How to Grow Lemon Balm

10 Sep
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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. Follow these How to Grow Lemon Balm from seeds instructions and grow some wonderful “Lemony” flavour. Grow in container or contained area of the garden as this plant spreads.

Latin
Melissa officinalis
Family: Lamiaceae

Difficulty
Easy

Season & Zone
Season: Cool season
Exposure: Sun or part-shade
Zone: Hardy from zone 5 and above.

Timing
Start indoors 6 to 8 weeks before last frost, and transplant out or direct so in late March to mid-April.

Starting
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. Once seedlings are large enough to handle, transplant at a spacing of 45cm (18″) into the garden.

Growing
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.

Harvest
Pick leaves throughout the summer for fresh use. The aroma is rapidly lost when dried or stored.