How to grow the fragrant Verbena
The verbena odorosa (Aloysia citriodora Palau) is a perennial shrubby plant of the Verbenaceae family. The plant is also known as Cedrina, Limoncina, Erba luigia. In this sheet we will see how to grow the verbena odorosa.
For a good cultivation it is necessary to know that the Verbena odorosa does not tolerate the low winter temperatures below 0 ° C. It can be grown in pots, and in this case, in these rigid areas the plants must be protected in suitable environments.
The seeds can be placed in seedbeds when the temperature exceeds 15 ° C and the germination takes approximately 20 days. When the seedlings are developed they can be transplanted into small jars (just use a mixture of medium-textured earth and coarse sand). Prime to put it home must be grown in pot for two years.
The verbena odorosa can also be reproduced by cuttings, taking portions of stems in late spring or summer and making them root in earthy substratum in shaded areas. In spring, cut the stems where the new vegetation is forming. At the end of summer slightly prune the plant to remove the dead flower heads.
The substrate on which to implant it must be previously prepared, finely worked and with the addition of a good compost or earthworm humus. As regards irrigation, it should be carried out avoiding stagnation and excess, especially before harvesting, considering that the concentration of the aroma can decrease considerably with the excess of water.
The verbena odorosa does not suffer from particular fungal diseases while among the pests fears the attack of aphids and cochineals but only in particularly humid climatic environments.
For the use of the leaves these should be harvested in summer when the plant blooms and should be dried in a cool and shady place. It is advisable to keep the dried leaves in a glass jar so that their scent can be kept for at least three years. Remember that the leaves, deciduous, lanceolate, light green, 5-7 cm long, give off an intense citrus scent, similar to that of Melissa officinalis.
From the leaves an essential oil is extracted, used in the cosmetic industry, rich in volatile compounds such as geraniol, citral and limonene. Leaves and dried flowers can be used to perfume cabinets and environments.
The properties of this plant are: antinevralgiche, neurotoniche, stimulants.
The leaves of this plant are used in the kitchen to flavor vinegar, oil, fruit salads, liqueurs and jams. It is also used in phytotherapy to prepare excellent infusions.