Lemon Verbena Info: How To Grow Lemon Verbena For Tea
The first thing to know about growing lemon verbena for tea is that it’s not easy. You have to start with a good soil mix and you need plenty of sunlight. A sunny location will produce the best results because the sun’s rays are strong enough to dry out your leaves without burning them.
You’ll also want to make sure that there isn’t too much water in your potting mixture. Too little and the plant won’t get enough light or air circulation. Too much moisture and the roots may rot from lack of oxygen.
Once you’ve got all those things right, then you’re ready to go!
How To Grow Lemon Verbena For Tea – Step By Step Instructions
1) Choose Your Site And Time Of Year
Choose a sunny site away from direct sunlight. If you live in a hot climate, choose a cooler location during the winter months. Avoid areas with high humidity or areas with frequent rainstorms.
These conditions could cause the leaves to burn easily. Also avoid places that are prone to flooding such as ponds and streams. In a colder climate you can harvest leaves all year round. In a warmer climate, wait until the early spring and then harvest through late fall.
2) Choose Your Container Or Pot
In order to grow lemon verbena for tea you will need to grow it in a container that can be placed in the sun or at least in a well lit area. The container should have good drainage but also be able to retain some moisture. A container that is at least 15cm deep is best.
A wooden box or chest works very well. You can also use a clay, glass or plastic pot. If using a wooden, clay or plastic pot you’ll need to line it with a black plastic garbage bag. This helps prevent the pot from over-heating in the sun and killing the plant.
You can grow lemon verbena from cuttings, seeds or you can divide an existing plant. If you’re planting in the ground then the plant should be set out just after the last spring frost. If the ground is still frozen, then the plant can be set out as soon as you can get to it because it is a hardy plant and won’t experience any transplant shock.
3) Prepare Your Soil
Lemon verbena grows best in a well-draining sandy soil that is rich with organic matter. It can be grown in a container that has been filled with a good potting soil or one that has been mixed with peat and sand. If you’re mixing your own, incorporate 3 parts sand, 2 parts loamy soil and 1 part peat moss.
4) Plant Your Lemon Verbena
Make sure the soil is well draining. Wet soil will cause the plant to rot. Fill your container most of the way with soil mix.
This will leave enough room for the plant to be set down without damaging its roots.
Firm the soil around the root ball and make sure there are no air pockets around the root ball. Add or remove soil as needed.
Place your plant in an area that receives full sun or at least an hour of sunlight every day. Make sure that the plant is placed away from any direct wind or it could damage delicate leaves.
Water the plant well and add mulch around the container to maintain soil moisture.
5) Water And Mulch
You want to water the plant regularly but don’t want to keep it wet. The soil should be moist, not soaked. If you’re not sure, stick your finger into the soil up to the first knuckle.
If it feels damp then don’t water yet. If it is dry, then water.
Don’t allow the plant to dry out. If you can’t water it because there has been a drought then you should take it indoors or place a container full of water next to it so that it can absorb the water through its roots.
It should experience at least one hard freeze in the winter so that it will go dormant and prevent it from getting sickly. After the first hard freeze, you can mulch around the container to keep the soil extra moist.
6) Know When It’s Time To Harvest
Lemon verbena leaves are ready to harvest just as the pink buds start to open. If picked at this time, the leaves can be dried and used all year round.
Harvesting The Herb:
When the pink buds first begin to open, cut the leafstalks and place the harvested leaves in a dry location out of direct sunlight. Press the leaves gently between two books for several hours after cutting. This will help to release extra moisture from the leaves making them easier to dry.
Don’t stack more than a few leaves thick between the books or they will steam and rot.
Once they are dry, lightly crush the leaves to release their oils and store in a glass jar out of direct sunlight until needed for recipes.
Now that you know how to grow lemon verbena it should be easy enough for you to enjoy all the benefits that this hardy herb can offer.
The fresh leaves can be used in iced teas, fruit salads and to flavor meats.
The dried leaves can be used to make herb butters, added to potpourri and sachets, and sprinkled over cakes for a unique flavor.
Leaves can also be juiced along with the fruit and the juice can be frozen for future use.
Dried leaves can even be used to replace lemon peel in recipes such as lemonade or other beverages.
The uses are numerous and you’ve got the whole growing year to play around with different uses for this versatile herb.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed learning how to grow lemon verbena and that you’ll have success in your own garden.
If you plan to grow this herb indoors in containers, be sure to harden off the plants before placing them outdoors. This means that you gradually expose the plants to outdoor conditions over a one to two week period.
This will prevent leaf drop and promote survival outdoors for the winter months.
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Sources & references used in this article:
Evaluation of global yield, composition, antioxidant activity and cost of manufacturing of extracts from lemon verbena (Aloysia triphylla [L’herit.] Britton) and mango … by CG Pereira, MAA Meireles – Journal of Food Process …, 2007 – Wiley Online Library
Identification of the genotype from the content and composition of the essential oil of lemon verbena (Aloysia citriodora Palau) by A Gil, CM Van Baren, PM Di Leo Lira… – Journal of agricultural …, 2007 – ACS Publications
Metabolaid® combination of lemon verbena and hibiscus flower extract prevents high-fat diet-induced obesity through AMP-activated protein kinase activation by YS Lee, WK Yang, HY Kim, B Min, N Caturla, J Jones… – Nutrients, 2018 – mdpi.com
Terpene chemistry of Lemon verbena (Aloysia citriodora): natural variation and response to ecological and agricultural variables by RE Chapman – 2009 – getd.libs.uga.edu
Relationships Between Chemical Structure and Antioxidant Activity of Isolated Phytocompounds from Lemon Verbena by N Sánchez-Marzo, J Lozano-Sánchez… – Antioxidants, 2019 – mdpi.com
Qualitative and Quantitative Changes in the Essential Oil of Lemon Verbena (Lippia citriodora) as Affected by Drying Condition by R Shahhoseini, H Ghorbani, SR Karimi, A Estaji… – Drying …, 2013 – Taylor & Francis
Leaf nutrient concentration standards for lemon verbena (Aloysia citrodora Paláu) obtained from field and pot fertilization experiments by S Afonso, M Arrobas, IQ Ferreira… – Journal of applied research …, 2018 – Elsevier
15 Herbs for Tea: Storey’s Country Wisdom Bulletin A-184 by M Sebastiano – 1998 – books.google.com
Effect of ozone on the microbiological status of five dried aromatic plants by M Kazi, FF Parlapani, IS Boziaris… – Journal of the …, 2018 – Wiley Online Library