Lemon Balm Melissa Officinalis is a perennial herb native to Europe, North Africa, and Central Asia. Lemon Balm seeds can be started indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost or directly outdoors in spring or fall. Also called Sweet Balm, Melissa Officinalis grows 2 feet tall featuring short root-stocks, and square, branching stems with broadly ovate or heart-shaped, crenate or toothed leaves that emit a fragrant lemon odor when bruised. The fragrant, white or yellowish Lemon Balm flowers grow in loose, small bunches from the axils of the leaves and bloom from June to October attracting bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies.
Lemon Balm is often grown as a culinary and medicinal herb in herb gardens, or as a border plant. Melissa Officinalis seeds germinate quickly, and the established Lemon Balm tolerates drought and poor, dry soil. In traditional herbal medicine, Lemon Balm enjoys contemporary usage as a mild sedative, spasmolytic and antibacterial agent. As a culinary herb, Lemon Balm has a great affinity for fresh fruits, especially apples, so it is sometimes found in apple-based desserts, but it can also be used to flavor other fruits, fruit salads or fruit-based desserts. One of the Lemon Balm's most popular uses is soothing herbal teas, where its lemon-scented volatile oils are released, and Lemon Balm dried leaves are also a perfect ingredient for potpourri and dream pillows.
Height: 18-24 Inches
Bloom Season: Summer/Fall
Environment: Sun/Partial Shade
Soil Type: Rich/Average/Dry/Poor/Moist well-drained, pH 6.1-7.8
USDA Zones: 4-9
Sow Indoors: Winter/Spring (6-8 weeks before last frost)
Sow Outdoors: Spring/Fall
Seed Depth: Surface sowing - press seeds slightly into the soil
Germination Time: 10-21 Days