Lemon balm from our own cultivation provides you with the refreshing herb over the summer. When and how you harvest is important for the aroma and vitality of lemon balm.
Table of Contents
One of the most important points when harvesting lemon balm is the right time. This is determined by the flowering time of the herbal plant, as the following parts of the plant have a negative effect on the aroma of the leaves:
- flower buds
For this reason, you should carry out the first harvest of the year at the latest shortly before flowering in June or after the flower buds have formed. You can harvest the herb itself before flowering throughout May. Melissa planted outdoors should not be harvested before the ice saints. The cool temperatures could unnecessarily weaken them. However, this is not the only aspect that should be considered when choosing the point in time. The following points optimize the harvest time:
- 2 days after rainfall or watering
- Time of day: late morning
- Dew must have dried
If you follow these tips, the leaves will contain greater amounts of the essential oils necessary for flavor.
Harvesting Lemon Balm: Instructions
As soon as a suitable harvest time has arrived, you need the right tool in order not to damage the plants. Use sharp, sanitized scissors or a similar knife to harvest. You should not pinch off the stems as they are quite robust. In the worst case, cracks can occur, which increase the risk of bacterial or fungal infection. Once you have the tool at your disposal, use this guide to help you harvest:
- cut off entire branches
- do not harvest close to the ground
- Distance from the ground: 3 to 5 cm
Cutting too deep makes it difficult for lemon balm to form new shoots, reducing harvest opportunities over the growing season. The harvest also acts as a care cut, which preserves the vitality of the plant. A healthy specimen allows for up to four harvests before fall rolls in. Alternatively, you can let some of the shoots grow and flower if you want to provide a food source for insects like bees and butterflies over the summer.
frequently asked Questions
Lemon balm should ideally be used immediately after harvest. If this is not possible, you can remove the leaves from the stems and freeze them. To do this, use a freezer-safe bowl that can be closed. Alternatively, you can hang the stems upside down. The room should not have high humidity. After two weeks the herbs are dried.
It depends on the form of cultivation. Specimens planted outdoors do not need pruning as the surface greenery rots over the winter period. Potted plants must overwinter indoors and should be cut back completely. Of course you can use the clippings.