Lemon Balm

(Melissa officinalis)

Lemon balm, a member of the mint family, is a lovely mild herb named for the lemony scent of its leaves. Originally grown in South Europe, lemon balm is often used in combination with other herbs and is frequently found in poultry and fish dishes, desserts, and teas. It also makes a nicely scented sachet. Plant one at the edge of a gate so that when the gate opens and closes the lemony scent fill the air. This plant is very attractive to bees and has been used by beekeepers to help keep bees in place. Like other types of mint, it likes to spread, so a container is a great choice.

  • Type Perennial, zones 5 to 9
  • Planting time Spring, after the last frost
  • Features Lemon-scented leaves
  • Light Part shade
  • Soil Well drained, let dry between waterings; pH 6.7 to 7.3
  • Spacing 20 to 24 inches
  • Plant size 24 to 36 inches tall
  • Garden use Flower beds, herb beds, great for containers
  • Culinary use For lemon flavor in a variety of dishes and teas

Some Bonnie Plants varieties may not be available in your local area, due to different variables in certain regions. Also, if any variety is a limited, regional variety it will be noted on the pertinent variety page.

Categories: , , SKU: 715339012210
At a glance
Nutrition Information

Light requirements: Full sun to part shade. Protect plants from hot afternoon sun in southerly zones.

Planting: Space 18 to 24 inches apart.

Soil requirements: Nutrient-rich, moist soil is ideal, although mint grows in nearly any type of soil. Amend soil with organic matter, such as compost.

Water requirements: Mint thrives in moist to slightly soggy soil. Consider planting mint near downspouts or in low, damp spots in your yard.

Frost-fighting plan: Mint is perennial in zones 3 to 11. Plants tolerate light frosts, but eventually die back to the ground in all but the warmest zones. If you need plants to survive a light frost, cover them with a frost blanket. Protect newly planted seedlings from late spring frosts.

Common issues: Mint can quickly overrun a planting bed, spreading by above- and underground stems. Keep it in check by planting in containers or beds bordered by sidewalk or driveway, or by planting in partially submerged pots in planting beds. Leaf flavor turns bitter when flower buds appear. Mint is generally pest-free.

Harvesting: Pick mint leaves at any point in the growing season. For strongest flavor, harvest leaves at midday when essential oil concentrations are strongest. Gather individual leaves or clip leafy stems. Plants branch freely from just below where you snip stems, so place cuts to prune and shape plants.

Storage: Store mint stems at room temperature in a water-filled jar; use within a week for freshest flavor. Stems root easily in water. For longer storage, dry or freeze leaves.

For more information, visit the Mint page in our How to Grow section.

Nutrition Facts

2 tablespoons, fresh:
  • Calories: 2
  • Carbohydrates: 0g
  • Dietary fiber: 0g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 0g
  • Vitamin A: 3% DV
  • Vitamin C: 2%
  • Vitamin K: 0%
  • Vitamin B6: 0%
  • Folate: 1%
  • Potassium: 1%
  • Manganese: 2%

Nutritional Information

Commonly used as a flavoring in beverages and foods, mint is also believed to have medicinal purposes—both as a leaf and as an oil. Peppermint oil is often applied to the skin as a treatment for headaches, muscle and nerve pain, inflammation, and even for repelling mosquitoes. A good source of Vitamins A and C, mint helps with vision and immune functions. The herb is also packed with antioxidants that protect against cell damage, boost the immune system, and form collagen in the body.