Lemon Verbena - How to Grow and Recipes
Lemon Verbena (Aloysia citrodora) is a woody, shrub with large, shiny oval crinkly, mid green leaves and a rather open, almost straggly habit. It is noted mainly for its outstanding lemon scented foliage which is used extensively in cooking and infusions. The young and tender leaves can be finely sliced and used raw in pestos, salsa, vinaigrettes, and marinades for meats, or they can be tossed into salads and stirred into soups.
Lemon verbena contains a variety of plant compounds that provide unique health benefits. It has been used for hundreds of years in traditional medicine to aid in the treatment of respiratory conditions, digestive issues, and more. Naturally seek medical advice before using to treatment health issues.
In summer and autumn it produces racemes of dainty mauve flowers, though it is grown as much for its lemon scented foliage as for its flowers. It is a popular garden herb so make sure you plant it somewhere where you will brush past it often to release its lovely lemon scent. Lemon Verbena is evergreen in warmer winter locations but will drop its leaves in colder locations. This plant grows best in moist, light, well-drained and fertile soils. It will need regular pruning to maintain shape as it can become rather straggly. Prune heavily in late winter.
Foliage is an excellent filler for floral arrangements.
Lemon Verbena Gin and Tonic
1 half lime
1 1/2 ounces dry gin
1 small sprig lemon verbena plus more to garnish
Juice the lime and set aside the lime juice for another purpose. Thinly slice the remaining rind and pulp, and place in a cocktail shaker with gin and lemon verbena. Muddle the ingredients together for 1 minute. Strain the gin into a highball glass filled with ice. Top off with tonic water. Garnish with a fresh sprig of lemon verbena.
Mint Tea with Lemon Verbena
1/2 cup of fresh mint leaves, washed and lightly packed (about 20 leaves)
1/2 cup of fresh lemon verbena leaves, rinsed and lightly packed (about 10-15 leaves)
2 cups of water
Bring a pot of fresh water almost, but not quite to a boil.
Put the mint and verbena leaves in a teapot. Pour the hot water over the leaves. Let sit for 3-5 minutes. Strain into tea cups.
Lemon Balm and Lemon Verbena Lemonade Syrup
450g caster sugar
600 ml water
1 lemon, cut into halves
10 large lemon balm leaves
10 Large lemon verbena leaves
1/4 teaspoon tartaric acid or 1/4 teaspoon citric acid
Place the sugar, lemon halves and water into a saucepan and heat until the sugar has completely dissolved.
Add the lemon verbena and lemon balm leaves and boil for 2 minutes; leave to cool. Add the citric or tartaric acid. Allow to cool and then cover and allow to infuse for 24 to 48 hours, depending on the strength you desire.
Sieve through a fine mesh or colander, discarding the lemon halves and the leaves , then pour into clean and sterile bottle/s; seal tightly and store in a cool dark place for several months or in the fridge for several weeks.
To use: 1 part syrup to 4 parts water or sparkling water, to taste – add more for a stronger lemon flavour or less for a more delicate flavour. Add ice, a slice of lemon and some lemon balm or lemon verbena leaves as a garnish.