Lemon verbena is an herb with a sweet tart lemon scent. Unlike most herbs, it doesn't have to be bruised for the scent to be released. The plant is not particularly noteworthy for its flowers which are small and pink; it's grown for the scent and flavor of the leaves. It thrives in a sunny location with well-drained soil.
Lemon verbena is a refreshing addition to drinks. Add a verbena leaf to each section of an ice cube tray. Add water and freeze, then use in lemonade, green tea, or lemon-lime soda. To make lemon-flavored vodka, peel the zest of one lemon, yellow part only. Push the peel into a bottle of vodka. Crush the verbena leaves, about 1/2 cup, with your fingers. Push into the bottle of vodka. The mixture can be used immediately but improves with age. Keep in a dark place for a week or two, then strain.
Lemon verbena leaves are about 6 inches long, and narrow. Dry the leaves by cutting stems. Bunch the stems together with a rubber band and then hang to dry. Leaves may also by dried by placing the leaves in an open weave basket. When the leaves are dry, add to potpourri. Or make your own citrus-scented potpourri by combining the leaves with slices of dried oranges and lemons. Add a few drops of lemon, orange or grapefruit essential oils.
Cut 6-inch stems. Bundle together with rubber bands. Attach the bundles closely together to a wire wreath form with floral wire. Overlap the bundles so the wire doesn't show. Rotate the wreath so it dries evenly.
The flavor of lemon verbena leaves is lemony, but more sweet than tart. Use chopped fresh young leaves in salads and dried leaves in salad dressings, or add them to marinades for chicken or pork. Complement the lemon flavor with lime juice and use it to baste fish as it grills. You can make an easy stuffing by combining lemon verbena with bread crumbs, lemon zest and chopped garlic. Add the leaves to cooking oils such as olive, almond or avocado. The oil will absorb the scent and flavor of the verbena.