Aloysia citriodora
Common Name: lemon verbena
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Verbenaceae
Native Range: Argentina, Chile
Zone: 8 to 10
Height: 2.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 4.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to September
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual, Herb
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Fragrant

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zone 8-10 where it is best grown in moist, light, well-drained fertile loams in full sun. Where not winter hardy, it is grown in containers that may be overwintered indoors in bright, cool locations with minimal watering (plants lose leaves indoors) or as an annual that is replaced with new plants each spring. Prune the tips from main stems to promote branching and shrubbier form.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Aloysia citriodora, commonly called lemon verbena is native to Argentina and Chile. It is a woody shrub that produces shiny lanceolate green leaves (to 3-4” long) that have a strong aroma (without crushing) and taste of lemon. Leaves are opposite or in whorls of three (hence the specific epithet). Plants will grow to 10-15’ tall in the tropics, but to 2-4’ tall in containers. Fragrant, white to pale lilac flowers bloom from mid-summer to early fall, but have little ornamental significance. Container plants may not bloom. Plants are evergreen in tropical/warm winter locations but deciduous in areas where freezing temperatures occur. Lemon verbena has been a popular garden plant in warm southern and western parts of the U.S. for many years. Leaves are strongest at the time of flowering. Leaves and flowers are used for culinary purposes (teas, desserts, fruit salads and jams) for perfumes and cosmetics, for potpourris and as herbal medicines (colds, fevers, dyspepsia and diarrhea). Aloysia citriodora is synonymous with Aloysia triphylla, Lippia citriodora, Verbena citriodora and Verbena triphylla. Spanish explorers brought this plant to Spain in the 17th century at which point it was named after Princess Louisa of Parma (genus name is a version of Louisa and common name is Herb Louisa).

Genus name honors Maria Louisa (d. 1819), princess of Parma and wife of King Carlos IV of Spain.

Specific epithet means lemon-scented.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Aphids, whiteflies, mealy bugs and spider mites may appear.

Garden Uses

Attractive potted plant. Herb gardens. Fragrance gardens. Near walks or doorways where the aroma can be appreciated. Harvest leaves for culinary purposes or potpourris.