Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), a member of the mint family, is a versatile herb with a long history of use in cooking and medicine. The name “lemon balm” comes from the Greek word for “honey bee,” which is a testament to the plant’s popularity with bees.
Lemon balm has a strong lemon scent and flavor, making it a popular addition to culinary dishes, teas, and potpourris. The herb also has a number of medicinal uses.
Growing Lemon Balm
Lemon balm is relatively easy to grow. The plant prefers full sun but will tolerate partial shade, and it needs well-drained, moist soil. Lemon balm is frost-sensitive, so it’s best to plant it after the last frost date in your area.
To encourage bushier growth, pinch back the tips of the plants in early summer. You can harvest lemon balm leaves anytime during the growing season. Simply snip off the leaves you need, being careful not to damage the stem or other leaves.
Lemon balm makes an excellent addition to any garden, both for its culinary and medicinal uses.