I am moving into a new office this week so I had to bring a couple of my lemon verbena plants home and given the great weather we were having I decided to move them right back into the garden. Fortunately they were a little leggy from lack of sunlight in my office so I cut off some of the dropping stems and was about to put them in the compost until I got the idea to make some Lemon Verbena Lemonade.
The basic idea is the same as regular lemonade though you add Lemon Verbena leafs and use fewer lemons. It has been said that lemon verbena can have calming effects and can reduce stress; sounds like a great summer drink to me.
Lemon Verbena Lemonade
- 24 Lemon Verbena Leaves
- 2 lemons
- Sugar (or artificial sweetener)
- Peppermint sprig (optional)
Directions: Squeeze lemon juice lemons into a small pot. Add Lemon remains, Lemon Verbena leaves, 2 cups of sugar, and approximately 4 cups of water to pot. Bring to boil and let boil for 4 minutes. Strain mixture into 1-2 gallon container and fill with water. Add more sugar to taste (kids like the stuff tasting like Kool-Aid though I would recommend less sugar) Add ice and enjoy on hot summer day. Given Max and Ruby’s grandma “secret ingredient” to lemonade is peppermint we can’t make any lemonade without it so this part is completely optional.
As you can see from the picture, my peppermint and lemon verbena propagation has come a long quite well. I did have a little aphid infestation on the peppermint plant which I attempted to take care of with manual pinching, but eventually I gave up and chopped off the top off the plant. I then followed up with a hefty dose of insecticidal soap to the soil and the remaining stem. I would have preferred an even more natural method such as ladybugs but sure my officemates would prefer I didn’t.
The lemon verbena did pretty well on its own with one exception I think I mistakenly broke or cut the top off the plant so there was no vertical growth and just crazy shoots horizontally so I cut most of these off and replanted to 3 new starts which have taken off as well as their parent.
Starting next week I will have an office at work with a window so of course I have to start thinking about what sort of vegetation I can put on that ledge. The first thing that came to mind was peppermint and lemon verbena seemed like a good choice since they provide an excellent fragrance and I can eat/drink them if I have to stay late and get tired of free soda. They can also be neglected for a weekend or brief vacation without relying on someone else to take care of them.
Unless this is the first post of mine you have never read or didn’t look at the title of this blog, I am cheap. I could have easily just payed $4-5 for a couple plants but I wanted to do this for free. First I prepared two terracotta pots with a mixture of potting soil and perlite and got the mixture about as wet as possible and set them aside.
For the peppermint, the process to propagate is pretty simple. The stuff is tough and most talented people can not successfully kill the stuff if they try, so dig around in your existing peppermint until you find a good bunch of roots. Now the tricky part pull/cut/tear/scream whatever it takes to separate that clump of peppermint from the rest. Very obvious why this stuff can take over a bed. Take that clump of roots with hopefully some of the peppermint plant still surviving the extraction ordeal and place in a pre-dug hole and cover up with potting mix.
The lemon verbena is a little calmer process, to propagate this you use a process of taking a softwood cutting, which includes simply cutting a stem in which shows some decent life (green) in it. You want to make sure that your cut does not crush the stem so a sharp knife my work better than shears/scissors but that depends completely on the quality and sharpness of your equipment. Cut off any leaves on the bottom one third of the plant and place in potting mix leafing the remaining two thirds above the soil line.
Both of these plants currently have a pretty fragile root system at the moment so keeping their roots (or soon to be generated roots) moist is very important. To help with this I have covered both plants with plastic, if all goes well I will not kill these things and will have a nice addition to my new office come Monday.