Verbena plants aren’t just ornamental additions to the garden. Many types have a long history of use both in the kitchen and medicinally. Lemon verbena is a powerful herb used to add a citrusy touch to tea and other beverages, jams and jellies, fish and meat dishes, sauces, salads, and even butter. The lemony flavor, along with the attractive appearance and delightful scent, makes lemon verbena a worthy addition to the herb garden. Additionally, the leaves of some vervain plants (also known as verbena) are used medicinally, such as for poultices to relieve bruises or other mild skin conditions.
Harvesting verbena plants is easy, and you can use the leaves either fresh or dried. Read on and we’ll tell you more about verbena harvesting in the garden.
When to Harvest Verbena
Harvesting verbena plants occurs throughout the spring and summer growing season – generally, after the plant has several leaves and has reached a height of about 10 inches (25 cm.). In fact, picking verbena leaves frequently triggers new growth and keeps the plant from becoming long and leggy.
How to Harvest Verbena
Use shears or scissors to snip individual verbena stems to within ¼ inch (6 mm.) of a leaf node or leaf, preferably removing no more than approximately one-quarter of the stem.
If you need a larger harvest, trim the entire plant down by one-quarter to one-half of its height. Cut carefully, shaping the plant as you go to retain an attractive, bushy form. The plant will soon rebound and produce new, healthy foliage. Keep in mind that with each cut, new growth will emerge. Frequent harvesting is important to maintain an attractive shape and keep growth in check.
When harvesting from lemon verbena varieties, bear in mind that while the leaves are picked all season long, the lemony flavor is at its height when flowers are just beginning to open. This is good news because lemon verbena blooms several times throughout the season.
Disclaimer: The content of this article is for educational and gardening purposes only. Before using or ingesting ANY herb or plant for medicinal purposes or otherwise, please consult a physician or a medical herbalist for advice.