Lemon verbena is an often overlooked herb, but it shouldn’t be. With the right knowledge about growing lemon verbena as a houseplant, you can enjoy the beautiful fragrance and delicious, refreshing taste throughout the year.
Keeping Verbena Inside
Although it is also a great choice for your outdoor beds and herb gardens, a good reason to grow lemon verbena indoors is the delicious fragrance. Every time you walk by your potted verbena, touch the leaves and enjoy the lemony scent.
Having it readily on hand, you can also enjoy it any time you want in a cup of tea, in desserts, and in savory dishes. Outdoors, lemon verbena can grow quite large, but growing verbena indoors in containers is very much doable.
How to Grow Lemon Verbena Indoors
Growing what can become a very large shrub indoors does present challenges, but it is possible to make your lemon verbena thrive in an indoor container:
Choose a container. Start with a pot or other container that is about one and a half times as wide as the root ball of the plant you’ve selected, at least 12 inches (30 cm.) across. Make sure the container has drainage holes.
Soil and drainage. Good soil and drainage are important for successful verbena cultivation. Add pebbles or other drainage material to the bottom of the container and then use a rich organic soil that is loosely packed.
Sunny spot. Lemon verbena prefers full sun, so find a sunny spot for your container. Consider keeping it outside for the warmer months of the year.
Pruning. A key to growing verbena in a container is trimming it regularly to maintain a reasonable size. Prune for size and shape and also trim it back in the fall.
Water and fertilizer. Lemon verbena should be watered regularly. You never want the soil to fully dry out, but you don’t want soggy roots either, which is why drainage is so important. You can use a general fertilizer every few months to encourage growth.
Overwintering verbena. Lemon verbena plants will lose their leaves in the winter, so don’t be alarmed when your plant goes bald. This is normal, especially when keeping verbena inside. Keep watering it about once a week and the leaves will return in the spring. You can overwinter your plant and prevent leaf loss by using grow lights, but this isn’t necessary.
With an indoor lemon verbena, you can enjoy the fragrance and flavor of this delightful shrubby herb throughout the year. Dry or freeze leaves for winter use.