Native to Chile and Peru, Lemon verbena (Aloysia triphylla) grows from 10 to 15 feet tall when fully mature. White and pink flowers bloom in late summer and early fall, with mint-like leaves. Lemon verbena attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, as does lemon sage and pineapple. For those who love lemon flavor, lemon verbena should be growing in your garden. It can be kept small when grown in a pot, either indoors or outdoors. This herb has aesthetic, culinary and medicinal uses.
Trim the lemon verbena plant's branches to keep in vases when the plant is in bloom. The small white-and-pink blossoms will open and provide a lemony aroma. You can give them in bouquets as gifts for the receiver to dry out and use for cooking, keep fresh for cooking or keep in a vase for the nice scent.
Lemon verbena leaves have an essential oil, being strongest when the leaves are young and fresh. Aromatherapy and massages use lemon verbena oil in particular to relieve depression, stress and insomnia. The leaves and flowers have been used as an antispasmodic, antipyretic, sedative and stomachache reliever, according to Purdue University.
Use lemon verbena leaves in beverages, particularly tea and alcohol drinks. To make tea, fill a jar with the leaves, fill with water and let the jar sit in the sun for half a day. For hot tea, steep 1/2 cup of leaves in 1 cup hot water. Alcohol can be infused with lemon verbena leaves in the same manner.
Add lemon verbena leaves to salads, steamed vegetables and fish, according to Better Home and Gardens. Mix bruised lemon verbena leaves with sugar the night before baking cakes and cookies to infuse the flavor into the recipe. Strain the leaves before using the sugar. Sprinkle lemon verbena, dried or fresh onto just about any meat dish for a zest of citrus.