Melissa officinalis , Lemon Balm
Clusters of small pale creamy flowers. Lemon scented, oval, toothed, textured, green leaves. Culinary; use with fruit, chicken and eggs. The leaves make a very refreshing tisane.
• Hardiness: H5 (-10 to -15C)
• Type: Herbaceous Perennial
• Height: up to 75cm
• Spread: 45cm
• Soil type: Chalk, Sand, Loam, Free Draining
• pH: Universal pH
• Habit: Bushy
• Flowering colour: Cream
• Flowering time: Summer
• Uses: Culinary & Medicinal (Read Jekka's Guide To Culinary Herbs and Jekka's Guide to Medicinal Herbs for more information)
• Attracts pollinators: Yes (Read Jekka's Guide to Pollinators for more information)
• Container suitability: Yes
• UK native: No
• Caution: N/A
• Indoor Sowing: In early spring, into prepared plug trays or pots, cover with perlite. Seeds dislike being wet; minimal watering after sowing.
• Outdoor Sowing: In early summer, into a fairly rich, moist soil in sun. Thin to 45cm apart.
• Propagation: Cuttings & Division
• Maintenance: (Read Jekka's Blogs on Early Spring, Late Spring and Autumn maintenance)
• Harvest: N/A
Lemon balm is understood by herbalists to have anti-viral actions that have been used for shingles, chickenpox and influenza. Externally, a cream containing this aromatic herb applied to cold sores has been used to help alleviate them. The gentle sedative action of lemon balm’s volatile oil lifts the mood in cases of anxiety, depression and will calm any nervous restlessness. It is also said to ease insomnia, palpitations and upset digestion arising from that restlessness. Clinical evidence supports its use in improving cognitive function and reducing distress in those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Lemon balm is also considered by herbalists to be a heart and circulatory tonic because of its vaso-dilatory ability. By enabling blood vessels to dilate, a high blood pressure can be lowered.
Caution: No major issues identified.
Please note: The information provided here is for educational interest only and is not intended to be used to diagnose or treat significant health problems. Any serious or long-term health concerns should always be discussed with a healthcare professional.
See our blog for more information about the National Institute of Medical Herbalists
Jekka's "How to Grow Herbs" videos, includes Jekka's video on how to sow seeds for an informative step-by-step guide to seed sowing.
Growing indoors? Check out Jekka's blog on indoor herb gardening for some advice.
At Jekka’s we sell herbs in 1 Ltr and 2 Ltr pots. These are established and hardy herb plants that are grown following organic principals and to survive the UK climate. Please read Jekka's blog that contains her top steps to growing on your herbs.
Our herbs are designed to be grown in containers or planted in the garden. Although some herbs will be quite happy indoors, most prefer being outside. Please see our indoor growing blog for more information.
If you think your herbs need a little more attention we always recommend an environmentally friendly solution, and these are Jekka's top three:
- Maxicrop liquid seaweed: 'Feed on Fridays' as Jekka always says for all round good plant health.
- SB Invigorator: a safe and effective insecticide and fungicide to help control a wide range of pest species
- Epsom salts: the horticultural equivalent of what you put in your bath to top up magnesium and stop orange leaves.
One of our three core roots is that we are Environmentally Conscious and for the past 30 years all the herbs grown at Jekka’s have been raised following sustainable, environmentally friendly and organic approaches resulting in a remarkable biodiversity at the herb farm.
Our herb seeds are also untreated and can be used to grow organic herb plants.