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University of Illinois Extension
Herb Gardening

Lemon Verbena

Lemon Verbena

Aloysia triphylla

Tender Perennial

Description

Lemon verbena is a woody shrub with narrow, glossy green leaves. It also produces small white flowers. It is an attractive plant for container growing. It has a strong lemony fragrance.

Culture

Because lemon verbena is frost sensitive, it is best grown as a container plant so it can easily be moved indoors during the winter.  Use containers with ample drainage holes and fill the container with a prepared soil mix.  Keep the media uniformly moist but avoid overwatering. Outdoors, place the plant in a full sun location.  Because lemon verbena is a heavy feeder, fertilize using a general purpose liquid fertilizer about every two weeks.  Tip cuttings of lemon verbena root easily and plants grow fast.  They benefit from occasional pruning or frequent harvest to maintain a nice form. Move the plant indoors before frost and place in a bright light area.  Water as needed to keep soil uniformly moist, but reduce the fertilizer frequency.  As the plant ages, it will develop a woody stem and foliage quality may start to decline.  Because cuttings root easily, it is suggested to discard the older plants after taking cuttings.  The new plants will provide much better foliage and often have a better appearance and be more vigorous.

Harvesting

Harvest leaves as needed throughout the season.  Leaves are used fresh or can be dried and stored in sealed containers for later use.

Use

Lemon verbena is used to flavor beverages, salads, jellies, sauces, soups, fish and meat dishes.  Its strongly lemon flavored leaves can be used where lemon is called for in recipes.

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