In about half an hour (10 am Dallas time) I'll be at the Garland Community Garden. I'm taking down 9 Lemon Balm Plants that I'll put on one of our picnic tables. They are free to take. (One per household please). There are in 2.32 qt pots. There will also be a laminated information sheet that you can take a photo of with your mobile Phone.
Lemon Balm was used as far back as the Middle Ages to reduce stress and anxiety, promote sleep and ease pain and discomfort. Even before the Middle Ages, lemon balm was steeped in wine to life the spirits and help heal wounds and treat venomous insect bites. Native to Europe the plant grows all over the world.

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis),

also called heart’s delight, lemon mint, balm mint, blue balm, garden balm, or sweet balm, is a useful perennial herb for the garden. Lemon balm has heart-shaped or slightly rounded leaves, square stems, and has a strong lemon aroma and flavor. Plant 18 inches apart in the early spring in an enriched soil. Water regularly, but fertilize sparingly, throughout the year. Regular harvest will help contain its growth. Use lemon balm fresh, or dry for storage.


Planting and Spacing

Lemon balm grows from 2 to 3 feet high and should be spaced 18 to 24 inches apart. Lemon balm prefers full sunlight but will tolerate light shade. Plants grown with some shade tend to produce larger and more succulent leaves.


Lemon balm is a hardy perennial herb that grows best when it is not water stressed. Keep the soil moist, but not wet, or the plants will get root rot. Supply water through drip or overhead irrigation and mulch around the plants to conserve soil water.


Care of the Plant

Lemon balm, like mint, spreads rapidly and can take over an herb bed. Growing plants in containers helps control this problem. If planted in the soil, harvest the leaves regularly, remove the flowers before they set seed, and dig around the plant edges in the soil to reduce root spreading.

How to Harvest and Cure Lemon Balm

Frequent harvest will keep lemon balm bushy and compact. Harvest about one-third of the foliage at monthly intervals to encourage healthy growth. Harvest before the plant starts to bloom, being careful not to bruise the leaves. After harvesting, tie the stems in a bundle and hang them indoors out of direct sunlight or in a shady place to dry. Dried leaves retain their green color, but are not as fragrant as when used fresh. Carefully strip the dried leaves from the stems and store in airtight containers. Note: Harvest lemon balm when the plant is just starting to produce flower buds. This is when the plant has the highest concentration of oils.
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