Lemon verbena is a tender, deciduous woody tree, hardy outdoors only into Zone 9. It is most commonly grown in pots or tubs and moved into greenhouses or light rooms for the winter. All parts have the distinctive lemony fragrance. The long leaves are narrow and pointed.
Although lemon verbena may be started from seed, few plants are produced that way. Cuttings taken in midsummer root fairly readily. Because the mother plant may wilt after cuttings are taken, pamper it with adequate water and a bit of shade until it recovers. Harvest leaves and tips as needed. Because the plant is a fairly fast grower, making one heavy harvest at midsummer and another in the fall before returning it indoors helps to keep the plant in bounds.
The plant is a fairly heavy feeder and should be fertilized regularly. Keep the soil moist, but never allow the roots to remain soggy. Place pots of lemon verbena on stone surfaces to keep them from rooting into the ground over the summer. Breaking these roots might severely affect the health of the plant.
Lemon verbena is used as a tea, to flavor other beverages, and in any dish that calls for a lemon flavor. Fresh leaves are tough, so strain them from beverages, marinades, and dressings before serving. For an unexpected touch, add finely crushed dried leaves to banana, zucchini, or carrot breads or to cooked rice.