|Germination time:||17 days|
|Time to harvesting:||+90 days|
|Mature height:||90cm (3ft)|
|Mature spread:||50cm (20in)|
|Ideal pH range:||4.5 - 7.6|
|Sow depth:||1cm (½in)|
|Growing plant spacing:||15cm (6in)|
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is a perennial herb in the mint family Lamiaceae, native to southern Europe and the Mediterranean region. It is a bushy plant growing up to 90cm (3ft) tall and can spread like mint so may have to be kept in check. It is grown for its oval leaves which emit a strong lemon aroma when crushed.
Lemon balm tolerates light shade and thrives in most average soils.
Sow seeds 1cm (½in) deep in late April or early may.
Thin seedlings to 15cm (6in) apart. Alternatively you can by a pot from a garden centre. It can be grown in containers to stop the roots from invading other areas of your garden.
Keep the plants well watered during their first summer.
Pick leaves sparingly until the plant is well established.
In subsequent years, cut the stems back to 15cm (6in) above the ground each June to encourage the growth of new shoots. Each October cut them back to just above ground level. Store the cuttings, tied, by hanging in a warm, airy location.
If you are picking leaves for drying, do so before the plant starts to flower in June and July.
- Full troubles list: Mint troubles
- Lemon Balm. myfolia.com. Retrieved: 2010-09-11.
- Hessayon, D.G. (2009). The Vegetable & Herb Expert. Transworld Publishers, London. p. 135. ISBN 9780903505468
- Food From Your Garden & Allotment. Reader's Digest Association Ltd, London. p. 83. ISBN 978276443367
- Hyde, B. Using and Growing Lemon Balm. MOAB Group LLC, Seeds of Knowledge, Old Fashioned Living. Retrieved: 2010-09-11.
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