Aromatic plants

Lippia citriodora

How much and how to water

Lippia citriodora, also known as lemon verbena or luigia grass, is an aromatic herb that loves moist, well-drained soils, so you need to create a substrate that never stagnates water and a saucer must not be used. In summer and in periods when the rains are scarce, it needs abundant watering, but not frequent. It is a plant that grows quite fast, forming a small sapling, accustomed to hot climates, consequently in the summer you will notice a very vigorous development of the plant. A simple trick to guess when it’s time to water is to look at the leaves: as soon as the soil moisture level drops, the leaves go limp. Water abundantly until the pot is full: the leaves will return to their turgor.

How to grow Lippia citriodora

The lippia citriodora is a perennial plant that needs a semi-shaded position, in order to guarantee the plant a few hours of direct solar radiation. It is not a particularly delicate plant, but it should be sheltered from cold winds and lower temperatures, perhaps by placing it against a wall or creating a winter shelter. For this plant, the ideal soil is sandy and well-drained. If you want to use it for a liqueur or for cooking, the harvest must take place in summer; in early spring you can also proceed with a thinning of the branches, giving a shape to the plant that it will keep throughout the summer. The tendency of lemon verbena is to grow irregularly, with new twigs growing in length giving the plant a cluttered and bushy appearance.

How and when to fertilize

Lippia Citriodora has no particular nutritional needs, but, to improve its growth, it is necessary to plan an annual fertilization. It is carried out in the months from April to July and a fertilizer for aromatic plants is used to be diluted in water as indicated on the product. Never wet the leaves with nourishment: slowly distribute the water on the ground so that it is well absorbed. Care must be taken not to use fertilizers that are too rich in nitrogen, as they would burn the plant starting from the roots. At the end of the summer season, before the arrival of cold weather, the level of soil can be re-established which could have decreased with watering, if you cultivate the plant in pot. In spring you can proceed with the change of the vase, if the previous container was too narrow.

Diseases and parasites

Luigia grass is a plant quite resistant to diseases and parasites, but its enemies are the most subtle to defeat: aphids, scale insects and powdery mildew. We notice the scale insects, in particular, at the junction of the twigs and fight with the white oil which should be carefully sprayed two or three times a few days later, particularly insisting on the less accessible points. Powdery mildew generates white powdery specks that cause the leaves to turn yellow and then dry up. In this situation it is necessary to resort to the classic sulfur preparation. The mites must be treated with specific products to be sure of being able to neutralize them definitively. Once the treatments have been carried out, at least one month must pass before using the leaves.

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