Lemon shrub, lemon verbena - care and propagation

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lemon verbena

It is a feast for the senses, because a lemon Verbena enchants with fragrant foliage, delicate flowers and a vitalizing aroma. In the arrangement of the herb garden the lemon shrub thus easily takes over a dominant part, if a gardener lets it. Its natural growth height of more than 2 meters rarely reaches the kitchen herb; too diverse are the uses in drinks, food or fragrance potpourries. Lemon verbena does not mind a daily harvest anyway. The following lines will introduce you to uncomplicated care and reproduction.


  • Plant Family of Vervain Family (Verbenaceae)
  • Name of the species: Lemon shrub (Aloysia citrodora)
  • Other names: lemon verbena, lemon bush
  • Deciduous, perennial shrub
  • Located in South America
  • Temperature minimum - 5 degrees Celsius
  • Intense lemon scent as an outstanding attribute
  • White to off-white flower spikes from June to August
  • Growth height from 2 to (rarely) 6 meters
  • Use as a spice, fragrance and ornamental plant
In the natural garden of the lemon shrub is often settled as a much frequented butterfly and bee pasture.


The heart of a successful care is the choice of a suitable location for a lemon shrub. In combination with an adequate substrate, all other aspects are reduced to a manageable framework. This is how the ideal location should be:
  • Full sun, sunny to partially shaded
  • Protected from heavy gusts of wind and pattering rain

Soil and substrate

lemon verbena

In the local regions hobby gardeners favor the tub culture for their lemon shrub. However, there is no reason not to settle the beautiful shrub in the bed throughout the summer.
  • Humoser, well-drained garden soil
  • Happy fresh-moist to sandy-loose
  • Neutral to minimally alkaline pH
In the pot, the lemon scent shrub stretches its roots in high-quality potting soil, which has a good water storage. This is best achieved by the addition of perlite, lava granules or vermiculites. The substrate does not dry out so quickly without unwanted waterlogging could form.
Tip: Smart hobby gardeners put the lemon verbena and pot in the ground. So the plant spends the summer in the rich garden soil and is easy to get out for the relocation to winter quarters.

Pouring and fertilizing

The water supply is closely related to the site conditions. The sunnier the location, the higher the water requirement. In order to strike the right balance here, the classic thumb sample serves as a proven indicator. Press your finger a few inches deep into the substrate. If the surface feels dry, it is poured. In the terracotta pot on the wind-swept balcony this is of course more common than in the protected shade of the garden.
  • Keep the potting soil constantly moist
  • Do not pour over leaves and flowers
  • Ideally water in the early morning or late evening
Ice-cold water from the pipe even gives the robust lemon shrub a cold shock. Use stale water, which could adapt to the ambient temperature for some time.
Two aspects are in the focus of adequate nutrient supply: Lemon verbena require plenty of energy for the production of their extensive biomass. The leaves intended for consumption should not be contaminated with chemicals. The requirements are met by organic fertilizer, which has long dominated in a variety of ways in the modern hobby garden. Especially recommended here are compost, grained cattle or horse manure, guano in stick or cone shape and worm compost. The problem of administration in the planter is solved by liquid compost, plant jellies or worm tea. In addition, the specialized trade offers a range of organic liquid preparations.
  • Organic fertilizer every 14 days from April to August
  • Never apply fertilizer to dry substrates
From the second half of August, the gift of additional nutrients will end, so that the lemon bush can prepare for the coming winter.


lemon verbena

Given a temperature minimum of -5 degrees Celsius, the lemon shrub by European standards is considered not hardy. This frosty cold resists the plant only for a short time, so that at least an early onset of winter or delayed ground frosts do not mean the same. Nevertheless, lemon verbena has the potential for successful wintering under the following conditions:
  • Shorten all shoots by 75 percent before the first frost
  • In winter quarters it is dark, with temperatures between -2 and +5 degrees Celsius
  • As a rule, the plant sheds its entire leaves dress
  • The brighter the light conditions, the warmer the room temperature
  • Pour now and then
  • Do not give fertilizer
In the spring, you gradually get used to the lemon verbena in brighter lighting conditions, until it tolerates the full sun. In parallel, the amount of irrigation water increases and the first administration of fertilizer takes place. Remove all stems that have not weathered the winter. In May, the spice plant starts the new season with a first bud.
Tip: When harvesting, the entire shoot is always cut to pluck the leaves. This prudence promotes extra bushy growth.


From a plant that gives so much pleasure, every gardener wants to cultivate several copies. For propagation, there are several approaches that do not stumble, even for beginners:


If a lemon shrub is in the zenith of its efficiency during the summer, experienced hobby gardeners will not pass up this time unused. If cuttings are cut, independent plants develop within a short time from the small powerhouses. Here's how to do it:
  • The ideal cut is half timbered, 10-12 inches long and has several leaves
  • Defoliate the lower half of the shoot and halve the foliage of the upper half
  • Small pots fill with nutrient-poor soil, such as peat sand or Kokoshum
  • Insert one branch at a time so that at least 1 pair of sheets is visible
  • Moisten the substrate and put a plastic hood over it with wooden sticks as a spacer
In the partially shaded spot, the cuttings roam quickly at temperatures between 18 and 25 degrees Celsius. The substrate must not dry out during this time. If the offspring presents a fresh sprouting, while first roots grow out of the bottom opening, the propagation proceeds successfully. The cover is ventilated more and more often until it gives way completely. Until next spring, a beautiful lemon verbena has developed, which will deliver an aromatic harvest from June.


lemon verbena

Anyone who is familiar does not bother to cut and care for cuttings. At the beginning of summer one year old shoots can alternatively be used as a sinker. To do this, pull a healthy twig to the ground, loosen the soil, and create a 10-centimeter-deep furrow. Here you put a part of the shoot, dig it in and fix it with stones. While the mother plant continues to supply nutrients to the sinker, it roots in the soil. In autumn, cut off the young plant and plant it in a pot for wintering. The lemon verbena is planted from mid-May.


Sowing of the seeds is possible throughout the year. Since in winter, due to the lack of light, the seedlings often hurry, spring from March / April is considered a suitable date for this form of propagation.
  • Fill a seedbed with a lean substrate, such as unfertilized unit soil
  • Mix the dusty seeds with bird sand and sprinkle
  • The light germs a maximum of 0.5 inches oversized with sand or vermiculite
  • Sprinkle with water and cover with glass or foil
Until germination, sow the seeds on the partially shaded window seat at 20 degrees Celsius. The young plants are pikiert, if they have over 2 to 3 genuine leaf pairs.
ConclusionThe lemon bush completes the creative plant composition of the herb garden. When its lemony clouds of scent rise all over the garden and the green leaves provide refreshing drinks and delicious food, you've done everything right. The way there is not difficult, because care and reproduction are easy to do. A sunny location, a balanced supply of water and nutrients are sufficient for a lemon verbena. Cuttings, seeders and seeds provide additional specimens of this wonderful fragrance and herb plant.

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