Growing Lemon Balm, also Sweet balm,

Melissa Officinalis : Lamiaceae / the mint family

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec

(Best months for growing Lemon Balm in USA - Zone 5a regions)

  • S = Plant undercover in seed trays
  • T = Plant out (transplant) seedlings
  • P = Sow seed
  • Easy to grow. Sow in garden. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 10°C and 25°C. (Show °F/in)
  • Space plants: 25 cm apart
  • Harvest in 8-10 weeks. Cut back tall stems to prevent flowering.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Good to attract bees
  • Lemon Balm

Lemon balm will grow from seed or cuttings. It self seeds readily and can become a nuisance if not checked.

Leaf shape is somewhat like mint and it likes to spread in the same way.

Pleasant lemon scent, released when a leaf is crushed.

Will grow in sun or part-shade. Lemon balm is shallow rooted so needs some water in hot dry weather. Does not like constant wet soil though. Attracts bees.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Lemon Balm

As a herb tea or added to fruit punch.
Can be used to replace lemon, used sparingly, in desserts and with stewed fruit.
Chop leaves into salad.

Better used fresh than dried.

Your comments and tips

23 Sep 10, Jay (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Lemon balm is the most amazing healing plant. I have used it as a herbal infusion (handful brewed in a teapot or even just a teacup) for tick bite, respiratory problems, inflamation, stress, fever and many others. Fantastic herb for the garden. I love it!
15 Dec 11, Sarah (Australia - arid climate)
Help! I was given a gorgeous lemon balm plant in a small pot for Xmas. It is now withering away & I see it's best suited to a winter planting. I'm in central Qld so it's really hot and sunny & the heavy rains have started. Not sure if it's worth planting in the garden or better off transplanting to a bigger pot.
08 Nov 12, nik (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Hi, my lemon balm is dying fast, and is covered (underneeth the plant) with what appears to be white mites perhaps? Not sure if it is mites or mildew... What to do? Thanks! PS I have one small plant that seems unaffected next to it, should I rapidly move it?
30 Dec 12, Leesa (Australia - temperate climate)
Hope it's not too late but I had the same thing - mine was going wild then suddenly went in reverse and very fast deteriorated to seemingly hopeless. It's now back better than ever. Here's what I did. Maybe it'll work for you. It seems to like being very wet in the soil, but plenty of air and sun on the centre base of the plant. Self defeating almost. The more it grows dense, the heart starts going yellow, white mildewy and tiny black spots. I cut away any of the affected leaves at the base (tiny new leaves that immediately went bad) - this was a lot. Also any bigger top leaves and whole 'branches' that were shadowing the centre. There wasn't much left, but what did I have to lose. It started recovering, and as long as it was in that weird bowl shape it kept getting better. During this stage you need to keep the water and feeding up because the centre is drying out and losing water to the soil underneath. After a while I let it grow back in the middle, still pruning when it got too clustered in the centre or the middle was shadowed from above. Now it has found its new legs and grows evenly as long as I occasionally do some of this 'middle air' maintenance and keep the water up. Hope this helps. I use a lot of it for Thai cooking - it's a great substitute for lemongrass, so I need mine to be thriving. Now happily, it is once more.
30 Jan 13, mia (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi Leesa, thsnks for the tips.
17 Feb 13, mike (South Africa - Dry summer sub-tropical climate)
where can i buy lemon herb seeds.i would like to start a organic herb garden.
13 Mar 13, MICHAEL (South Africa - Humid sub-tropical climate)
29 Jun 15, Matthew Gerlach (USA - Zone 2b climate)
Your website is showing that lemon balm is the same thing as bee balm when in fact they are two different genomes entirely. This could be very misleading and someone could mix up the two and possibly have a very different experience (Possibly not pleasant) if they were to start using bee balm instead of lemon balm as a supplement. I think this should be changed immediately. (That's done - thank you for the comment, Liz)
21 Mar 16, Levi Michelson (Australia - temperate climate)
Where can I buy lemon balm seeds or cuttings in the South Melbourne area?
16 May 16, Tom (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
Lemonbalm seeds aren't particularly rare, I think i even picked mine up at Kmart or a 2 dollar shop!
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