Amazing and resilient lemon verbena

Lemon verbena is such a wonderful herb - and so resilient. This plant was left at my office all summer without water. At the end of the summer it was brown, crispy dry and I thought dead. But with water it has sprouted back to life again in just a few weeks. And the new small leaves are extremely tender - tender enough to add to salads (normally the leaves are a bit tough for salads in my experience).

It’s wonderful, isn’t it! I was told at horticultural college that you absolutely can’t leave them out in winter - that as a response to my saying that I did, and that they survived it most years. :wink: They do come back rather more quickly in the spring if you can give them winter shelter, though.

This year I didn’t miss the boat, for once, for taking cuttings from them. As with most plants, you need to do so before there are flowers, but mine usually flower very quickly after coming back from their winter rest. I took 9 cuttings, 8 of which worked, and after giving several away, I now have 3 new plants as well as my 3 big old ones.

Thanks for reminding me - I haven’t harvested any leaves yet for my evening tea…

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Wow, that’s great!
Wouldn’t have thought that’s possible, my experience is that they do need rather a lot of water …
Hope it has enough strength to survive the coming winter!

So much is a matter of microclimate. In my frost pocket they rarely make it through in a pot out of doors, however well drained, and never in the ground, even against the house wall. And they won’t flower for me even in the polytunnel or greenhouse, although they flowered beautifully indoors and out and survived well in the ground when I was running a garden on a free draining south facing slope, and do so pretty much anywhere in Dublin city. But we could afford to buy our 3 acre frost pocket with its regular floods within an easy commute so we did and adapt accordingly, having gradually built our way up from a square yard, to fifteen square yards, and so on. But for many plants we have to grow in containers - Very few herbs other than parsley will overwinter in the ground without at least raising the bed and putting in a lot of drainage in our conditions. We lose common sage, let alone the coloured leaf types often as not and thyme goes some years! Something I find crucial with lemon verbena survival is pruning times. Not more than the lightest of trims during dormancy, leaving harder pruning until they are properly into spring growth. Rachel, are you taking hard or softwood cuttings?

You’re so right about micro-climates making a huge difference!

“Rachel, are you taking hard or softwood cuttings?”

You’ve got me there, but I’m pretty sure they were softwood. I’ll make better notes next year! :wink:

I was in Paris last June, and bought one bedraggled plant from the supermarket with a very small pot. I transplanted it as soon as I got home to a larger pot and it became a monster in a few weeks in the balcony, in full sun. It survived all the heat wave weeks in Paris despite forgetting to water it every now and then :sweat_smile:. It’s a survival. So I brought back A few cuttings to Jeddah and most have survived. I put them in a shady place in the garden because it can not tolerate the summer here. But it is doing great in the shade. It got infested with red spider mites but I started spraying the leaves with a liquid fertiliser and it got rid of the spiders :+1:t2: I love the lemon scent and use it mostly as a tea :coffee:

I took soft woof cuttings and put some in a glass of water and some in potting soil. Both methods work well :+1:t2:

Thanks - that’s good to know. :slight_smile:

I have found that French tarragon also comes back to life after being neglected (not on purpose) and allowed to dry out and look dead.