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Monterey Bay Spice Company

Bulk Herbs & Spices

01.
Lemon verbena: A Bit of Botany
a little botanical information on lemon verbena

description
Lemon verbena is a perennial shrub or subshrub of the Verbenaceae family that grows to 2–3 m high. The 8 cm long glossy, pointed leaves are slightly rough to the touch and when bruised they emit a powerful scent reminiscent of lemon.

The lemon verbena plant is sensitive to cold. It will lose leaves at temperatures below 0 °C (32 °F). Leaves are opposite or in whorls of three. Plants will grow to 10-15’ tall in the tropics, but can be limited to to 2-4’ tall in containers.

Aromatic, white to pale lilac flowers will bloom from mid-summer to early fall, but they have little ornamental significance; and note that cntainer plants may not bloom at all. Plants are evergreen in tropical/warm winter locations but deciduous in areas where freezing temperatures occur.

common names & nomenclature
The common names with “lemon” are (as you might deduce) in reference to the lemon scent given off when the leaves are bruised.

Also known as:
aloysia triphylla, lippia citriodora, lippia triphylla, verbena citriodora and verbena triphylla, lemon verbena, lemon beebrush, lemon bee bush, vervain


02.
Lemon verbena: Where in the World
habitat and range for lemon verbena

Lemon verbena is native to western South America, namely Argentina and Chile.

03.
Lemon verbena: Cultivation & Harvesting
considerations for growing and harvesting lemon verbena

climate
Requires a sunny, warm, damp climate. Grows well in fields, roadways and open scrub. Lemon verbena is a tall, showy herb often grown in herb gardens. This plant is a good choice for pathways where the leaves can be brushed and their lemony scent released.

soil
Lemon verbena is best grown in moist, light, well-drained fertile loam soil.

growing
Sow the seed in a greenhouse in late spring. Only just cover the seed and keep in a light position, making sure the compost does not dry out. When large enough to handle, transplant seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out in early summer and give some protection from the cold for at least their first winter outdoors. Can also take cuttings of softwood in May or June. Grow on for at least their first winter in a greenhouse and plant out in late spring after the last expected frosts.

harvesting
Harvest lemon verbena leaves while the plant is in flower, dry for later use.

preserving
Store dried lemon verbena leaves in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

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