The scent of lemon is refreshing, sharp and clean. When crushing a leaf from a lemon tree, oils are released which create the familiar lemon fragrance that we know so well. Check out our list of the easiest lemon-scented foliage on offer.
Lemon verbena (Aloysia citriodora)
A deciduous, woody shrub to 2.5m tall, flowering in spring. The leaves have an intense lemony tang. Harvest leaves in the summer and dry for use in the winter months when the plant is dormant.
Plant in full sun in well-drained soil, enriched with compost and slow-release fertiliser.
Trim back bush by one third in autumn after the leaves have fallen to keep it compact and productive.
For a refreshing tea, cut off a 20cm length of stem with lots of leaves on it and steep in one litre of boiling water for 10 minutes before serving.
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)
A fast-growing no-fuss herb, with lemon-scented light green leaves and pretty pale yellow flowers. It’s great for a soothing cup of tea either hot or cold to make a soothing, replenishing drink. Garnish salads and fish and poultry dishes. Lemon balm is part of the mint family, which means it spreads quickly like other mints, so restrict rampant growth by planting in a pot.
Make pretty pot specimens with their lovely fine foliage which has a genuine lemon flavour. This herb is available in variegated form, adding bright green and yellow colour to the garden.
A fairly hardy herb in dry conditions. Plant in well-drained potting mix or garden soil in full sun. Pick in bloom for the best flavour. Pop a few sprigs into a foil parcel with fish on the barbecue for some great, fresh flavours. Provides excellent flavour to chicken, fish and salads.
They are many different basil flavours, but lemon basil is one of the more popular ones. Great for making pesto, as a garnish for fish and gives a garden salad a lemony, fresh kick. Plant in a mixed garden to help confuse those chewing insects. Like most other basil, plant in full sun, with plenty of water.
Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus)
Handy to keep for whenever a recipe calls for it. This grassy perennial looks great when mature, growing into 1m x 1m round tufts. Loves a full sun or semi-shade position with steady warmth and water. It’s great in big pots, mass planted toward the back of a mixed garden or in its own bed.
Trim back dead foliage in winter; divide large clumps in spring and replant immediately.
Cut a 15cm length of stem near the base where it is fattest and juiciest. Cover with 500ml boiling water and allow to steep for 10 minutes before serving.
Lemongrass has a fresh lemon taste and smell with a slightly grassy flavour. Lemongrass can also be chopped fine and added to Asian cooking, especially Thai and Vietnamese.
Lemon myrtle (Backhousia citriodora)
This great Australian native plant is readily available and growing in popularity. Many bush tucker restaurants have found the scent and flavour of the foliage very versatile. It can be brushed onto meat on the barbecue to add a subtle flavour, it can be used as a wrapping on chicken pieces or as a sweet-smelling garnish. This is a relatively slow growing, medium-sized tree with lovely, soft new growth on darker, olive-green foliage.