Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Dear Tovah Martin,

I read with interest your Growing Panes article in the November/December 2012 Hobby Farm Home magazine giving gardeners ideas for which herbs to grow inside for the winter.  I have to disagree though on two of your selections for the Don't List, particularly lemon verbena and lavender.  I understand that lemon verbena typically drops its leaves and plays dead.  Some people don't want to take care of sticks during the winter months.  I get that.  This is my lemon verbena at this moment on a western facing windowsill.
I have routinely gotten a lemon verbena through the winter, both with and without leaves.  I will harvest these leaves for tea and bread.  If I use all of the leaves before the end of the year or the end of January, it will start producing leaves again in earnest in February and by May will be a very full bushy lemon verbena ready to go outside.  Lemon verbena does have problems indoors, spider mites and white flies, but both of those problems go away when it goes outdoors.  I understand how most people including me, have limited window space, but some gardeners love the challenge of getting tender perennials through a harsh winter.

Again even though you have lavender on the Don't List, I have had success getting tender lavenders through the winter both in my garage which faces south and on the west facing windowsill.  I read in your book The Unexpected Houseplant that you too have had success with 'Goodwin Creek' Lavender.  This is my 'Goodwin Creek' this year.  It may be a bit sparse at the bottom, but it will come through the winter in good shape.
Lavenders are less prone to pests and diseases indoors than other herbs.  The only other problem for both of these plants is over or under watering as is with every houseplant.  So Dear Tovah Martin please don't put lemon verbena and lavender on your Don't List for indoor herbs.  They can make it through the winter indoors with proper attention and care.


Lemon Verbena Lady

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