With a lemon verbena bush in a sunny spot in the garden, you are never more than a few steps away from a fragrant cup of herbal tea. Aloysia citrodora suffers silently if you cut off a branch or two for its leaves.
Lemon verbena is a bushy, flowering perennial that is an essential backbone of any herb garden. Its aromatic sweetness can be distilled into syrups for desserts and cocktails and for centuries has been used medicinally in tonics. Today’s fearless forager florists gather armloads to use as greenery in loose, flowing floral arrangements. In Victorian England, lemon verbena leaves wrapped in a handkerchief gave relief from summer heat.
Lemon verbena is sensitive to frost; in colder climates where winter temperatures dip below 30 degrees Fahrenheit, bring it indoors to live as a temporary houseplant. It won’t mind the pot, and you’ll love petting its leaves for the scent.