All You Need to Know About Lemon Balm Plant | Growth | Propagation | Care

Melissa Officinalis, commonly known as the lemon balm plant, is a perennial herb that belongs to the mint family. It develops as a leafy, bushy herb with a pleasant lemon scent and tiny white blossoms. You can plan to utilize a bunch of fresh, flavorful leaves to make tea, delicious green salad, fruits and seasonal fish because the plant looks finest when it is cut down regularly. Make sure to incorporate stems in your summer floral arrangements.

Lemon balm’s green leaves have a lemony aroma with a tinge of mint, and the leaves resemble giant mint leaves, which is no surprise given that lemon balm is a member of the mint family. It can reach a height of 24″ to 36″ and forms a lovely green cluster of medium-textured leaves amidst your other flowers and herbs.

However, it can quickly spread in the garden if not adequately controlled. Many people believe that this plant is invasive because of its similarity with its cousin’s peppermint and spearmint. However, it is the plant seeds that cause this herb to take over a garden. Lemon balm will become significantly less invasive if the blossoms are removed as soon as they develop.

Continue reading to learn about growing and harvesting lemon balm. You can learn about how to grow, plant, use and much more about lemon balm.

Acer Palmatum | How To Grow Japanese Maple?

Lemon Balm Features

Scientific Name

Melissa officinalis

Family Name

It belongs to the Lamiaceae mint family.

Origin

Europe and Asia

Plant Type

It is a herbaceous upright perennial.

Growth Season

In cool weather, they grow best. Moreover, in freezing temperatures, it dies and then rises again in spring.

Growing Zones

The growing zones range from 4 to 9

Dislike

This plant does not like humid and hot climates.

Hardiness

It tolerates moderate amounts of heat and is hardy to -20°F.

Plant Size

12” to 24” in height and width.

Plant Form

This plant grows in clusters of branched stems with little white to creamy yellow blooms in loose terminal clusters at the apex. At first appearance, they’re often confused for mint.

Bloom Time

Small white lemon balm flower grow during the summer and into fall.

Leaves Shape

They have a broad shape base that has a round or wedge shape. Moreover, the tip of the leaves is blunt and pointed.

Scent

Lemon-scented

How to Plant Lemon Balm?

While planting a lemon balm plant, you must consider the following factors.

Location

The best location to plant it is in full sun. It is capable of tolerating shade.

Soil Preparation

Plant it in a sandy loam, well-drained soil. However, it will develop in all types of soil except highly wet soil. The soil of pH ranging from 6.7 to 7.3 is the most suitable.

Indoors Seed Starting

After the last spring frost date, sow seeds inside two months before transplanting them into the yard. Seeds need sunshine to germinate, so abstain from covering them. Instead, you may gently cover them with fine dirt. In around 14 days, the seeds will germinate.

Transplanting Outdoor

After the last spring frost, transfer your plants into the garden.

Outdoor Planting Time

In the spring, sow them outside, around the average date of the last frost. Seeds might take a long time to sprout. Sow seed in the late summer or fall as well. You can sow root divisions at any time during the growth period, but calm conditions will help them develop more quickly. One can start new growth cuttings in damp sand.

Depth of Planting

Sow the seed ¼” deep and cover them lightly with the soil for germination. Until seeds germinate, keep your source wet.

Spacing

You should thin successful seedlings to 8 inches apart, and plants should be thinned to 18 inches away later. Rows should be 18 to 24 inches away.

Planting Quantity

For cooking, four lemon balm plants, while for tea and storing, 6 to 12 lemon balm plants must be grown.

Companion Plants

Grow lemon balm with cauliflower, broccoli, and other family plants of cabbage. Lemon balm’s scent repels insects that target cabbage family crops and masking the odour of cabbage. Combine angelica, hollyhocks, and nasturtiums with lemon balm. Honeybees love lemon balm, so put it near fruit trees to help with pollination.

Ruellia Plant | How to Grow Ruellia? 

How to Grow Lemon Balm in a Pot?

Growing lemon balm in pots is simple and easy. The plants don’t prefer where they grow and will thrive in practically any soil, but they favour rich, well-drained soil. Lemon balm plants may develop in various conditions, from partial shade to full sun, but full sun is ideal.

Watering

They need to be watered regularly and evenly. It thrives in slightly damp soil. Lemon balm tolerates drought after it has established itself.

Pot Size

Lemon balm is an annual that can be cultivated in a container. Pick one with a depth and width of 6 to 8”.

Feeding

Any additional feeding is not required during the growing season.

Avoid them from being Invasive

Lemon balm spreads by underground roots, so take care of it. Plant lemon balm in the yard in a bottomless pot to keep the roots in place and prevent them from becoming problematic. Remove undesirable plants before they develop themselves. After flowering, cut plants back by 1⁄2 to foster a second crop of leaves and a sleek appearance. To avoid self-sowing, deadhead plants.

Growth in Winter

Leave 2″ of stem and cut the remaining in the fall. The plant may frost to the ground in the cold season, but it will grow again from underground roots and replenish itself in the spring.

How to Care for Lemon Balm Plants?

For taking full benefits, lemon balm care is essential. Below are some ways in which you can take care of them.

Lemon balm cultivation is a summertime job. Begin with Bonnie Plants’ immature lemon balm plants, assisting home gardeners in prospering for many years. Once all threat of frost has passed, place lemon balm plants 20 to 24″ apart in well-draining, rich soil where they can enjoy the shade during the daytime. Mix in a few inches of all-purpose in-ground soil with the top to make them strive for better nutrition and drainage of your current soil. Nutritions enhances them with seasoned compost and provide them with a good nutritional start.

During moderate winters, lemon balm will stay green. Trimming this plant encourages it to regrow thicker than before. When your plant begins to show signs of stress from hail, drought, pests, insects, or other factors, simply cut that down and let it replenish itself with new shoots.

While fertile soil is suitable for their cultivation, you’ll have even more progress if you use a water soluble fertiliser. Be careful to use them at the desirable dosage. Besides, you can also work with plenty of organic nutrients into the soil from blood meal, cottonseed meal, or compost.

How to Harvest Lemon Balm?

During the planting season, pluck off and utilise leaves and stems as needed. The strongest fragrance comes from older, lower leaves. The optimal time to collect leaves for drying is before the plant blooms in the summer, when the lower leaves turn yellow. Cut back the plant by half in the middle of the season or the autumn; it will sprout new leaves in 4 weeks or less.

Harvesting Instructions

With snip leaves, garden pruner, and spring, handle the leaves cautiously since they bruise quickly.

Lemon Balm Problems

A lemon balm faces the following diseases.

Diseases

Mint rust, verticillium wilt, and powdery mildew are all diseases that can affect lemon balm. Keep plants adequately separated to allow for adequate ventilation to avoid fungal diseases.

Precaution

During the season, spray plants with compost tea, which is a natural fungicide.

Pests

There are no severe pest concerns with lemon balm.

Lemon Balm Uses in Kitchen

You can use lemon balm in the following ways in the kitchen.

Strong Scent

Lemon balm has a strong lemon fragrance with a hint of mint in the perfume.

Leaves

For a lemony flavour, lightly sprinkle finely diced leaves on cooked vegetables, poultry salads, green salads, and fruit salads. Broccoli, shrimp, corn, lamb, asparagus, olives, and beans go well with this dish. To make spreads, add chopped leaves to salad dressings and cheeses.

Cooking

Fresh lemon balm leaves can be used in cooking. To get the finest flavour, incorporate lemon balm after the cooking process.

Tea

A delicious, faintly lemony tea can be made with its leaves. Fresh or dried leaf infusion has a refreshing, citrus flavour that soothes troubled tummies.

Complements in the Kitchen

Use lemon balm with lovage, parsley, or dill to give a mild citrus flavour to sauces.

How to Grow a Liriope Plant? | Complete Growing Guid

Preserving and Storing Lemon Balm

Leaf Drying

Leaves can be plucked from stems and dried in a warm location. Nearly ripe leaves can be harvested and dried. The leaves must be dried soon after harvesting, or they may become black. To keep their green hue, the leaves must be dried at 90°F. Fresh leaves have more flavour than dried leaves.

Freezing

You can freeze fresh leaves.

Storing

You can store it for about six months.

Propagating Lemon Balm

The seed can be cultivated from a seven days stratified seed. Once stratified, germination takes 14 days. It will self-sow in its new location. Besides, you can also sow seeds for spring plants in the fall. In late spring or early summer, you must cut roots by dipping cut ends of stems in organic potting soil. Planting root divisions at any moment during the growing season is possible. When lemon balm is buried in soil, it will root at nodes along the stems. In spring or fall, layer them.

Lemon balm Tips and Tricks

You must follow the following instructions for lemon balm’s proper and prosperous growth without making it a problem.

  • Trim the plant back to some inches during the growing season to keep it from covering your garden space. This will also preserve the plant’s bushy and robust look while also keeping the seeds from maturing.
  • Mulch will not only keep the falling seeds from sprouting, but it will also gradually decompose, providing the rich organic matter that this plant requires.
  • Grow them in late April. After all, the dangers of frost have gone.
  • Plant them 20 to 24″ in shady areas and well-drained soil with a pH ranging from 6.5 to 7.0.
  • Add several inches of rich organic matter into your native soil to speed up the growth season.
  • Keep assessing the soil moisture and water if the top inch turns dry.
  • Feeding your plants with water-soluble plant food daily will help them produce more leaves.
  • Once your lemon balm plant hits 6 to 8” height, you can pluck the leaves at any time.
  • At a time, don’t harvest more than one-third of the plant.

Lemon Balm Side Effects

Ingestion by Mouth

When eaten in medical proportions for a short period, it is safe. Moreover, it has been used in research for six months with no severe side effects. However, one may face the following side effects

  • Nausea
  • Increased hunger,
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Wheezing
  • Dizziness

Application on SKin

Lemon balm is considered safe for adults when applied to the skin. However, it has the potential to irritate the skin.

Warnings

Avoid using it during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

It is safe for infants and children when used properly for one month by mouth.

Avoid for a minimum of two weeks before surgery as it produces excessive sleepiness.

It has been found that lemon balm produces an alteration in thyroid function. It causes a decrease in thyroid hormone levels along with interaction with thyroid hormone replacement medication. Hence, stay away from lemon balm if you are a thyroid patient.

How can I keep lemon balm from taking over my garden?

First, plant lemon balm around existing plants; that way it will not be able to take over. When you do this, keep the planting space weed-free. In addition, try planting the lemon balm in other places around the garden where it doesn’t take over—such as along a trellis or fence or under the eaves of a building.

Wondering what to do with lemon balm and what is lemon balm used for exactly?

Lemon balm is a plant that has been used for thousands of years to help people deal with a variety of ailments. It has been shown to be effective against depression, anxiety, insomnia, and stress. You can eat the leaves, flowers, or the oil that you make from the leaves. You can also use it topically to help heal your skin.

Are the flowers of Lemon Balm safe to eat?

Listed as generally harmless by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), this plant is considered edible. It can be used as a flavoring or to make tea. But keep in mind that it can also have an unpleasant odor. To remove that smell, the flowers can be steamed before cooking.

How long do Lemon Balm seeds last?

Lemon balm can take 10 years to reach maturity in a garden and is not a very productive plant. The main problem with lemon balm is that it’s a perennial and will be a constant presence in your yard, so if you decide to harvest it, it’s best to cut it back in the fall. If you plan to use lemon balm to attract bees, butterflies, or other pollinators, it’s best to harvest in spring so that the plant has a chance to set seed.

When to plant lemon balm?

You can transplant it at times during early spring to early summer. However, you may sow seeds in late winter and let them set out in spring.

How to grow melissa plant?

Melissa flower plant is a rapid grower, similar to that of mint. Hence, the best way to grow them is to confine them in a container or a raised bed that does not get enough space to spread. Then, grow it in well-drained, fertile, moist soil in partial or complete sunshade for ideal results.

How tall does lemon balm grow?

It grows about 10” to 24” tall.

How to germinate lemon balm seeds?

For germinating them, in early spring, sow seeds directly by putting them on the soil and covering them lightly. Then you may incorporate compost if you desire to, though it does not necessitate any special soil requirements. With temperatures ranging from 65 to 70°F, seeds will sprout in a week or ten days.

How to propagate lemon balm from cuttings?

Make a small cut on the inside of a 6-12″ long, low-growing flexible stem. Then attach the stem to the ground with a stake and 2-3″ of soil. In 1 to 2 months, roots will emerge from the stem near the cut.

Where does lemon balm grow?

Choose a shaded area or one where the plants will be safeguarded from the sun scorching rays. Lemon balm enjoys a cooler region of the garden with moist, fertile soil. Plants planted in partial shade are larger and luscious than those cultivated in full sun.

Can I grow lemon balm indoors?

When grown inside, it requires a lot of light to prosper. So please give it a place to live that has good drainage.

Is lemon balm a perennial?

Yes, it is.

When to harvest lemon balm?

This herb is ready to harvest once its leaves have reached the desired size. Lemongrass essential oil is usually used fresh because it loses most of its scent once it’s dried. Snips are used to cut off portions of the lemon balm to use. Leaves can be harvested throughout the year.

Therefore, Lemon balm plants are frequently passed down from one gardener to another through plant exchanges or as gifts. This perennial flowering plant grows well in cooler climes. You might be wondering what a farmer can accomplish with lemon balm and what lemon balm is used for. As a result, we’ve put up a comprehensive guide that will teach you everything you need to know about them. Even though it isn’t as popular as other herbs, it is a beautiful plant to have in your yard.

Blue Daisy Flower | Features | How to Propagate, Grow, and Take Care of Felicia Flower?
We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Best Garden Reviews
Logo