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Edibles Grow Sheets

Lemon Verbena

  • Scientific Name
    Aloysia triphylla (Lippia citriodora)
  • General Information

    Lemon verbena is a popular shrub that grows 15 feet tall in the tropics, usually shorter in northern California. Evergreen in frost-free areas. Foliage is cherished for sweet, fresh, lemony scent. Leaves and flowers are used for culinary purposes, perfumes, cosmetics, potpourris, and herbal medicines. Native to Chile and Argentina.

  • When to Plant

    Plant in spring after last frost.

  • Planting

    Begin with a potted plant rather than starting from seed. Plant in full to part sun. Protect from wind or stake to keep upright. Consider placing near a warm wall. Lemon verbena can be grown in a container, which will reduce its size. Make sure there are drainage holes in the container, as they don't like "wet feet." Rotate the pot to keep from becoming lopsided.

  • Soil Requirements

    Prefers fertile, well-drained soil. Amend clay soils with organic matter prior to planting.

  • Water Requirements

    Provide moderate water in warm summer months.

  • Fertilizing

    Fertilization is not necessary if soil has been well-prepared prior to planting.

  • Pollination

    The herb is best consumed prior to flower set. Flowers are pollinated by insects. May bloom in summer with small white to lavender flowers. Flowers are hermaphrodite, i.e. they have both male and female organs.

  • Harvesting

    Pinch tips to use newest leaves as needed anytime through summer. For drying, harvest in August by clipping branches to improve shape and control size. Snip branches with flowers to use in floral arrangements.

  • Storage

    Dry leaves at room temperature. Store in airtight container.

  • Good Varieties for Marin
    N / A
  • Helpful Tips

    Lemon verbena can grow up to 10 feet tall, so consider size at maturity when planting. If necessary to maintain size, prune back in mid to late summer.


  • Common Problems

    Can become leggy. Prune often to shape and reduce size.

    Cold weather can cause leaf drop and branches to die. Prune out dead branches in spring when plant begins to leaf out. This is also a good time to thin branches and shape the plant.

  • Pests- Diseases & More

    Lemon verbena does not have many serious problems, but aphids, whiteflies, mealy bugs and spider mites may be of occasional concern.