Perennial: hardy in zones 5-9.
Time to sow: Spring, late summer.
Light conditions: Full sun to partial shade.
Uses: Culinary, medicinal, tea.
Lemon balm grows up to 70-150 cm in height. Lemon balm is a fast growing herb and can quickly take over other plants. The leaves have a refreshing lemon scent and flavour which gives it a very wide culinary value. At the end of summer, little white flowers full of nectar will appear. Lemon balm nectar attracts bees, hence the genus name “Melissa” (Greek for ‘honey bee’). Lemon balm makes a great tea that stimulates the heart and calms the nerves. Freshly chopped leaves are used for salads, soups, stuffings, and stews. Leaves can be picked often as lemon balm is a fast grower.
Lemon balm is said to increase longevity. It is often used as a tea to treat colds and flus. The herb produces a calming effect and can help reduce anxiety, mild depression, and treat insomnia. It is an overall very healthy herb to consume, and can help treat a host of health conditions.
In zones 5 to 9 it is very easy to grow. Lemon balm will grow and spread very quickly. It produces a very pleasant lemon scent for your garden. In my experience, it requires very little effort and care. It is drought resistant and tolerates partial shade. I planted my lemon balm with peat moss which helps to retain moisture and keep the plant healthy.
Grows in full sun to partial shade. Prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soil with a pH around 6.9. Surface sow the seeds, as it needs light to germinate. Press the seed firmly into the soil and water. Keep the soil moist but not soggy. For best germination results grow indoors in sterilized soil; black earth/peat moss mixture. Transplant outside after risk of frost.