Melissa officinalis. This special cultivar of conventional lemon balm has been selected for its distinctive and pronounced orange scent. Mandarina Orange Balm grows with a trailing habit, so it makes a beautiful "spiller" in hanging baskets and raised garden beds. It can even be used as a ground cover, and used to cover slopes and other difficult areas. Small white flowers appear in summer that are very attractive to bees. Use the leaves as a relaxing tea. This plant grows 30-35cm (12-14"), and a little shorter in containers. It is perennial to Zone 4 and even deer resistant.
Lemon balm’s Latin name is taken from the Greek word for bee (Melissa), and from the ancient belief that a swarm of honeybees could be attracted to an empty hive simply by placing sprigs of the plant inside. Grow in container or contained area of the garden as this plant spreads. Continue reading below for some of our top tips on how to grow lemon balm from seed.
Season & Zone
Season: Cool season
Exposure: Sun or part-shade
Zone: Hardy to Zone 5
Start indoors 6 to 8 weeks before last frost, and transplant out or direct sow once day time temperatures are steadily above 10°C (50°F).
Barely cover the tiny seeds. Use a sterilized potting soil, and keep watering to an absolute minimum – just enough to keep the medium from drying out. Germination takes 10-14 days. Transplant at a spacing of 45cm (18″) into the garden.
Choose a shady spot or a location where plants can be protected from midday sun. Lemon balm prefers a fertile, moist soil in a cooler part of the garden. Plants grown in partial shade will be larger and more succulent than those exposed to full sun.
Pick leaves throughout the summer for fresh use. The aroma is rapidly lost when dried or stored.