry. It has also skin sensitizing and phototoxic properties.
How to cultivate?
Here are certain steps for the better cultivation of lemon verbena plant.
When it comes to cultivation, first thing came into the mind where to cultivate? You can cultivate lemon verbena plant in a raised bed of garden or even the inside pot of your home. If you prefer to start with a pot or other container that is about one and half times as wide because the root ball of the plant you have selected have a minimum of 13 inches’ length across. Always make sure that the container should have a drainage hole for the proper drainage of water otherwise it may cause rotting of roots.
Each plant has its own requirement which many depend on the type of root system of that plant. You cannot use ordinary garden soil for the growth of the lemon verbena plant. The soil should be loosely packed with good aeration and drainage properties for the vigorous growth of the plant. Lemon verbena grows best in loose, well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. Proper drainage is the most important factor of all characteristics. Neither clay nor very acidic soils are hospitable to lemon verbena. You can make the cultivate able by adding plenty of sand and a bit of lime in the soil which is the most effective remedies. Though moisture-retentive soil is commonly recommended waterlogged condition is not preferring because they will rot the roots of the plants by continuous wetting.
Always maintain spacing among plant to plant is about 1’1” each way. While distance among two-row should be 1’5”.
Sowing always starts with a purchased plant or obtain a stem tip cutting from a follower and root it in late spring. Cutting and divisions are best taken when plants are emerging from dormancy in late spring. Lemon verbena is often grown as a specimen plant during a container a minimum of 12 inches in diameter. A mature plant grown during a sunken container will occupy an area of 18 inches square if well staked but still expect lanky growth that responds well to every month trimming.
Lemon verbena could be a tender perennial plant. Its roots are frost sensitive so always care about them and avoid freezing. In most climates, it is best grown in a very container that may be kept in a very cool but not freezing environment. These plants normally move to a dormancy period in extreme winter.
Always ensure adequate drainage, lemon verbena can tolerate a good range of watering regimes. To err on the dry side seems to be most advisable, but observation and familiarity are the most effective tools for determining water needs. If you reside in a very cold climate and conceive to winter your lemon verbena outdoors, you ought to withhold water as freezing weather approaches in order that the plant can harden off then the roots would not be wet after they freeze. The plant will need little to no water while it is dormant whether indoor or out.
Always fertilize lemon verbena as you are done with another herb plant. You have to apply proper fertilizer every period indoor or every four weeks within the garden when the plant is growing vigorously. The quantity should be lessening during the time of slower growth and not in case of dormancy. In spring, which follows winter dormancy some gardeners apply fish emulsion or other fertilizer to encourage growth.
Lemon verbena needs full sunshine, just like a flower and other garden plants needed. Always grow your lemon verbena plant where they will be no shade of surrounding tree or building. The plant that mostly grows indoor as houseplant may have supplemental artificial lighting to forestall lanky growth and leaf drop.
In its innate South America, lemon verbena plants grow in a sunny, frost-free climate. Temperatures below 40 F will activate leaf drop and dormancy. Plants grow well in dry or humid climates.
Potting and Repotting:
Pot up your lemon verbena in rich potting soil. Amend the soil with mold or composted manure to confirm a healthy start. Potted plants moving indoors for the winter will lose many leaves. Repot plants within the spring before new growth begins.
Propagating lemon verbena:
Lemon verbena is propagated in the same way as other woody herbs like rosemary and lavender by taking semi-ripe cuttings. Snip a flower free stem above a leaf node. Remove all the top two sets of leaves and insert the cutting into a moist, sterile potting mix. Keep the moisture in soil until new leaves begin to form and transplant into a sunny site with good drainage.
The plant grows up to a height of 2-3 ft. as you prefer to grow lemon verbena indoor then cut down by pruning. The outdoor plant is frost-free climates; the shrub can reach a height of eight feet. Over a period of time, the shrub can get woody and lanky. Cut the half of the plant back in early spring to encourage compact, bushier growth.
Protection from Pest:
Lemon verbena growing outdoor under full sunshine and highly enriched nutrient soil are rarely plagued by pests. When the plant brought indoor to overcome the winter injury, the spider mites and whiteflies seems to be drawn to the plant as they struggle to acclimate to weaker light and less humidity. Mist plants frequently to disrupt the dry conditions that spider mites enjoy. Put out yellow sticky traps if whiteflies congregate.
Toxicity of lemon verbena:
Lemon verbena is mildly toxic to dogs, cats, and horses causing upset stomach and colic. The little amounts that one would use in cooking do not present a problem, but the ingestion of the concentrated oil causes toxic effects.
You can harvest the leathery leaves of lemon verbena anytime for recipes. Because the leaves are tough, you have to mince them finely if you intend to consume them. You will also infuse sauce, oil, sugar or tea with whole leaves. The little blossoms of lemon verbena also carry its fragrance and may be employed in the same way as the leaves.
Hopefully, through this article now you are able to grow your own lemon verbena plant and use it in tea and other different dishes.
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