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Aloysia Triphylla - Lemon Verbena The Verbena group comprises of more than 200 perennials, some hardy and some tender and some of which are semi-evergreen. The Verbena is a native of North and South America. Verbenas or Vervain can grow from six inches to four feet high and may be bushy or creeping in growth. The toothed or cut leaves usually grow opposite each other and reach a length of one to three inches. In the summer or in some cases, in autumn, the plant produces slender stalks with bear flattened clusters of flowers, which can measure between two and three inches across. They may be multi-coloured, red, rose, peach, pink, purple, lavender, or blue, some even have a white eye. The Aloysia Triphylla has lemon-scented leaves and is a tender shrub grows up to ten feet high. This species of Verbena produces small, white or violet flowers. Its leaves, either fresh or dried, can be used to make teas, or added to salad dressings, fruit salads, and drinks, however, I recommend that you remove any stiff leaves before serving. One of my favourites is Purple Top which is a pretty variety which forms basal rosettes of serrated, wrinkly, dark green leaves. In the summer and autumn, it grows thin stems, which are topped with clusters of tiny, bright purplish-pink flowers. In the correct climate, this species has been known to reach a height of up to five feet. Some varieties of Verbena are hardy, and tolerate drought; however, I would suggest that they are kept in a warm greenhouse during the winter months and mulched with dry straw if the weather is particularly cold. During the summer months, they enjoy a sunny location on a patio in pots, or in a hanging basket. I usually buy my Verbena from the local garden centre, however, they can be propagated from seeds, sown in sandy soil and kept under cover or indoors when sown – I would suggest that they are kept in this environment for eight to ten weeks before th
ey are planted outside or when the soil has warmed up. You can also multiply you Verbena collection by dividing the roots – this should be down in autumn but whilst the weather is still fine. It is also possible to take stem cuttings, this should be done either in autumn or spring – insert the cutting into sand – rooting powder is not necessary.