Lemon Balm is one of my favorite herbs. It smells and tastes great and is good for your health. The lemon balm plant produces beautiful lemon scented leaves. Leaves are typically used in teas, sauces, salads, soups, stews, and drinks.
Lemon Balm tea is said to stimulate the heart and calms the nerves. I personally love the soothing qualities it has on my tummy and the zip it adds to a cold and flu tea full of chamomile.
“Lemon balm contains a compound known as rosmarinic acid that appears to have powerful antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. Antioxidants help prevent cell damage, while antimicrobials kill infection-causing organisms like bacteria and viruses.”
You can read more on the medicinal uses of Lemon Balm at VeryWellHealth.com.
This versatile plant is a Perennial and spreads by rooted fallen stems and fallen seeds in abundance. Lemon balm, left to grow unchecked, will spread throughout your yard and garden prolifically.
You can easily grow Lemon Balm from seed or pre-started seedlings, indoors or out.
To start with seed outdoors, sow seeds directly into soil after the chance of your last frost has passed. Lightly springle loose soil over the top of the seeds you cast. Water lightly and wait. Germination takes between 7-14 days.
Me, I like to start seedlings indoors so that I know what I have to work with when the ground gets warm enough to work.
To start from seed I begin by sprinkling the seed over moist soil in a shallow cup and added a thin layer of soil over the top. I misted the top and place the dish in a makeshift plastic terrarium. (A cake container from the grocery storer, flipped upside down to use as a bowl, and holes drilled in the top (bottom), for air circulation.
The seeds were supposed to take between 7-14 days to sprout but they were up in five days. (That’s another thing I love about Seeds Now! Their seeds germinate so well)
I left them in the shallow cup until most of the sprouts were around 3-4″ tall before transplanting them into individual pots.
To transplant, I just popped the whole clump of seedlings out of the cup and started gently pulling each seedling apart from the clump.
When transplanting I put about three seedlings into each individual container. Each seedling will bush out, starting new shoots at each leaf cluster, and fill up the pots nicely. If there is too much bulk to them when I get around to putting them into larger pots or into the ground, I can just separate them by popping them out of the smaller pots and tearing them apart, soil and root ball and all.
These should be bushing out twice the size of the top of these 4″ pots, and likely about 6-8″ tall, by the time I am ready to get them in the ground.
Plant seedlings started indoors, into the garden once the soil remains above 50 degrees Fahrenheit overnight. Even planting outdoors, some people prefer to plant Lemon Balm in pots as it is a prolific spreader. Many gardeners consider it a pest.
I love using this herb as a companion plant to tomatoes, along with a little Borage, as it seems to have some bug repelling properties and I believe adds a bit of flavor boost to the tomatoes.
Growing mature plants indoors: keep the plant away from drafts and allow at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. Soil can be allowed to dry a little between waterings but never keep wet.