Tuck a quick-growing lemon balm plant into your garden bed or patio container. Let it bask in sunshine and balmy breezes.
In just a few weeks, you'll be plucking leaves from this luscious, citrus-y herb for homemade lemon balm tea!
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I call lemon balm my "happy-go-lucky" tea herb because it adapts so well to so many different climates.
If you live in an area where winter temperatures rarely dip below 45-50°F (7-10°C), you'll be able to grow and harvest lemon balm all year round.
In colder regions, lemon balm's growing season is more limited, from mid-spring to early fall. As the days get shorter and night-time temps drop, the plant will die back.
Not to worry, though. The roots will survive the winter cold to a frigid -20°F (-29°C), and the plant will re-emerge like magic from under the snow and ice in springtime.
Lemon Balm's requirements are few:
What You'll Need:
Seeds or nursery plants?
Lemon balm is easy to grow from seeds. But ...
Do you really want to wait 3 months from the time you sow your seeds to your first harvest?
Cut your wait-time in half. Start with a nursery plant!
Young lemon balm plants are available at many garden centers from the start of growing season into early summer.
* Helpful Hint: Can't find lemon balm in your area? Order from a reputable online seller.
Richters and Colonial Creek Farm are my go-to sources for buying live herb plants online. My orders have always arrived promptly and in great shape.
Wait until nighttime temps are consistently at 50°F (10°C) or warmer before transplanting a young lemon balm plant into your garden or container.
A few chilly nights won't hurt it. But do cover the plant or move its container to a sheltered spot if a late-spring frost is predicted.
When you're ready to plant:
Are you determined to start from seeds? These tips will put you on the right track ...
Water. Give your lemon balm a thorough soaking whenever the top 1 - 2 inches (2.5 - 5 cm) of soil feel dry to the touch.
Fertilizing. Average, healthy garden soil will feed your lemon balm plants through the growing season. No additional fertilizer is required.
Nutrients leach out of potting soil every time you water. To keep your container-grown lemon balm well nourished, feed with an organic, liquid fertilizer once every 10 days or so.
Pruning. Regular harvesting during the growing season is all the "pruning" your lemon balm will need. Start when the plant is about 8 inches (20 cm) tall, cutting back no more than 1/3 of the plant at any one time.
If you see flower buds, that's a sign your lemon balm is getting ready to "go to seed".
Would you like your lemon balm to naturally
re-seed in your garden?
Let the flowers bloom, die back, and shed their seeds. Later in the summer, or maybe next spring, new lemon balm plants will pop up. Sometimes where you least expect them! ;-)
Harvesting & Preserving
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