Lemon Balm

Melissa officinalis

Lemon Balm, Bee Balm, Melissa

About This Plant

Partial sun or shade; a herbaceous perennial with sagelike serrated leaves. Lemon balm spreads freely by rhizomes but not as aggressively as other mints. Its name, Melissa, is Greek for honeybee, since Mediterranean bees closely attended its tiny sweet flowers. “Lemon balm contains within it the virtues of a dozen other plants,” wrote Hildegard of Bingen, one of this plant’s many admirers. Considered to uplift the spirits, lemon balm is prepared in teas, tinctures, infusions, jams, jellies, and seasonings of all kinds. Crushed leaves rubbed on bare skin may repel mosquitoes as well.

Origins: Mediterranean


Expect some effort to contain it during the warm season; lemon balm can crowd out smaller plants, especially in an irrigated landscape bed.

A cheerful lemon-scented herb with a variety of herbal and culinary uses.

Min. Height: 1'

Max Height: 1.5 feet'

Min. Width: 1'

Max Width: 1.5 feet'

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