Thinking of growing lemon balm in your garden? It is a great choice! Check out these tips to help you get the most out of this unique plant.
Gardening is so much fun and even therapeutic when you get into it. Growing plants that can feed your family and add a purpose to your garden are even more rewarding to cultivate. Growing Lemon Balm is not only beautiful but has so many great uses in the kitchen and out. Check out these tips and why you should try your hand at lemon balm this year.
What is Lemon Balm?
Lemon Balm ( Melissa officinalis ) is a perennial herb that is related to mint but has a surprising lemony aroma. It is known for its medicinal purposes, as a cooking ingredient, and is used in herbal teas. The lemon balm plant can grow 12 to 24 inches high and wide, and typically grows quickly.
Tips for Growing Lemon Balm
Soil, Planting, & Care
Lemon balm likes a well-draining soil. If planting in a pot, choose a potting soil with some added nutrients. This will be great to get your lemon balm going and prolong the need to fertilize for a couple of months. It prefers a soil pH of 6.7 to 7.3.
Sun or Shade
Depending on the strength of the sun where you live you may want to consider planting your lemon balm in partial shade. If you live in a cooler climate your lemon balm should be fine in full sun.
Here in Florida, we have a very strong sun during the summer so I have moved my lemon balm onto the porch and it is doing wonderfully.
Water & Fertilizing
Lemon balm requires regular, even watering. It grows best in slightly moist soil. Lemon balm does not require extra feeding. Fertilize once a month with a liquid fertilizer during the growing season.
Lemon Balm Companion Planting
Finding a companion plant for lemon balm is easy. The fact that the beautiful lemon balm flowers attract beneficial pollinators and the lemony aroma of the leaves repels insects like mosquitos and gnats make it a great companion for any garden.
Find plants with the same growing condition needs. Some great options are squash, melons, tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli, and more. Also, any type of herb or blooming flower pairs nicely. Again, just make sure it needs the same conditions.
Is it Invasive?
Lemon balm does not spread by underground runners like mint. It does grow fast and seemingly spreads quickly. This is because those beautiful Lemon Balm flowers create and drop tiny seeds allowing this plant to spread and come back year after year. If you want to contain y0ur lemon balm, I recommend growing this one in a large pot or container.
Place it on a porch or in an outdoor sitting area. Not only will it smell great but it will repel pests too!
Where to buy Lemon Balm?
You can purchase lemon balm seeds online. Keep in mind that while you can successfully grown lemon balm from seeds it can be slow to start. You may find that you have better luck growing it from an existing plant. You can usually find lemon balm at your local garden center.