Have a fresh supply of Lemon Verbena at hand at all times by growing it in the pot. After going through this post, you’ll be able to grow lemon verbena in pot without any difficulty!
Scientific Name: Aloysia citriodora
Common Names: Lemon verbena, Lemon beebrush, Vervain
USDA Zones: 8-11
Lemon verbena is a fragrant herb with a shrub-like growth habitat that possesses many health benefits. It has many culinary uses, including making herbal tea, adding zest and aroma to fish and steaks, and punch of flavor to salad bowls. As it’s a perennial, you can continue to reap the benefits year after year. Growing lemon verbena in pots will save space and protect the plant in freezing conditions, especially in northern regions. So without wasting any more of your time, here is how you can grow lemon verbena in the pot.
How to Grow Lemon Verbena in Pot
Locate the plant at a spot where it receives 4-6 hours of direct sunlight. Well-draining soil rich in organic matter is ideal for growing lemon verbena. Keep the soil moist but do not overwater, or the soil will turn soggy. Choose a large pot that’s around 12-14 inches in diameter. Fertilize using an all-purpose fertilizer in the growing season twice a month. Come winters move the pot indoors to overwinter the plant.
Also Read: How to Grow Lemon Bee Balm
Propagating Lemon Verbena
Propagating lemon verbena is possible from seeds and cuttings, among which the latter is easier and has a higher rate of success. By propagating lemon verbena from stem cuttings, you’ll have ample fresh supply at hand. The step-by-step instructions to propagate lemon verbena from stem cutting are listed below.
- Take a cutting at an angle that’s around 4-6 inches just above the leaf node using a sharp and sterilized tool.
- Remove the leaves from the bottom half of the cutting so that energy is redirected towards rooting.
- Dip the end of the cutting in the rooting hormone (optional) to facilitate rooting.
- Plant the cutting in a container with a well-draining potting mix that’s moist.
- Cover up the container with a transparent plastic bag to increase humidity, and make sure to make few nicks in the bag.
- Check weekly and if the topsoil is dry, slightly moisten it and mist the cutting if leaves feel dry.
- Remove the plastic covering in 2-3 weeks as, within that time, roots will have formed.
- Continue growing the plant in the same pot or transplant it to another pot and place it in a well-lit spot.
Congratulations! You have successfully propagated lemon verbena from cutting.
Choosing the Container
Lemon verbena is a fast grower and grows pretty big, so choosing a large container for growing lemon verbena is essential. You can go for any material, but plastic pots will have the advantage of being lightweight. The pot must be at least 12-14 inches in diameter so that the plant has enough room to grow. Make sure the pot has drainage holes at the bottom.
Locate the pot at a spot where it receives full sun for around 4-6 hours. It can be a well-lit spot on your balcony, patio, or any area with ample sunlight. Grow in under grow light if there isn’t proper sunlight. Stems turning spindly and sprawling is a sign of too much shade.
Well-draining soil rich in organic matter is the way to for growing lemon verbena. Rich garden loam or even average soil can work as long as it drains well. Add leaf mold and aged compost at the time of planting to enrich the soil with organic matter.
Soil should never become completely dry, so it becomes important to water lemon verbena regularly. Also, you don’t want the soil to become soggy, so check the soil is dry around a couple of inches below the surface before watering. Waterlogged soil leads to root rot and untimely death of the plant. Do not water when the plant becomes dormant in winters.
It’ll start to lose leaves when the temperature drops to around 40 degrees F and is frost tender at 30 degrees F. In Northern regions where temperature drop is fatal, bring the pot indoors before winters. Some gardeners allow the weather to trigger lead drop and then move the container indoors to overwinter. It’ll continue to grow all year round in tropical regions where the temperature remains well above freezing.
Growing Lemon Verbena Indoors
Lemon verbena grows to 2-3 feet in height in a container and thus can be placed indoors as well. Also, you’ll be able to cultivate this herb year-round, even in winters when it’s grown indoors. Find a spot where it receives 4-6 hours of direct sunlight for proper growth. Place the pot near a south-facing window or balcony where it receives maximum sunlight. You can also move the pot around to maximize the sunlight plant receives. Pruning regularly becomes essential, especially in the growing season, as it can outgrow the pot.
Lemon Verbena Care
Lemon verbena will lose all of its leaves come winters, which is perfectly normal. During the dormant phase, keep it protected from cold drafts of wind and reduce watering as well. You can install grow light to prevent leaf loss, but it’s unnecessary as leaves will grow back again come spring.
Add slow time-release fertilizer to the potting mix at the time of planting, which will boost growth in the initial days. Once the plant is well-established, fertilize with an all-purpose water-soluble fertilizer twice a month during the growing season. Adding fish emulsion, compost, or manure tea to the potting mix are some organic ways to enrich the soil. Do not fertilize when the plant becomes dormant.
Harvesting and Pruning
Harvest lemon verbena in the growing season from spring to summer use a sharp pair of shears. Cultivate the green tender shoots just above the node, as from there, new shoots will emerge. Harvesting or pruning verbena regularly promotes new growth and prevent the stems from becoming long and leggy. Make sure to shape the plant while harvesting, so it retains the beautiful bushy form again. Harvesting or pruning becomes necessary when you grow lemon verbena in the pot to keep it contained.
Pests & Diseases
Pests such as spider mites, whiteflies, and some other common garden pests love to munch on the lemon verbena. Misting the plant with neem oil or soap solution will get rid of these pests in no time. Keep misting the plant once or twice a week to discourage these pests. Root rot is expected when the plant is overwatered, especially during the period when it’s dormant.