Sunday, September 25, 2011
Potted Lemon Verbena
Lemon verbena, Aloysia triphylla is a favorite here. Chopped leaves added to fresh fruit salad create a flavor that is special beyond description. Tea made with lemon verbena, lemon grass and lemon balm leaves is also excellent. For several years we had difficulty finding plants at local nurseries as friends that had eaten our fruit salad depleted the limited supply. Our only plants those years were ones that we had wintered over. Now we buy three plants mail order from Richters each spring. Still we must try to carry lemon verbenas through the winter someplace inside of the house.
Zones 8 to 10 are the natural range of lemon verbena. There it grows to a good sized shrub and produces many tiny white sweet lemon scented blossoms. To say that this plant resents root disturbance is a wild understatement. This year the first plant potted lost all of the dirt around the root ball when it was removed from the garden. Potting up continued anyway and the plants were thoroughly soaked and placed in the basement. All of the leaves withered and the stem tips drooped. The plants remained in that wilted condition for days. It did not look promising. The threat of frost passed and the plants were moved outside. Then the rains came. Several days of rain brought these plants back to life. These three are the best that we have ever had at this point. White flies and suddenly dropped leaves are likely in their future but for now things are looking good.