Lemon Balm(Melissa officinalis)
Light requirements Full sun to part shade. Protect plants from hot afternoon sun in southerly zones.
Planting Space 20 to 24 inches apart.
Soil requirements Nutrient-rich, well-drained soil is ideal.
Water requirements Lemon balm thrives in moist soil that’s not soggy. Improve drainage in wet areas by adding organic matter to soil.
Frost-fighting plan Lemon balm is perennial in zones 4 to 9. Plants are not frost-tolerant. If you need plants to survive a light frost, cover them with a frost blanket.
Common issues Lemon balm can spread rapidly in the garden. Help prevent self-sowing by clipping stems back to a few inches several times during the growing season, so the plants don’t set seeds. Clip as soon as flowers appear. Lemon balm is generally pest-free.
Harvesting Pick lemon balm leaves at any point in the growing season. Leaves tend to become smaller after plants flower. Clip leafy stems to be as long as you want. Plants branch freely from just below where you snip stems, so place cuts accordingly.
Storage Fresh lemon balm stems keep in water at room temperature five to seven days. For longer storage, dry or freeze leaves. Individually quick freeze leaves on a parchment-lined tray and store in freezer bags, or freeze in ice cubes.
For more information, visit the Lemon Balm page in our How to Grow section.
- Calories: 2
- Carbohydrates: 0g
- Dietary fiber: 0g
- Sugars: 0g
- Protein: 0g
- Vitamin A: 3% DV
- Vitamin C: 2%
- Vitamin K: 0%
- Vitamin B6: 0%
- Folate: 1%
- Potassium: 1%
- Manganese: 2%
Commonly used as a flavoring in beverages and foods, mint is also believed to have medicinal purposes—both as a leaf and as an oil. Peppermint oil is often applied to the skin as a treatment for headaches, muscle and nerve pain, inflammation, and even for repelling mosquitoes. A good source of Vitamins A and C, mint helps with vision and immune functions. The herb is also packed with antioxidants that protect against cell damage, boost the immune system, and form collagen in the body.