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Characteristics: Lemon Balm is a wonderful lemon-scented herb that has the hardiness of Mint. A vigorous grower, Lemon Balm makes a great culinary herb and is perennial in zones 4-9.
Light: Lemon Balm prefers full sun
Water: Drought tolerant, Lemon Balm isn't fussy about water. It prefers consistently moist soil, but can hang on in between waterings if needed.
Soil: Also not picky about its soil, so long as it drains fairly well. For best results, it needs a pH of anywhere between 6.1 (mildly acidic) and 7.8 (mildly alkaline).
Use: A terrifically aromatic herb, Lemon Balm really emits a great lemon scent. Plant it in your garden to attract beneficial butterflies and bees, or pot it to enjoy its fragrance indoors! Great for making teas and adding a light lemon flavor to desserts, fish and other dishes. Medicinally, it can help treat cramps and nausea, and it naturally contains properties that helps to heal cold sores more quickly!
Extras: Because it is so similar to Mint, you may want to container plant to control Lemon Balm's spreading habit. A profuse self seeder, you can also deadhead spent blooms to control seed spread and new growth.
Lemon Balm in the garden will ensure pollination of your plants, as it is a true favorite of bees. Lemon Balm was originally named Bee Balm! A wonderful dark green ground cover of 18" with a delicate white flower. If you really want the scent of fresh lemon in the garden, combine with Lemon Thyme and Lemon Scented Geraniums to a large outdoor container on the patio! Toss in a little Lemon Verbena for a added kick!
The taste of the leaves adds the perfect tangy note to fruit salads. Freshly steamed vegetables come alive when tossed with Lemon Balm and a touch of cracked pepper. For a general seasoning, use it in tandem with Tarragon. Try adding some freshly minced leaves to lamb or fish marinades for the grill, and toss a few sprigs on the fire to perfume the air and keep away the mosquitoes.