Lemon Balm

Melissa officinalis

Balm, Balm Leaf, Balm Oil Plant, Barm Leaf, Bee Balm, Bee Herb, Common Balm, Dropsywort, Garden Balm, Honey Plant, Melissa, Pimentary, Sweet Balm, Sweet Mary, Tea Balm

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Melissa officinalis, commonly known by the name Lemon balm is a hardy perennial herb from the mint family with lemon scented leaves. The word 'officinalis' means 'used medicinally', and 'Melissa' comes from the Greek for 'honey bee'. This is a great addition to any herb or medicinal garden and wonderful food for insects including bees.
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Planning

Difficulty

Easy

Flowering time

Spring, Summer

Fruiting time

Summer

Harvesting

Leaves can be harvested throughout the year and used fresh. Leaves and flowers can also be dried or oil extracted for later use.

Propagation

Seed

Sow seeds during Spring and Summer; Sow about 6 mm deep; Germination time about 7 - 15 days.

Division

Divide in Spring or Autumn. Replant clumps directly into new position.

Cuttings

Easily grown from stem cuttings rooted in water.

Special features

Attracts useful insects
Drought resistant
Pot plant
Attractive leaves

Special features

Origin

Lemon balm is believed to orginate from Italy, but is native to south-central Europe, North Africa, the Mediterranean and Central Asia.

Natural climate

Cool to temperate

Environment

Light

Partial Sun

Soil moisture

Moist

Soil type

Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand

Soil PH preference

Neutral

Frost hardiness

Half-Hardy

Uses

Medicinal

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.

Edible

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.

Personality

Family

Lamiaceae

Flower colour

Spikes of white to cream flowers

Scent

Mild

Problems

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.
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Knowledge and advice

Search our ever-growing knowledge base to find plants and information. Find out about pests and diseases you should be keeping an eye out for. Watch How to videos or follow step by step guides for tasks in the garden. Free download for your phone or tablet.
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