Also known as
Bee Balm, Balm, Balm Leaf, Balm Oil Plant, Barm Leaf, Dropsywort, Honey Plant, Pimentary, Sweet Balm, Sweet Mary, Tea Balm, Common Balm, Melissa, Bee Herb, Garden Balm, Golden lemon balm, Variegated lemon balm, Bee balm
02014.11 Melissa officinalis by Silar (CC BY-SA 4.0)
3 years to reach maturity
This plant has a mild fragrance
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Lemon Balm Overview
Melissa officinalis, commonly known by the names Lemon Balm or Bee Balm, amongst others. This plant is a hardy perennial herb from the mint family, Lamiaceae. Grown for the lemon-scented leaves. This is a great addition to any herb or medicinal garden and wonderful food for insects including bees. The word 'officinalis' means 'used medicinally', and 'Melissa' comes from the Greek for 'honey bee'.
Common problems with Lemon Balm
This plant is generally diseases and pest resistant, but can be affected by leafhoppers which can transmit plant viruses. If spotted on your plant, spray insects with warm soapy water and spray on the leaves to deter future visiting pests.
Lemon Balm Companion Plants
Cucumbers, tomatoes, fruit trees
How to harvest Lemon Balm
Leaves can be harvested throughout the year and used fresh. Leaves and flowers can also be dried or oil extracted for later use.
How to propagate Lemon Balm
Sow seeds during Spring and Summer; Sow about 6 mm deep; Germination time about 7 - 15 days.
Divide in Spring or Autumn. Replant clumps directly into new position.
Easily grown from stem cuttings rooted in water.
Special features of Lemon Balm
Attracts useful insects
The flowers attract bees and butterflies.
Once established, it is drought tolerant and can even be used in a rock garden.
Great specimen to plant in a pot as this limits its vigorous spreading habit as it tends to re-seed itself easily.
Grows vigorousy and the fragrant foliage can make a pretty background in a flower bed.
Other uses of Lemon Balm
Fragrance, medicinal, ornamental (pot pourii), beds, borders, colour
Externally used in the treatment of cold sores, insect bites, insect repellant (citronella oil), aromatherapy. Used as a tea for digestive problems, calm and relieves stress and anxiety.
Traditionally used as a calming herbal tea. Leaves and Flowers used in tea, salads and cooked foods, often in combination with other herbs. The extract and oil are used as a flavoring for ice cream.
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