Lemon balm is valued as a culinary, cosmetic and medicinal herb. Use fresh sprigs to top drinks and as garnishes on salads and main dishes. The fresh or dried leaves make a great cold or hot tea, and the dried leaves can be used pot-pourris. Traditionally valued as a medicinal herb, lemon balm has mild sedative properties. Lemon balm is easy to grow from seed sown in the spring or early fall.
The amount of sunlight this product needs daily in order to perform well in the garden. Full sun means 6 hours of direct sun per day; partial sun means 2-4 hours of direct sun per day; shade means little or no direct sun.
Days To Maturity
The average number of days from when the plant is actively growing in the garden to the expected time of harvest.
This refers to whether a plant is an annual, biennial or perennial. Annuals complete their life cycles in one year; biennials produce foliage the first year and bloom and go to seed the second year; perennials can live for more than two years.
The typical height of this product at maturity.
The width of the plant at maturity.
Additional ways in which the product may be used in the garden.
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Sowing Seed Indoors:
Sow indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost in spring using a seed starting kit.
Just barely cover the seed with seed-starting formula.
Keep the soil moist at 70 degrees F
Seedlings emerge in 14-21 days
As soon as seedlings emerge, provide plenty of light on a sunny windowsill or grow seedlings 3-4 inches beneath fluorescent plant lights turned on 16 hours per day, off for 8 hours at night. Raise the lights as the plants grow taller. Incandescent bulbs will not work for this process because they will get too hot. Most plants require a dark period to grow, do not leave lights on for 24 hours.
Seedlings do not need much fertilizer, feed when they are 3-4 weeks old using a starter solution (half strength of a complete indoor houseplant food) according to manufacturer’s directions.
If you are growing in small cells, you may need to transplant the seedlings to 3 or 4 inch pots when seedlings have at least 3 pairs of leaves before transplanting to the garden so they have enough room to develop strong roots.
Before planting in the garden, seedling plants need to be “hardened off”. Accustom young plants to outdoor conditions by moving them to a sheltered place outside for a week. Be sure to protect them from wind and hot sun at first. If frost threatens at night, cover or bring containers indoors, then take them out again in the morning. This hardening off process toughens the plant’s cell structure and reduces transplant shock and scalding.
Sowing Directly in the Garden:
Direct sow in average soil in full sun after danger of frost in spring.
Remove weeds and work organic matter into the top 6-8 inches of soil; then level and smooth.
Sow seeds evenly and lightly cover with fine soil.
Firm the soil lightly and keep evenly moist.
Seedlings will emerge in 14-21 days.
Thin to 12 inches apart when seedlings are 1-2 inches tall.
Mulches help retain soil moisture and maintain even soil temperatures. For herbs, an organic mulch of aged bark or shredded leaves lends a natural look to the bed and will improve the soil as it breaks down in time. Always keep mulches off a plant’s stems to prevent possible rot.
Keep plants well-watered during the growing season, especially during dry spells. Plants need about 1 inch of rain per week during the growing season. Use a rain gauge to check to see if you need to add water. It’s best to water with a drip or trickle system that delivers water at low pressure at the soil level. If you water with overhead sprinklers, water early in the day so the foliage has time to dry off before evening, to minimize disease problems. Keep the soil moist but not saturated.
Cut plants back by up to two-thirds after they bloom, about 40 days after emergence, to encourage new growth.
Monitor for pests and diseases. Check with your local Cooperative Extension Service for pest controls recommended for your area.
Divide plants every year or two in spring or early fall to control their spread.
Harvest and Preserving Tips
Lemon balm is one of the easiest lemon-scented herbs you can grow and is suitable for flower borders, herb gardens, containers, or vegetable gardens.
Use the fresh leaves to add to flavor to foods and teas, or toss them into your bathwater.
Include the dried leaves in potpourri.
To dry lemon balm, cut a bunch of stems on a sunny morning, tie them loosely and hang them in a dry, airy location out of the sun. When thoroughly dry, store in a tightly sealed glass jar in a dry, dark location, such as a cupboard, for one year.
Lemon balm may be chopped and frozen in vegetable oil or water in ice cube trays.
Days To Maturity
Lemon Balm is rated
4.375 out of
Rated 5 out of
Fast grower, great for iced teaI grew my seeds in peat pots with a heating mat, and all 3 of the seeds that I planted sprouted. They've been growing fast indoors, sharing the grow-light with my tomatoes. I think it's time that I can plant them outside, but I've already given the 3 away to people that loved them! I'm starting a larger batch now, this time I'm keeping some for myself, not to be selfish, but I want some too :) The plants grow fast, even indoors on a windowsill, and the leaves are great in iced/hot tea, or even just water. Just bruise the leaves a little, fill up a large mason jar with ice water and enjoy the warm weather.
Date published: 2015-04-16
Rated 4 out of
Hardy Fragrant plantI planted seeds early April, in zone 6. Not all the seeds produced, but the ones that did certainly grew into a large hardy bush. I will be cutting it back due to it is growing into my green beans. I was very pleasantly surprized at the wonderful sweet lemon fragrance of the leaves. Unlike citrus orange mint, which is more minty. The lemon balm is very sweet, and am looking forward to finding different ways to use it.
Date published: 2012-07-02
Rated 1 out of
No luck with these seed.I am sad to say that I could'nt get any of these seeds to develope into a viable plant. The majority of the seed did not germinate, and the few that did only survived a day or so. I tried different soil, high humidity tents, just under the grow lights, in the shade until germinated, ect...
I hope to try again after I do a little more research and experiences of others.
Date published: 2012-05-08
Rated 5 out of
Wonderful HerbLike most perennial herbs lemon balm can be just a bit tricky to germinate. Germination indoors is best so you can monitor light and water and heat until they sprout. Once established in the the garden, however, they are just about impossible to get rid of (so make sure you like their location!!). They are extremely fragrant, hardy, and pretty plants. They sort-of resemble mint, but have a heavenly lemony smell. If they start growing in your lawn as they have in ours, the air smells amazing when you mow over them. Great for teas, soups (stinging nettle and lemon balm soup is fabulous), and can be fed in practically unlimited quantities to rabbits. Our pet rabbits are very thankful for every leaf they get. Love this herb, even though it has taken over much of our brick walkway.
Date published: 2012-03-13
Rated 5 out of
Reliable Garden StapleI have overwintered lemon balm in my garden in Michigan for decades. It can become a little invasive if you don't cut it back in the fall or spring. Leaves provide a wonderful lemon-herbal scent. I use it in anything that can benefit from a little lemon (fish, chicken, rice, couscous); also wonderful when paired with a bit of lemon thyme for a great lemon boost.
Date published: 2011-04-17
Rated 5 out of
very resilient plantThis plant did very well in pots (I don't have a dirt yard). If you give it a big pot, the plant can grow quite big and produce lots of foliage which I like to dry and make tea with. I love the smell of these plants! Although the product info says indoor sow, I'd recommend sowing them directly outside, because like mint they are difficult to grow under plant lights indoors. They grow fast enough that they don't really need a head start. I had read that this plant was only cold hardy to 20 degrees F, but it appears that the roots survived the winter despite temperatures as low as 0-6 degrees F. They are beginning to push up little green leaves as early as mid-March.
Date published: 2011-03-28
Rated 5 out of
lemon balmmy seeds were a little slow to start in the beginning, but once they started they grew like crazy. Just coming home from throat surgery and a liquid diet, i got tired of the taste of plain water. I put lemon balm in a tea ball added a little sugar and it tasted great. Its great for any recipe that calls for lemon but is not overpowering. I use it even if its not called for in a recipe. Thats how much I like it. I plan on including this herb to my potted garden all the time.
Date published: 2006-08-26
Rated 5 out of
Great grandmother from
Lemon BalmThis is a very good seasoning for teas, punches, anything you want a little more lemon flavor. I would reccomend it to everyone.