Lemon balm: A Bit of Botany
a little botanical information about lemon balm

Lemon balm is a perennial herb in the mint family Lamiaceae that grows to 70–150 cm tall. The root-stock is short, the stem square and branching, grows 1 to 2 feet high

At each stem joint pairs of broadly ovate or heart-shaped, crenate or toothed leaves grow. These leaves not only emit a fragrant lemon odor when bruised, they also have a distinct lemon taste.

Lemon balm's white or yellowish flowers grow in loose, small bunches from the axils of the leaves and they bloom from June to October. The plant dies down in winter, but happily the root is perennial.

common names & nomenclature
These plants attract bees. Not surprisingly the genus and common name Melissa is Greek for "honey bee".

Also known as:
sweet melissa, honey leaf, balm, sweet balm, melissa

Lemon Balm, the mint with bright lemon flavor
Lemon balm: Where in the World
habitat and range for lemon balm

Lemon balm is native to center-southern Europe and the Mediterranean region.

Lemon balm: Cultivation & Harvesting
considerations for growing and harvesting lemon balm

The lemon balm plant grows well in a partly shaded sheltered position. It can be drought tolerant as it is able to tolerate dry places. It is typically grown in herb gardens providing bushy, lemon-scented leaves. Planted near edges of the garden, traffic flow will release its citrus smell when it is brushed against.

Lemon balm grows in any well-drained soil, but it prefers a light rich moist soil.

Lemon balm can be propagated by seeds, cuttings or division of roots in spring or autumn. It grows in clumps and spreads well. In mild temperate zones, the stems of the plant die off at the start of the winter, but will shoot up again in spring.

Lemon Balm grows vigorously and care should be taken against placing it where it will spread into other plantings.

The plant can be used fresh or dried, for drying it is harvested just before or just after flowering.

Dried lemon balm is best stored (as cut pieces or powder) in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.