Thursday, May 23, 2019

Lemon Verbena in the Sun & Shade

Lemon Verbena in the Field in North Texas

What a difference a few hours of sun has made in our Lemon Verbena in the field, here in North Texas... The crop is well on it's way today, having survived harsh winds and monsoon rains for about six weeks since transplanting in early April.

By contrast, here's another photo. It shows 2000 Lemon Verbena starter plants in a tarp/shade house in Germany, waiting for heavy rains to pass. Gabriele Stoll already has 1000 plants in the field, and she's tripling her production this year.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Lemon Verbena Between North Texas Monsoons

Nice, healthy growth on our 2019 crop of Lemon Verbena in the field today... It's heartening to see because it's been a sad and muddy situation due to heavy rains, for what seems like weeks on end!  

With enough sunny days, we could be harvesting our first fresh, lemony leaves by mid-June. 

Friday, April 12, 2019

Lemon Balm/Lemon Verbena Cake

This is a lemon cake recipe from the late Cynthia Collins Pedregon's popular Texas cookbook, The Peach Tree Family Cookbook. Her restaurant and tea room in Fredericksburg are legendary.

Don't let this recipe fool you, it can be made entirely with Lemon Verbena instead of half-and-half with Lemon Balm. 

And it's written for the use of fresh leaves, but dried leaves could be substituted with a reduction in quanity. I would suggest using half a cup instead of one full cup of dried Lemon Verbena leaves.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Lemon Verbena Planting April 2019

It's THAT TIME OF YEAR again! The ground is prepared and the little Lemon Verbena plants are getting established in their new home for the summer. We've doubled our production this year so we'll be busy watching them growtheir lovely, long wands of fresh leaves for herb tea and for cooking.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Lemon Verbena Daily Brew

We've set our clocks forward and Spring officially begins soon, so it's time to use up all the 2018 Lemon Verbena leaves before the 2019 crop unfurls for the season. 

Here's a photo of my daily brew this morning. It's Lemon Verbena and Texas Tulsi, a delicious and nutritious Texas-grown mixture.

I use Lemon Verbena for its health benefits as well as its delightful fragrance and taste, so that means I use a LOT of leaves. We also grew two varieties of Texas Tulsi (Holy Basil) last year. Once I experimented with drying it for storage we bagged enough of it to last until the next crop is ready in early summer 2019.

Just a few more weeks and there will be plants in the field again!

Texas Tulsi in the field in North Texas.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Lemon Verbena, Nectarine and Peach Jam

We are planning for our 2019 Lemon Verbena crop now, which includes doubling the number of plants in the field. It's a big expansion, and will keep Tractor Man and me pretty busy from April to October.

Here's a delicious-sounding fruit and Lemon Verbena jam recipe to use fresh leaves, as soon as we can pick some!  Make sure to read the comments following the recipe because NYT Cooking readers left some comments with their own improvements on it. Some insisted it needs more Lemon Verbena leaves!

Nectarine and Peach Jam With Lemon Verbena

Photo courtesy of Melissa Clark, author of jam recipe post on NYT Cooking.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Lemon Verbena is Verveine in Dallas, TX

Bullion Restaurant, located at the 400 Record St. building in downtown Dallas, serves exquisite, gourmet French cuisine. Owner and world-class chef, Bruno Davaillon chose our 2018 crop Lemon Verbena to serve his discriminating guests as an authentic French tisane. Our exclusive distributor is The Cultured Cup in Dallas.

Lemon Verbena is called Verveine in France, where it is a very familiar and popular beverage. Soon it will be familiar and popular in Texas, too!  This photo shows the French name on a commercial product (not ours) marketed internationally.

From our field in rural North Texas to the lovely tables at Bullion Restaurant in Dallas, our Verveine is really growing in popularity this year!

Monday, December 10, 2018

Special Dried Lemon Verbena Blossoms

I don't know if Lemon Verbena blossoms have special, herbal properties, but they are definitely delicate and lovely. So, I kept a big bag of our 2018 dried Lemon Verbena crop with dried blossoms attached, just for our personal use. When we deliver product to our wholesale customers they are not expecting blossoms. So we have plenty on hand for the long winter months before our 2019 crop is ready to harvest!

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Gourveine Lemon Verbena In Germany

This photo makes me cry... I am so envious! These giant Lemon Verbena plants cultivated by Gabriele Stoll in Germany are in their first year of growth. This photo is from a video Gabriele sent today, so it's plant growth achieved through the last week of October 2018. 

The size of the plants affects the size of the leaves, so it's easy to see why her commercial product called Gourveine is truly a gourmet Lemon Verbena product. It's elegant and excellent, as well as organically and biodynamically grown.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Lemon Verbena at The Cultured Cup in Dallas

Orignal photo courtesy
Congratulations to Kyle Stewart and Phil Krampetz, owners of The Cultured Cup in Dallas, TX. They are selling our entire 2018 crop of Texas Grown Lemon Verbena, starting this week. It is truly a limited edition herbal product for making infusions (often called "herb tea") and for mixing with the world-class black and green tea offered by The Cultured Cup.
 Check out the glowing Yelp Reviews for The Cultured Cup!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

This Lemon Verbena Did NOT Come From Kroger

Kroger does not sell our Lemon Verbena, but this grocery bag is the perfect way to show how much space a pound of dried Lemon Verbena occupies. Light and airy, it takes up 3/4 or more of a standard kraft paper grocery bag. Not only are these bags easily accessible and just the right size, but they also allow the dried product to breathe. Plastic bags are not the ideal storage container for high-quality dried herbs. We cover the top of ours for storage.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

After the Final Lemon Verbena Harvest

I wasn't in the mood to get face-down in the dirt today, so I took this photo from up above. It's really hard to see the little Lemon Verbena plants because they are the same color as the soil here in North Texas. 

Why am I subjecting you to this difficult photo? Because it makes the point that pruning Lemon Verbena 'way back is a good thing to do. The plants are little bushes and they have well-developed root systems which are not deep but they are sturdy. These plants may look dead, but they are very much alive!

Rain is forecast over the next four days, so I wanted to get the photo immediately following our thrid and final Lemon Verbena harvest for the 2018 season. Beautiful green sprouts and leaves will be appearing soon, certainly after the rain. I'll get good photos, even if I have to get face-down in the mud!

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Lemon Verbena in Black Tea

The secret in this cup of black tea is a few Lemon Verbena leaves. They are steeping in the brewed black tea, loose or bagged, giving it a lemony flavor without needing any citrus fruit.  

People ask me how many Lemon Verbena leaves to use per cup, and I say, "That depends on how much lemon flavor you like."

I suggest starting with three whole leaves of Lemon Verbena in an 8 - 12 oz cup of tea. Yes, that's a big teacup. But anyone who buys tea at coffee shops or convenience stores is used to even larger cups! 

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Claire's Two Lemon Verbena Bushes

Claire lives near me and follows this blog. She saw two little Lemon Verbena plants at a store this spring, bought them and brought them home. She put both of them in this rectangular pot. And here they are, in the middle of September 2018.

She put them in her back yard, partially shaded by a crepe myrtle bush. In other words, they were not in the full Texas sun all summer. They were situated in partial shade. 

Claire saw me at the post office last week and asked what she should do with her plants now, before bringing them into her plant room for the winter. (Lucky Claire... She has an indoor plant room!)

I told her she should prune them back heavily, no matter how mean it may seem. I suggested she cut off the lovely branches, pull off the leaves and dry them overnight at normal air-conditioned room temperature.

Claire admitted she hadn't tried her Lemon Verbena yet. She just likes to smell it. Oh boy, is she in for a treat when she makes some herb tea with her harvest, these leaves drying on a tea towel below.

And I also explained that her little plants will re-grow from the stems, but primarily in a rosette of sprouts around the base of the main stem. The next photo is not Claire's plant. But it shows what I explained will most likely happen to her plants. 

The main point of my Lemon Verbena lecture at the post office was this - Lemon Verbena is a bush. Bushes like to be pruned back because it encourages new growth. Lemon Verbena responds well to pruning because it is a bush. Try it! Be brave like Claire and make herb tea with your Lemon Verbena leaf harvest, too!

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Sample Packs of 2018 Lemon Verbena

Cute, little sample packs of our fresh, new 2018 Lemon Verbena harvest are going out to Texas tea rooms this week. Welcome to Texas tea folks! And thanks for your honest feedback on our caffeine-free herbal tea, grown in Whitesboro, Texas. We're Garden 44, and our mailing address is 1014 E. Hwy 82 #184, Gainesville, TX 76240. Message line for your feedback is 903-328-9670. Thanks!

What Dr. Axe says about Lemon Verbena

The popular online advisor, Dr. Axe, posted a good article about the use of Lemon Verbena. He's got medical research to back up his 5 Health Benefits of Lemon Verbena. That part is excellent!

But his infographic called Growing and Harvesting Lemon Verbena contains a mistake. Planting Lemon Verbena seeds is not going to bring you success in a reasonable period of time. You need to buy a live plant or learn to propagate cuttings from a live plants. That's the best way to get started. 

Don't buy seeds from anyone on the internet! When your live plant produces seeds, feel free to collect and dry them. Then you can experiment with starting Lemon Verbena from your own seeds, and my guess is you'll agree with me. Starting plants from seeds is not the best way to get more Lemon Verbena plants.

Friday, September 14, 2018

F*R*E*E Lemon Verbena For Growing Indoors

While they last, we're offering FREE Lemon Verbena Roots for growing your own plant indoors this winter. 
Whitesboro, TX pick up only.
Comment and we'll get in touch with you.

What a great crop of Texas Grown Lemon Verbena we have this year! It's our first significant harvest from the field (last year was an experiment) and we are learning throughout the whole process, from planting to harvest.

It's hard to see in this photo, but we experimented with the distance between plants in each row. Lemon Verbena roots are not large, so the plants can grow much closer than we originally planned, especially when taking multiple cuttings throughout the growing season, April - September here in Zone 7b.

One thing we learned last year with a few plants in the field is that pushing for a 4th cutting is not worth the trouble. That's why we're pulling up the plants now, in mid-September. 

Lemon Verbena plants cut back this time of year will not produce luxurious growth or normal-size leaves as they grow back. The growth is rather stunted and the leaves are like miniature versions of normal leaves. 

It may be the angle of the sun that causes less-than-profuse growth. That's my theory right now, and it's the reason we're pulling up the plants now instead of encouraging them to continue growing until frost.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Little Lemon Verbena Bushes 2018

This photo shows, better than most photos on the web, how Lemon Verbena grows as a bush when pruned closely. In it's natural environment, which is South America and the Middle East, when left to grow naturally, it becomes a large bush, or a small tree. That is impossible for most of us living in the temperate zones.

We are located in USDA Zone 7b, which is on the edge for Lemon Verbena's annual/perennial status. With protection, and depending on the winter temperatures, a Lemon Verbena plant may overwinter here. But it's iffy, completely unreliable. Temperatures lower than 10 degrees F will generally kill it, but sometimes, surprisingly, it survives.

We don't try to overwinter our Lemon Verbena plants in the field. It's not practical in USDA Zone 7b. We start over in the spring with new plants, for best new growth and reliable harvest of fresh leaves.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Roses Blooming Near Lemon Verbena Plants

Cinco de Mayo Rose blooming near our Lemon Verbena today. Several pounds of lemony herb leaves are harvested, dried and ready to package for sale.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Lemon Verbena Harvest - Yesterday and Today

Pictured is yesterday's harvest on the left, and today's fresh harvest on the right. Both trays are Texas Grown Lemon Verbena. Dried leaves are removed from their stems before bagging for sale.

This is the second cutting from our plants in the field. We'll get at least one more cutting this growing season, possibly two.

Lemon Verbena dries quickly, which is a blessing for staging the use of our drying porch equipped with an exhaust fan, to create a hot breeze over the fresh-picked branches. They will also dry in 24 hours in normal air-conditioned room temperatures, spread out on a clean sheet or even a towel. Lemon Verbena is truly a gardener's dream herb!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Lemon Verbena - Before and After Pruning

Lemon Verbena - Before & After Pruning for Growth

People ask me how and when to prune Lemon Verbena plants successfully.  I remind them that Lemon Verbena is a bush. Think about how it works whenever you trim bushes. It makes them grow more, right? That's how a healthy Lemon Verbena plant responds to pruning, too. This photo shows how I prune my plants, and when. Meaning, I prune them when the stems are 12" or more in length. And I prune them 'way back to the first or second set of leaves on the stem. That encourages more stems and more growth of lovely, lemony-scented leaves to harvest!

We're growing Holy Basil in the field this year, too. Here's a photo showing Holy Basil (Tulsi) before and after pruning.
Holy Basil, also known as Tulsi.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Last 2018 Lemon Verbena Transplants

Here it is, Memorial Day Weekend, and the last of the potted Lemon Verbena is ready to be transplanted into the field. From years of experience, we've learned that small pots of it won't usually survive the harsh Texas heat. 100 degree days are forecast this week, so that's why they must go in the ground. or into much larger pots. More leaves to harvest when they're in the ground!!!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Expanding Our Lemon Verbena Field for 2018

Tiny Cardinal Climber Greenhouse at Garden 44

It's Spring 2018 in North Texas! These little Cardinal Climbers will soon sink their roots in the ground and climb the fencing column built especially for them. Then, the hummingbirds and butterflies will dine on thousands of red blossoms, all summer and fall.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Call us to order Lemon Verbena herb tea

Dried, Texas-grown, whole-leaf Lemon Verbena in half-ounce packages, available locally and by US mail. 
Call to order, and leave a message. No texts.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Lemon Verbena - Perfect Tea at Night!

Lemon Verbena herb tea is ideal for an after dinner drink, and also for a pleasant, hot beverage right before bedtime. Why? It's light, delicious and relaxing, and it contains no caffeine. 

Personally, I like to make my Lemon Verbena herb tea quite strong. I simply prefer the strong, lemony flavor, but that's not all. I also know it has more medicinal benefit, too.

Children can enjoy Lemon Verbena tea in their sippy cups or even their baby bottles. No sugar or honey is needed, which makes it popular with dentists and health-conscious parents!

UK healer and blogger, Suzanne Askham says, "All summer long my new Aloysia citrodora [Latin name for Lemon Verbena] has been sitting in my front yard, soaking up the sunshine in a large earthenware pot. It grows quickly, and has even flowered profusely with tiny, fragrant blooms. I cut a stalk at a time, put it in water indoors, and use it successively for three or four cups of tea. It is just beautiful. Before the weather gets too wintry, I will bring it into a cool garden room, to protect it from frost."

Monday, October 30, 2017

Potting Lemon Verbena Plants to Bring Indoors for Winter

My Lemon Verbena life primarily involves growning plants outdoors. But many gardeners grow Lemon Verbena in pots, and want to bring them indoors every fall. Here's a good video showing how to prepare your plants for the best indoor growth.

If you've grown Lemon Verbena in the garden, it's possible to pot it up to over-winter in a sunny window indoors. Another option is to pot it up and keep it in a garage, basement or storage area that stays above 20 degrees or so. 

Lemon Verbena can tolerate freezing, meaning 32 degrees Fahrenheit, but the roots will usually die off between 10 and 20 degrees Fahrenheit. That's the risk I take each year when I leave potted plants outdoors, with leaves piled around them. Some live, some die. 

Every Spring I look forward to discovering the live plants when tiny leaves begin to appear at the base of the main stem. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Health Benefits of Lemon Verbena Herb Tea

Once you experience the lemony loveliness of Lemon Verbena as herb tea, it's not hard to believe it also has health benefits. Three scientific studies are summarized in this article, and many scientific studies are available by searching the web. 

And this article is more thorough in discussing the health benefits of Lemon Verbena, based on scientific research.

Finally, you have to try drinking Lemon Verbena tea and experience the benefits for yourself!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Medicinal Benefits of Lemon Verbena

Thanks to for this infographic on the medicinal benefits of Lemon Verbena.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

One Lemon Verbena Plant Growing Back

Just watered our Lemon Verbena plants in the field, and this one is a good example of what happens to a healthy plant that was pruned heavily in the process of harvesting leaves. It grows back quickly, and it produces more stems that will provide more leaves to harvest later. 

The first year I grew Lemon Verbena I was very hesitant to cut the stems at all. I was afraid I'd damage or kill the plant. Now I've learned the truth - Lemon Verbena is more like a bush than a flowering plant. Once it is established, pruning it is a good thing because it promotes bushier growth. 

So, take it from me, don't be hesitant or afraid to cut back your Lemon Verbena plants growing outdoors. 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Lemon Verbena Plant Regrowth

Look closely at the unique regrowth pattern of Lemon Verbena plants, a whorl on the main stem and side stems at the bottom of the plant. In the intense heat of our Texas summer right now, the smaller plants tend to concentrate their energy and basically "start over" in a fresh, new flush of growth.

The same thing happens when larger plants are trimmed or pruned. So, go ahead, prune your Lemon Verbena plants to grow new lemony-scented leaves now!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Dried Lemon Verbena - Use THIS Not THAT

This photo shows dried Lemon Verbena leaves grown and packaged in France, where it's called Verveine. French herb tea drinkers love their Lemon Verbena after meals to improve digestion. That's one popular use. And many people drink it to relax, any time of day or night. Only use THIS type of dried leaves, a quality Lemon Verbena product.

Now take a another look at the product in the photo above, then contrast it to the photo below, a product imported from South America and sold as Lemon Verbena, also called Cedron.

When I showed this photo to my husband, who raises Lemon Verbena with me here in North Texas, I asked him what he saw, besides Lemon Verbena leaves. He said, "wood chips." 

Well, I think he's right! The product contains some leaves, yes, but also a large percentage of woody stems, twigs and bark, which will NOT make delightful herb tea at all.  Don't use a product looking like THAT!

Lemon Verbena for making tea and for cooking should only contain leaves, and never contain twigs, stems or bark. The dried leaves will look surprisingly fresh again when steeping in hot water.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Drink In The Scent of Lemon Verbena

Lemon Verbena - to know it is to love it! Just swiping your hand across a green, growing Lemon Verbena plant and drinking in the delicious scent is an instant delight. Growing your own plants, in pots or in your yard, gives you all the lemony leaves you want, whenever you want them for making tea or other drinks.

"I find lemon verbena the most drinkable herb, for its delicate flavor, divine aroma and beautiful yellow-green color." Barbara Damrosh in The Washington Post

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Lemon Verbena in the New York Times

Lemon Verbena in bloom, photo by Jeff Spurrier in the New York Times. He also posted this nifty tip for enjoying your Lemon Verbena on the road - 

"Cut a few sprigs to put on the dashboard of your car. You'll get the sensation of strolling through an aromatic lemon orchard in full bloom."

For your commute, your family taxi service and your vacation, the delightful scent of Lemon Verbena will add a touch of elegance this summer!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Lemon Verbena Fantasy Fairy Lights

My Lemon Verbena fairy-light fantasy photo. When I figure out how to propagate this beauty, the herb world will beat a path to my doorstep! Who wouldn't want a lovely, lemony-scented plant like this in their yard? For now, let's settle for a real one in the field here in North Texas today...

Saturday, July 15, 2017

My Little Book on Lemon Verbena

Welcome to everyone following
 Lemon Verbena Living on Facebook!
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