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Edibles Grow Sheets

Lemon Balm

  • Scientific Name
    Melissa officinalis
  • General Information

    Lemon balm is a fragrant perennial herb that grows 2 to 3 feet tall and is loved by bees. To avoid aggressive spread, pinch-tip stems or grow in a container. Deer avoid lemon balm.

  • When to Plant

    From seed: Sow seed in spring and early fall.

    Transplants: Plant seedlings in spring.

    Cuttings: Propagation by cuttings is possible. Roots well in water.

  • Planting

    Plant 2 feet apart in full sun to part shade.  

  • Soil Requirements

    Prefers average, loamy soil that drains well. 

  • Water Requirements

    Keep plants evenly moist. Soil is too damp if it forms a clump.

  • Fertilizing

    Amend soil with compost annually.

  • Pollination

    Lemon balm is pollinated by bees and other flying insects.

  • Harvesting

    Harvest before blooms open to control spread. Leaves can be used fresh or dried. Tie bundles of 5 to 7 sprigs and hang in a cool, dry place upside down so oils remain in leaves.

  • Storage

    Once dry, strip leaves off stems and store leaves in glass jars to use until next year’s harvest.  

  • Good Varieties for Marin
    N / A
  • Helpful Tips

    Do not overwater. Provide some afternoon shade. Frequent harvesting keeps leaves fresh. To collect seed, allow flowers to bloom, cut stem, and place in a paper bag until dry. The tiny seeds will drop from flowers. 

  • Common Problems

    Aggressive spreader.

  • Pests- Diseases & More

    Not usually bothered by pests and diseases. If aphids, whiteflies, or mites appear, hose off. If brown spots appear on leaves, combat with proper spacing and practice crop rotation.