Melissa officinalis

Lemon balm

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Key information

Plant type

Hardy perennial

Flower colour



Flowers, Aromatic foliage, Attractive to wildlife



Skill level


photo by Sarah Cuttle, copyright GAP Photos (48645)
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Plant details

An easily grown perennial herb, this is noted for the memorable and invigorating lemon fragrance of its leaves, used in cold drinks, teas and in salads or puddings. The flavour decreases as plants flower, and they lose their fresh, lush appearance, but bees and other pollinating insects are attracted to them and that's why the alternative name for this plant is bee balm. It is a good idea, then, to leave a few to bloom and to cut others back to maintain a supply of young foliage. Regularly trimming gold forms will preserve their bright, fresh appearance and prevent any all-green shoots from taking over.

Family: Lamiaceae

Genus: Melissa

Species: officinalis

Plant type: Hardy perennial

Flower colour: Yellow

Foliage colour: Mid-green

Feature: Flowers, Aromatic foliage, Attractive to wildlife

Sun exposure: Full sun

Soil: Well-drained/light, Dry, Sandy

Hardiness: Hardy

Skill level: Beginner

Height: 90cm

Spread: 45cm

Time to plant seeds: March to May

Time to divide plants: April to May

Flowering period: June to October

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