Lemon balm

Lemon balm is particularly suitable for seasoning cold drinks, salads and sauces. The leaves are not cooked, they are always added fresh. You can also make tea and wine from lemon balm. Lemon balm is best harvested before flowering. Melissa tea is said to have a calming and digestive effect. The fresh leaves are used. Dried ones quickly lose their fragrance. However, the healing substances are retained. Lemon balm is grown around the world and is regularly allowed to grow wild. It can grow to a height of one meter, and, with good care, it can be up to 20 years old. You can harvest several times a year.

Lemon balm is easy to care for. Once planted, it usually takes care of itself. Only young plants need a little more attention, but lemon balm is no exception. You have to be careful that the plant does not spread too much.


Lemon balm does not make great demands on its location. It needs space to unfold and as much light as possible.

  • A sunny to partially shaded location is preferred.
  • The plant can be grown well in the herb bed, although it spreads quite broadly.
  • A sheltered location is ideal.
  • A partially shaded location on the balcony is better than direct sun.

Plant substrate

Lemon balm does not place too many demands on the plant substrate either. It is a very frugal plant.

  • Preferably grows on nutrient-rich, sandy loam or loamy sandy soil.
  • The addition of mineral-rich compost is ideal.
  • The substrate can be acidic, neutral or calcareous.
  • A permeable soil is important.
  • Waterlogging is not tolerated.
  • Install drainage in wet soil!

Lemon balm plant


Of course, you can buy lemon balm as a finished plant. But you can also sow and that directly in the field. After the ice saints one can start with it. Lemon balm is also suitable for cultivation in planters. It is too big for a balcony box, but it fills a larger bucket well.

  • Plant spacing 35 x 35 cm
  • Simply place purchased plants in the bed, if necessary prepare the soil beforehand.
  • Keep the distance, because the plants spread out.
  • Otherwise there is little to consider when planting.

Watering and fertilizing

Adult lemon balm plants are frugal. You can cope for a long time without water. They should only be given some water if the heat and drought persist for a long time. Young plants are much more sensitive.

  • Moist soil, but always without waterlogging
  • Once the plant has grown, the drought does not affect it.
  • The soil must never dry out, especially with young plants.
  • But it mustn’t be too wet either.
  • Fertilizing is not necessary.

To cut

Lemon balm is cut to harvest and once in the season, at the end, so that it can take a break and the bed looks tidy. If you don’t want to harvest or only a little, you can let the plant grow. Over time, however, the leaves become unsightly. It is better to cut off the stems and let the plant sprout again.

  • Individual leaves and stems can be harvested at any time.
  • Lemon balm is pruned correctly after flowering or in early spring when budding begins.
  • You cut back about hand-high.
  • If you want to harvest, it is best to cut off the stems shortly before flowering. Usually the plant sprouts again, up to four times a year.
  • Lemon balm has the highest oil content in warm, dry weather.


The lemon balm is sufficiently hardy, even without special winter protection. If you grow lemon balm in the tub, you should cover it up a little in winter. Floor insulation with styrofoam panels is also beneficial.


Lemon balm is easy to propagate. You can sow them. Once you have a plant in your garden, it will do it by itself, unless you harvest all of the shoots before they bloom. You can also multiply lemon balm by dividing it. In addition, the lemon balm forms rhizomes underground, i.e. runners that spread widely. If you want to prevent this, you have to plant the plant together with the pot or, if you don’t want the new plants, remove them regularly.

  • Split when budding begins in spring
  • Sow seeds in spring, do not cover with soil, just press down, they are light germs.
  • Not all seeds become plants. The roots grow slowly and are delicate. But you can already harvest in the seed year.
  • If you want to be on the safe side, you prefer the plants on the windowsill from February onwards. The success rate is significantly higher than outdoors.
  • Self-sown seedlings can be transplanted in spring.
  • Sowing in autumn has the advantage that the plants will grow vigorously at the beginning of the next sprouting in spring.
  • It also prevents the seedlings from drying out due to too much sun.
  • Propagation of cuttings – cut cuttings from the mother plant and, if the air humidity is high, let them take root under cling film.

Diseases and pests

Lemon balm is actually not very sensitive and tough. Powdery mildew is quite common, but after pruning it is forgotten. Otherwise, they are very healthy plants.

Leaf spot
disease Fungal disease, produces brown, red or yellowish spots on the leaves. The fungus sits in its fruiting body in the middle of the spots. The fungus usually occurs in damp weather, because it can multiply strongly. To be prevented by the large planting distance, do not water on leaves. Generously remove all damaged parts. Do not compost cut parts! No control with biological or home remedies possible. Only removing helps.

Powdery mildew

Fungal disease, recognizable by the white, floury coating on the leaf surface, but also on shoots and stems. The fungus is favored by high humidity and muggy temperatures. Powdery mildew is transmitted by the wind. Prevention through sufficient planting distance and not watering on the leaves! Powdery mildew can be combated, for example with household remedies (with milk, diluted 1: 9 with water and sprayed), or with sulphurous sprays.

fungal disease, recognizable by rust-brown pustules on the underside of the leaf. The disease is favored by damp weather. Spores spread through water, wind and dead plant parts. Prevent by not pouring on the leaves. To combat it, you have to know which rust fungus it is. It is best to take a sheet and take it to a professional. If you know what it is, you can use targeted means against it.

Lice, aphids
act immediately at the first signs, otherwise they will multiply explosively. Strip and crush animals with your fingers! Spray plants with soapy water! Professional organic gardeners use neem products. Gall flies and lacewings also help.


Younger leaves are deformed. They appear bruised and full of holes. The bugs suck out the sap. That weakens the plants. Help or collect insecticides.


are among the bed bugs and can also be combated with insecticides. Take action early in the morning when they are still immobile. Before you reach for the chemical club, you can also try large yellow bars. The insects are attracted to the color.

Green shield beetle

In the event of an infestation, collecting or spraying insecticides helps.

Lemon balm cultivation

Use of lemon balm

Lemon balm can be used as a spice, medicinal and bee pasture plant. The leaves can be used for many dishes. Extracts from them are used in herbal liqueurs. Lemon balm is used to flavor cold drinks, salads, sauces and compotes. You can also make tea and wine from lemon balm. Lemon balm is also used in medicine.

Dry lemon balm properly

If you want to dry lemon balm, it is important to cut it when it is dry. If possible, cut only when it has not rained for two to three days and it is absolutely dry. When drying, it often happens that the leaves and stems lose their beautiful green color and turn brown. They don’t look very good. If you want to avoid this, you have to proceed as follows:

  • You have to dry quickly.
  • It is best to remove the leaves from the stems and place them on newspaper in the sun. If possible, no wind should go.
  • If the leaves dry quickly, the green color will remain.
  • It is also said of lemon balm that the essential oils quickly withdraw from the leaves into the stem after cutting.
  • So it is important to be quick there too and remove the leaves.
  • Alternatively, you can only tie a few stems together with leaves (3 to 4) and hang them up warm (not sunny). Wind is important, the draft accelerates the process.
  • Another possibility is drying in the oven. However, not many of the valuable ingredients are retained. The oven is preheated to 80 to 100 degrees. Spread the lemon balm on a baking sheet. Switch off the oven and insert the tray. Leave in the oven for 24 hours. If the lemon balm is not really dry, repeat the process!
  • It is best to store dried lemon balm in large screw-top jars.
  • It is important to protect them from light and to keep them as cool as possible.

Lemon balm belongs in every herb bed. If you haven’t tried the leaves in the kitchen, you should definitely do so. The citrus note makes drinks especially delicious and refreshing. It’s not complicated to grow. The plant is frugal and grows almost everywhere. If you haven’t harvested and the leaves are unsightly, you can simply cut off the stems and enjoy the healthy new shoots. Lemon balm doesn’t really do any more work. I don’t want to miss her in the garden.

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