Advice on growing sweet cicely, lemon balm, lemon grass, lemon

t-bird(Chicago 5/6)June 8, 2013

lemon verbena, stevia,

Got a new shipment in :)

Lets see which ones I can keep alive.

I've lost a lemon verbena before, and in 2 days this one not looking good. What kind of soil/conditions do they like?

Can the sweet cicely go into the ground in my zone? Any advice on soil/location?

lemon grass - this will be container grown, can I pair it with the rosemary?

Is lemon balm similar in needs to mints?

Thanks for any pointers!

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jll0306(9/ Sunset 18/High Desert)

I can tell you about the ones I've grown, though my climate is much different from yours.

When you think about what to plant with rosemary, look for other woody, drought tolerant Mediterranean herbs.

Lemon grass, being an Asian herb, needs much more water. I've planted mine (started from grocery store stalks) in between the artichokes, and here and there in places with varying degrees of available moisture. The ones growing best are in gallon hydroponics pots inside a trough that gets afternoon shade and an inch or two of bottom water a day.

Lemon Balm very does well in shallower containers and full sun. This is another plant that I grew to the point of being rootbound, before dividing, and ended up with 4 or 5 plants from one start. It is drought tolerant, but like all herbs, it likes drainage, and grows better with regular water and haircuts.

Lemon Verbena wants warm, warm, warm weather. I don't know how it overwinters in your zone, but probably not at all well. I keep watering my last year's (maybe dead) LV that i left in an unprotected outdoor container because we are still having cool nights and the plant SEEMS to be well rooted. At least it doesn't come up when I give it a hard yank, but it's not showing any life at all.

This plant is so temperature sensitive that it will drop all its leaves at any sudden change, but will come back once the temperatures stabilize. If you have that problem, don't worry. if your plants are looking differently sick, then worry. If the root ball seems overly moist, try repotting to a dryer mix.

If you want to keep the plant around next fall, do what I should have done and clip it down 2/3, bring it inside and let it redevelop as an indoor plant. Or take some growing tips and root them in smaller pots.

But, alas, I haven't met Sweet Cicely yet.


    Bookmark   June 8, 2013 at 12:07PM
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t-bird(Chicago 5/6)

Thank you Jan!

Very good advice!

Yes - all the leaves on the verbena dried up for no apparent reason, I'll keep it warm and see how it goes. These were shipped from Richters, so probaby a bit of stress. Hopefully - it will pull through...

    Bookmark   June 8, 2013 at 2:22PM
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balloonflower(5b Denver CO, HZ 5-6, Sunset 2b)

Your lemon verbena will not overwinter outside in your zone. However, it is a perennial shrub--you can bring it inside for the winter. I haven't personally done it (though will be trying this winter) but have several friends who simply trim the plant back, then store it in a basement or garage over the winter, where it pretty much goes dormant, keeping barely watered. Then, in spring it bounces back.

Mine are in a large 14" square planter, and happy as can be right now. I just used a general potting mix, and keep it pretty well watered (though there are rocks in the bottom for better drainage. I also put a bit of sphagnum moss (not peat) on the surface to hold moisture in in my dry climate, since it is more tropical. You can treat it like basil once it gets growing--pinching back to encourage bushing, and tip cuttings root well for more plants.

Lemon balm is like mint--you've got that right and won't get rid of it now! Haven't personally tried lemon grass or sweet cicely yet.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2013 at 2:39PM
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t-bird(Chicago 5/6)

this may be my second lemon verbena casualty.....I'll continue to tend to it and hope it bounced back.

I've read that sweet cicely and lemon balm have similar climate needs, on the moist side and a bit of shade won't hurt. I think I'll tranplant those today into a temporary location (as in, for the next year or two as I am transitioning the garden area). It is a cloudy/maybe a bit of rain today, and tomorrow I will shade them.

Lemongrass will be an indoor/outdoor like the verbena and rosemary....although lemongrass likes wet, rosemary dry, and the lemon verbena not sure...but maybe a moot point as it is in the ICU.

Also have a stevia with this shipment that seems to like it more on the moist side....almost lost that one too, but caught it just in time and a sprinkle perked it right up.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 8:39AM
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jll0306(9/ Sunset 18/High Desert)

T-bird, if your LV doesn't make it I should have some rooted cuttings to share in a couple of months.

This is my first year with lemon grass, too. I believe it can be overwintered in the same way Balloonflower described for the LV, but I will be bringing pot of mine inside also. I have great hopes (Hope is a gardener's best crop!)for it to be huge plant that I will have to cut back, root prune, and stuff into a smaller pot in order to keep it from hogging too much room in my small, winter-plant stuffed sunporch. Pix will be taken!

Hooray for the Stevia!


    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 1:18PM
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t-bird(Chicago 5/6)

The stevia is fantastic! I didn't have hope of it being this good, not liking the powdered white stevia products, but it was great.

Putting a few leaves in smoothies is outstanding - I am in danger of over harvesting - it better get growing before I gobble it up.

The LV is not looking good. I've heard it can look dead for a while and come back so I continue to tend to it.

The lemon balm and sweet cicely have been successfully planted into the garden and seem to be doing well.

I got some info on the asian gardening forum regarding the lemongrass. Seems for me, I need to keep it in a container and bring inside, the advice was to not let it stay outside if it is going below 60 degrees. Once it is larger and I can divide, I'll experiment with some in the garden over summer.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 12:33PM
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t-bird(Chicago 5/6)


sweet cicely and lemon balm doing well in their beds, even though the soil is a bit clay-y. did not put them in my raised beds.

I wasn't able to get my act together on the stevia and the lemon grass, eventually I just planted them out in the veg garden for the summer, and I'll try to take them back at the end of august. I need to buy some containers/soil for them. I took a stevia cutting hopefully at least one will survive.

lemon verbena is a gone-ner.....will have to try again with that.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 2:57PM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Sweet cicely is nice. I grew it in partial shade. I found it a short-lived perennial though.


    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 11:57PM
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Sweet cicely: I've had this for years. Very well drained soil, at least half day of full sun. Propagates easily from it's seeds. You'll have seedlings to give away.
Use finely chopped leaves in salads, licorice type flavor compliments rhubarb dishes. Also, the ferny foliage makes a nice garnish - I've used it tucked under the edges of celebration cakes to hide the board I use to hold the cake.

Good luck
Maryanne in WMass

    Bookmark   July 3, 2013 at 9:43AM
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