Capitol Corridor
University of California
Capitol Corridor

Lemony Goodness

My lemon verbena (Aloysia triphylla) shrub is planted near a window and has a very strong lemon scent when you brush by it or when the wind blows  (here in Fairfield, which is most of the time.)  If the window is open the lemon scent comes into the room.

The shrub is pruned to about 6 feet , I try to keep it to 5-6 feet tall and about 2 feet wide, if I did not keep it at the height it would grow to about 8 feet.  In lemon verbena’s native country of South America, it can grow to 15 feet tall. If you let them get too tall and wide they tend to get very messy looking.  This shrub is planted where it gets only the late afternoon sun, but the Sunset Western Garden Book says they need full sun.

They do like a lot of water and good drainage to keep them looking their best. I have not seen any pest on my shrub, but they can be bothered by whitefly and spider mites.  Spraying with an insecticidal soap will help with that problem.

In the spring and early summer, it has small white flowers on the end of the branches. Even after the flowers fade the left-over flower inflorescences are interesting to look at.  This shrub goes dormant in the winter, and that is when it gets it heavy pruning. I take it down to about 2 feet above the ground, knowing it will come back stronger the next year, so far this 8 year old shrub has not failed that test.

I bring some of the branches, with the flowers, into the house put them in a vase with other flowers if I have them. If not, I just use the lemon verbena stems in the vase helps to release the lemon fragrance into the room. They will last about a week this way.

This is a very easy plant to propagate. Doing it in summer with a soft wood cutting and putting into potting soil, should bring new starts in about 2 months.

Lemon verbena flowers. (photos by Betty Victor)
Lemon verbena flowers. (photos by Betty Victor)

Lemon verbena plant.
Lemon verbena plant.

Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 10:31 AM


I love my lemon verbena. I unfortunately have had a problem with one, and only one pest. The weevil. It started about 3 years ago, and we have had a problem with these extremely destructive pests every summer since. They have wiped out so many plants that I actually leave certain plants in their line of destruction in order to save other plants. Unfortunately, my lemon verbena is right in their path. I did tons of research and other then physically shaking off of your plants and stepping of them (which is extremely hard to do in the dirt or grass), parasitic nematodes are the only other solution with out using something that is extremely toxic. I now have my nematodes and will try them when we get temps 70 or below at night. Wish me luck and pray you never end up with weevils.

Posted by Dana Manas on August 10, 2013 at 3:53 PM

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