Lemon verbena is a shrubby herb that grows like crazy with very little help. However, cutting back lemon verbena every so often keeps the plant neat and prevents a leggy, spindly appearance. Not sure how to prune lemon verbena? Wondering when to prune lemon verbena? Read on!
How to Trim Lemon Verbena
The best time for cutting back lemon verbena is in spring, shortly after you see new growth. This is the main pruning of the year and will encourage new, bushy growth.
Remove winter damage and dead stems down to ground level. Cut old, woody growth down to about 2 inches (5 cm.) from the ground. This may sound harsh, but don’t worry, lemon verbena rebounds quickly.
If you don’t want lemon verbena to spread too much, spring is also a good time to pull up stray seedlings.
Lemon Verbena Trimming in Early Summer
If the plant begins to look leggy in late spring or early summer, go ahead and shorten the plant by about one-quarter of its height after the first set of blooms appear.
Don’t worry if you remove a few flowers, as your efforts will be repaid with lush blooms beginning in two or three weeks and continuing throughout summer and autumn.
Trim Lemon Verbena throughout the Season
Snip lemon verbena for use in the kitchen as often as you like throughout the season, or remove an inch or two (2.5-5 cm.) to prevent sprawl.
Lemon Verbena Pruning in Fall
Remove seed heads to keep rampant growth in check, or leave the wilted blooms in place if you don’t mind if the plant spreads.
Don’t trim lemon verbena too much in autumn, although you can trim lightly to tidy up the plant about four to six weeks before the first expected frost. Cutting back lemon verbena later in the season can stunt growth and make the plant more susceptible to frost.