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Lemon Balm – Melissa officinalis
FULL SUN Native to southern Europe and northern Africa, Lemon Balm has been cultivated for more than 2000 years. Brought to the US by the early colonists in the 1600s, the 12-18 in. plant has been used to ease anxiety and promote euphoria.
Plant as soon as the ground can be worked in the spring after the danger of frost has passed. Do not cover seed. Press seed into the soil surface. Rows should be 12 in. apart. When seedlings are 2 in. high, thin, leaving 6 in. between plants. Harvest throughout the season by cutting stems off the plants..
|Type||Spacing||Planting Depth||Days to Germination||Maturity|
|Perennial||6 in.||soil surface||10-14||75|
Lemon Balm is one of the great fragrance plants of the garden. Just gently brushing the leaves with your hand will cover your fingers with a luscious lemony scent. A zephyr will carry the scent across the entire garden. Lemon Balm is also one of the most beautiful, shiny, green leaved plants available.
The Greeks and Romans were fond of Lemon Balm, but it was the Arabs that enthusiastically promoted the plant around the world. The Arabs knew that Lemon Balm lifted the spirits. In fact, the Lemon Balm plant has a combination of chemicals that act like a mild form of Valium. One scientific study showed that the oil of the Lemon Balm plant has a sedative effect on the central nervous systems of rats. The oil also seems to inhibit bacteria and viruses.
Lemon Balm is a great pollinator plant. It is incredibly attractive to bees, especially, but it is also a very effective insect repellant. Rubbing lemon balm leaves or oil on your picnic table before eating will keep the insects away from your food.
Recommended Companion Plants