Boy! Getting this plant to grow was driving me crazy.
Lemon verbena is one of the most rewarding, refreshingly delightful herbs worth having. Why was growing it giving me problems, I just didn't know.
At least I can boast rather pathetically that I still have the original plant that has died on me several times, or rather it fooled me into thinking it was dead.
Early in the summer I bought a well established plant.
I kept it in the pot, placed it in a sunny position and gave it plenty of water. It thrived for a while but then one by one the leaves started to fall off.
I tried watering it less but that made things worse. I changed the pot and compost because I thought it may have root rot and then placed it in semi-shade but still no change.
Eventually all the leaves came off so I gave up and tossed it aside. All winter it lay there on its side until one early Spring morning.
I was busy doing a garden clean-up in preparation for the growing season and came across it still lying there.
But then, to my surprise, the herb had sprung back to life! There were tiny small leaves growing on all the branches.
I thought it was giving me a second chance until I did some research on how to grow this fabulous herb. I had been going about it all wrong and had been totally April fooled.
It's looking good so far! This plant does need care to grow well in cooler climates so here is the low-down on how to grow it.
Take cuttings from fresh tips in late Spring. They will root quick in a protective environment like your house or greenhouse. You also have the choice of buying plugs ready to grow indoors and plant out after the last of the frost has passed.
Choose an alkaline, free draining and light potting mix. If you can get hold of it, add a little puma stone grit for retaining some moisture, helping drainage and airing of roots.
Place them in a sunny position that is almost a frost free location. If such a place doesn't exist in your garden, keep the plant in a pot so it can be moved to a greenhouse in winter for protection.
Feed Lemon verbena! I know, herbs usually prefer poorer soils but not this baby. It thrives when nourished with a good fertilizer. Tomato plant or other vegetable fertilizer is recommended at the manufacturers mixing instructions.
As the plant grows it will shoot out long drooping branches illustrated in the photo above.
Time to harvest by snipping these branches about half way just above a pair of new leaves. Don't pick off individual leaves.
Lemon Verbena will shed its leaves at the end of the season. This is normal! It's time to place it in a greenhouse or even bring it indoors to winter.
It needs very little water at the leafless stage so only give it a few small sprinkles throughout the winter months. To revive it in Spring, mist it with warm tepid water.
If the leaves drop in the Spring or mid-summer this is not normal!
In the event that a disaster like this strikes your plant, don't be fooled like me into thinking it's died the death. Read the troubleshooter below to learn more!
Problem – The plant is dropping leaves
It's the end of Autumn.
If it's Spring you're over-watering it.
If it's Summer you're under-watering it.
The soil is too compact.
The roots are being disturbing while changing pots.
Sudden swings in temperature.
Problem – Leggy branches
Lack of pruning.
Problem – Chewed or shrivelled leaves
Possibly caused by spider mites, caterpillars, or white fly.
Problem – Dead plant
You didn`t find this troubleshooter in time.
A word of wisdom! Don`t be quick to throw the plant away. Put it somewhere dry and sheltered. You never know, it might just surprise you yet!
Hint of Herbs is where you will get to know me a whole lot better as I busy about in my daily life. Read short snippets of herb garden related topics. Little interesting things that don`t normally find their way onto my pages.
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