Melissa officinalis

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Lemon Balm (Perennial)

USDA Hardiness Zone 4-9

This upright perennial herb is loosely branched with coarse leaves and attracts attention more for its scent rather than its appearance. Releases a nice strong scent when touched. A useful plant for kitchen and garden. This member of the mint family, blooms with white-yellowish tubular flowers July-September. Use leaves in arrangements, teas and sachets for its relaxation qualities. Can be used to replace grated lemon rind in fish and chicken dishes. Preserve by air-drying.

Height

24-36 Inches

Spread

12-18 Inches

Interesting Notes

HERB OF THE YEAR 2007 It's nickname melissa, which means "honeybee" in Greek, is a tribute to this distictive fragrance, which attracts swarms of bees to the plant.

Homeowner Growing and Maintenance Tips

Can tolerate dry soil, but scent will be stronger if grown in moist, fertile soil. To harvest, cut off the entire plant 2" from the ground before flowering. Mulch with compost each spring, lemon balm needs little extra fertilizer. After several years, plants can grow very large. Dig up and divide the plant or replace with a new one.

Good Companions

Wild Strawberry (Fragaria virginiana)

Characteristics & Attributes

Attributes & Uses
Crafts
Dried Flowers
Containers
Culinary
Fragrant
Exposure
Full Sun
Shade
Partial Shade
Foliage Color
Green
Season of Interest (Foliage)
Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall
Soil Moisture Preference
Rich
Moist
Well-drained
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