Thursday, March 4, 2010
Lemon Verbena, The Annual
Lemon verbena, Aloysia triphylla, is actually a tender perennial in zones 8 to 10. However some great herb nurseries sell it as an annual. In zone 4 where I live, I should go with that. Wintering over this plant indoors is tricky, but some years I get away with it. This may not be one of those years. When over wintering is sucessful I get to have large, luscious, fragrant, flowering lemon verbena plants in the garden. I have all the leaves I could want to use in cooking, or for tea. Why just weeding around these plants is a delightful experience. I really fail to understand why everyone in warmer zones doesn't have one of these magnificent plants in their garden. The plant you see here has been taken out to the compost. As far as I can tell it is dead. It would be great if that were the only problem. A new plant can easily fix that.
The two other lemon verbenas are not yet dead. They cling to life, but as you can see this lady bug is not going hungry. Lemon verbenas attract white flies like no yellow sticky trap ever could. If I were smart, I would probably compost these plants too. Instead of that I'll try putting the plants outside during the day when it's above freezing, meanwhile the area they inhabit will have to be thoroughly cleaned. Will I learn from this, and grow lemon verbena as a annual from now on? No,I'm more stubborn than that and for me the rewards outweigh the risks.
Finding lemon verbena plants locally has become a problem. Several visitors to our garden now plant it themselves. The one nursery that does stock this plant is frequently sold out. Last year we mail ordered our lemon verbenas from Richters. All of their plants were excellent and we have reordered from them again this year.