Lemon Balm is part of the mint family. It has a strong lemon scent with just a touch of mint in it. The scent is released when you rub the leaves. It can be used to make tea or eaten fresh with fruit. It attracts bees and acts as a natural repellent for mosquitos.
Soil – It likes rich, moist soil that is well-drained. I use a rich composted soil mixed with Miracle Gro potting soil with fertilizer.
Sun – It prefers full sun but it will also do well in partial shade.
Water – Make sure to keep it moist and don’t let the soil dry between watering.
Fertilizer – I use a potting soil with a slow release fertilizer in the beginning of the season. I also give it a boost with Miracle Gro plant food once a month towards the end of the summer and into fall.
Even though it is part of the mint family, it is not invasive like mint. It doesn’t send out runners the way mint does, it grows in big clusters that resemble more of a bush. I grow mine in a pot in my greenhouse and it lasts until December. I take frequent cuttings and hang them to dry. It regenerates quickly and comes back even more lush with each trimming.
When dried, the scent is pleasant but nowhere near as strong as when it’s fresh. It is nice for aromatherapy or as part of a potpourri sachet.
If you are making hot tea with it, I would suggest using fresh leaves. Put the fresh leaves in a mug, pour boiling water over them and let them steep for ten to fifteen minutes.
For cold tea, put leaves in a pitcher, pour boiling water over them and let sit for twenty minutes. Then remove the leaves and put the pitcher in refrigerator or add ice to cool it down quicker.
When cooking with Lemon Balm, add it toward the end because it can lose flavor quickly. It goes very well with fish and chicken.
It’s a nice herb with quite a few uses. A great addition to any herb garden.