Today I bought my herbs for the summer. I bought a new chocolate mint as the drought killed it last year. It smells like a peppermint patty. Mmmmm. I also got some chamomile, and Tulsi (holy basil). We are zone 5. I know I can’t set these out for another couple of weeks, but I am ready. I plan to make an herbal mix with these.
I also got some lemon verbena. I have never tried to grow this one before. Any growing and harvesting tips are much appreciated. How much is generally used to flavor tea and what does and does not go well with it?
I love lemon verbena!! I have it planted in my herb garden at the bottom of the back stairs. It’s very prolific, really grows like crazy & it smells so wonderful. Everytime I go down those stairs during the summer & fall, I run my hands across it & inhale. It’s such a wonderful aroma. I have stevia growing next to it, & I’ll sometimes make a tisane of lemon verbena & a few stevia leaves, or just lemon verbena. I’ve also made suntea with them, just cramming a bunch of bruised leaves in a jar of water. Sometimes I’ll add lemon balm or mint. It goes good with anything that would go good with lemon. If you make a tisane with hot water, treat it like green tea, 175 degree F, or it might get a grassy taste. Another nice thing is it’s a perennial, so it will keep coming back!!
By the looks of the planting zone maps you are in the same zone as us. The greenhouse told me this was not a hearty plant for our area. Hope we have the same success with it as you. Knowing it is prolific, I will be sure to choose wisely where we put it. The mint is the same way. It will take over if you let it.
I agree about the smell. I wasn’t sure I wanted to try growing it until I ran my fingers through it. Nice.
Do you dry it or just use it fresh?
I did not see a stevia plant. I have never tried it but if I could grow it I might be tempted to lose the Splenda.
Thanks for sharing
It’s more woody than mint, really grows fast, BUT it doesn’t actually spread like mint. I always plant my mints in a container, because they are REALLY prolific & invasive, although I love them anyway!
I use it fresh mostly, just because I love the smell of it so much. I sometimes take cuttings & put them in vases around the house, they bring such a fresh smell to the whole place! I do also dry the leaves & put them in a jar, so that I can enjoy them over the winter. Regarding the stevia, I keep planning to dry it & powder it up for use, but it does carry a licorice/anise aftertaste that doesn’t go with everything. So mostly I still buy the “Sweet Leaf” powdered stevia.
I think lemon verbena is hardy down to 14 degrees or so. So far mine has come back twice, as did the stevia. No signs of life on either plant yet this spring, but I think they both woke up kind of late last year too.
My chocolate mint died too! My apple mint is fine though. Weird.
I’m in zone 7 and I haven’t been able to find lemon verbena :/ I ended up getting lemon balm instead. Though I think after reading about lemon balm it might be a better option for me! And now I think if this one planter with spearmint seeds fails to really give me anything I’m going to have to get chocolate mint.
chocolate mint went great with cheap puerh. The drought was so bad last year, my lemon balm died before I got to try it :(
Aw no :( It smells really nice, I figured the citronella aspect of it would be good to have around on my patio. I’m trying to grow spearmint from seeds and it’s being a real pain. They didn’t sprout when I started them indoors, and they don’t want to outside either apparently.
Is it this one?
I have an old one on the garden, in fact I made a tea with its tiny new leaves and it was so good.
I am on what would be for you probably zones 9-10, sandy soil, hot but not too humid summers and it´s very easy to grow, no particular fertilizing or care. It´s pretty huge, 2-3 meters tall after some 10 years or so. In autumn it looses all leaves (a good time to prune) and looks spindly and dead, but then mid spring it starts to get new leaves on that seemingly dead wood from last year – the very best leaves for tea are the new growth. The leaves at the end of summer are much thicker, tougher, not as tasty, and a different sort of taste, not as good. End of summer leaves are ok for sachets or something, but not as good for tea. Though if your summers are shorter and not as hot, maybe it won´t be like that. The fresh spring leaves straigth from the plant to the pot, it´s the loveliest herbal tea ever IMO – though you might wait a couple years till the plant is more established. Bees love lemon verbena.
Lemon balm is lovely but it´s a totally different plant, more like mint, even tastes slightly minty – and its taste is also much less lemony than the verbena.
Yes, that’s the one. Thanks for the helpful info. I had no idea your part of the world was so temperature moderate. Our summers are hot and humid with gulf air, and our winters get cold and brutal air out of Canada. Something for everybody, sometimes all in the same day.
Yep! I LOVE lemon verbena! I also grow lemon balm, & I make a tea with lemon balm, ginger, atragulus root, & lemon slice, which is good for building the immunity. The lemon balm has antiviral properties, & a pleasant taste, but not nearly so nice as lemon verbena.
Our summers can get hot, 40 degrees or even a bit more, sort of baked. Sadly there are lots of things I can not grow (tulips for example, or peonies) because it is too hot or not cold enough during winter. Summer kills more plants than winter, winter is far greener – in summer problem is having enough water and some shade during the hotter parts of the year.
Not to be a killjoy, but better not to pick any leaves (unless from prunings, if you need to) from lemon verbena till the plant is well established, maybe for a couple years… (Lemon balm is a different thing, just treat it like sort of mins). Don´t get scared if it looses all its leaves and looks dead, that is the way it goes every late summer or early autumn, it cames back on spring – it´s not dead till it´s rotting ;) I love the plant, but actually I do not like it much for pots in porches or as a houseplant just because it is so messy when it sheds those leaves – those leaves by then are IMO not nice enough for tea, too thick, too grassy tasting, sort of off somehow.