Lemon Balm Melissa officinalis

Lemon balm has a sweet minty, lemony fragrance and flavour it’s a delicate herb that self-seeds freely around the garden. It is used fresh in salads, fruit salads and fresh fruit drinks like homemade lemonade. Lemon balm is cooked with fish, poultry and pork and is used in sauces as well as mayonnaise. Lemon balm leaves, steeped in boiling water, make a delicious, refreshing tea.

Companions Tomato, carrot, lettuce, cabbage, chives, basil, mint.

Quantity 1 or 2 plants should suffice for most gardens. They will spread as they self-seed freely.

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Lemon Balm

  • Grow from seed or cuttings
  • Likes rich moist soil
  • Sun or part shade
  • Grows well in containers
  • Cooking ingredient, makes a nice herbal tea.

Getting started


Plant or sow in early spring and summer.


Lemon balm grows best in full sun but needs a little shade from the intensity of midday sun. It grows to around knee height depending upon soil type and location. Lemon balm also grows well in containers.


Lemon balm prefers a rich, fertile soil.



Lemon balm can be grown from seed but perhaps it is easier to grow from seedlings of from cuttings that have sprouted roots.


Plant seedlings and cuttings at an average spacing of an arm’s length apart.


Water young seedlings in dry periods. Mulch to retain moisture and feed every few weeks with a liquid worm juice or compost tea to boost foliage growth.


Lemon balm can be picked at any time but some of the flavour is lost after flowering. Its foliage can be frozen and if making tea you can use fresh or dried leaves.

In cooler parts of the country lemon balm may die back during winter but fresh growth will start in spring. In warmer areas foliage will be present all year round.