Name: Aloysia citriodora aka lemon verbena
Type of Plant: In areas where this plant is hardy, Zones 8 – 10, it’s a small shrub. But in colder climates this herb is treated as an annual.
Why I Love/Hate this plant: It’s the definition of aromatherapy! Pick a sprig of lemon verbena, rub it with your fingers to release the oils, and you’ll be instantly happy. Most people who grow this once will be sure to plant it every year, either in the herb or vegetable garden, or in a container on a patio or deck.
You can use this herb in any dish where a lemony flavor is desired. I find it especially good in teas and cocktails. A sprig of lemon verbena makes a great garnish for a plate or beverage.
A Word to the Wise: It’s not difficult to over-winter a pot of lemon verbena indoors, but I’m not sure it’s worth the space unless you have a greenhouse. You can purchase a small plant every spring for under $5.00 and they grow very quickly. In fact, you might want to have two or three… put one on the deck or patio where you typically sit, another near your kitchen door, and a third next to the driveway so you can pick a sprig before getting in your car.