How To Grow Lemon Verbena

Lemon Verbena

Average Days To Maturity: 60 days

Distance Between Rows: 18-24 inches

Spacing Between Plants: 12-18 inches apart

When To Plant: Charley recommends planting Lemon Verbena in mid to late April or after last frost, but experienced gardeners can plant earlier and protect the young plants with buckets and milk jugs or start them out in a cold frame or small greenhouse.

Planting Tip: When growing Lemon Balm in a pot or container, make sure there is good drainage. This can be achieved by putting a layer of gravel or small rocks in before the dirt.  If planting in the ground, keep the soil free of weeds and water it a bit so that it is moist when you plant.

Do not panic if your Lemon Verbena sheds it’s leaves in the winter or when brought indoors, it is not dead.  Give it a chance to come back in the spring before digging it up and tossing it out.

Preparation and Care: If the soil that you are planting in is poor, then work some compost into the soil.  Lemon Verbena does not like wet feet so make sure that your soil drains well.  Soil that is mostly clay is not recommended.

Make sure there is plenty of air flow around the plants to prevent rot and disease.

Watering: It is recommended that you water Lemon Verbena when the soil is dry to the touch making sure that you do not overwater.  The soil needs to have proper drainage but make sure that it retains enough water to stay moist and not soggy.

Water your garden (tomatoes and everything else) once a week with a 8-12 hour soaking. This will allow the soil to absorb an adequate amount of water and also limit the time you spend each week watering.  If you use a sprinkler to water, do this during the day so that the plants will have some time in the evening to dry out before dark. This will limit the chances of disease. If you use a soaker hose, you can water at night. Watering with a soaker hose at night is best as it limits the amount of water lost to evaporation and keeps the plants dry which limits the chances of disease. During dry periods you may need to water more often (every 4-5 days), and watering at night is important in water conservation during droughts.

Fertilizing:  Work compost or some type of fertilizer in to your soil before planting.  During the growing season you can fertilize every couple of weeks to once a month.  Lemon Verbena does not need fertilize during dormancy.  You can apply a fish emulsion or some other fertilizer in the spring to encourage growth.

Harvesting: Lemon Verbena can be harvested throughout the entire growing season.  Cut back to a leaf node but not farther back than any earlier cutting unless you take the whole branch.  If you want to enjoy the fragrance, place the stems in water either by themselves or in a bouquet.

To dry, simply hang the cut stems in bunches upside down in a dark, dry place.  Unfortunately this method will weaken the flavor a bit.  You can also freeze the leaves to use later.  One other method is to make a sugar paste.  Put 2 cups of fresh leaves in a food processor with a half to a whole cup of sugar until if forms a paste.  Place this in a freezer bag and lay flat so that it makes a thin layer when frozen.  When ready to use, just break off a chunk and crumble it over your desired dish.

Common Insect Problems

Lemon Verbena does not have many pest issues however as with many other herbs you may have the occasional issue with spider mites or whiteflies.

Common Disease Problems

Lemon Verbena is not usually bothered by diseases.

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