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The herb with the lemony smell and taste is very popular. It is easy to maintain in the garden and enriches the kitchen. Here you can find out what needs to be considered when planting lemon balm.

In a nutshell

  • Synonyms: honey flower, heart comfort, beeweed, English lemon balm
  • suitable for drinks and food
  • Healing effect: calming, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic
  • Can be cultivated outdoors or in pots


The lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) was native to the Mediterranean region, but has also grown wild with us. It is accordingly hardy and can also cope with adverse conditions. The rhizome forms numerous foothills, and the seeds are also very prolific. In the garden, the plant is one of the growing herbs. It reaches a height of almost a meter.

lemon balm


A sunny place is best. Partial shade is also tolerated, full shade makes the plant grow poorly. The place should be airy but not windy. You can also plant lemon balm as a container plant; the sunny terrace is a good location here.


The lemon balm does not need very many nutrients, it is one of the weak consumers. A permeable soil that is neither too wet nor too dry is an advantage. Normal herb soil or garden soil mixed with sand is suitable in the bucket.

sowing and planting

Cultivation via seeds

Sow in March or April, preferably in warm weather. If no cold frame or greenhouse is available, a bright window in a warm room is sufficient. The seeds are only covered with a little soil and germinate after three to four weeks. After another six weeks, the young plants can be planted outdoors.

Plant young plants

It doesn't matter whether the plants are bought or grown yourself. They are planted out with a planting distance of 30 x 30 cm. If there are other plants on the bed, the distance to them should also be correspondingly large.

Notice: Water young plants well after planting.


This herb does not generally require much attention. It is sufficient if the young plants are initially kept moderately moist. A little fertilizer in the form of compost or mulch in spring won't hurt.

Notice: A little more effort is required when watering and fertilizing potted plants, as the substrate leaches out or dries out more quickly due to the limited volume.


As soon as the lemon balm forms fresh shoots, you can harvest them. Don't cut off too many leaves at first. A full harvest is possible before flowering, in May or June. Then the entire plant is cut off about 10 cm above the ground. A second harvest can take place in September under favorable conditions.


If it has a good location and enough space available, the lemon balm will spread on its own. However, this can also be a disadvantage, which is why a root barrier makes sense when space is tight. Or the herb moves to a pot. If propagation is desired, an older plant can easily be divided and propagated using sections of the rootstock.


  • 'All Gold', yellow foliage, does better in partial shade or no midday sun
  • 'Binsuga', particularly aromatic
  • 'Citronelle', high essential oil content
  • 'Variegata', yellow variegated foliage, particularly attractive


Since the lemon balm is very robust, there are hardly any pests or diseases. Aphids rarely become a nuisance, there are usually enough beneficial insects to eat them. The same applies to a green shield beetle infestation.


Diseases also rarely occur with lemon balm. Among others, this can be leaf spot disease or powdery mildew. However, the entire plant is never at risk as long as it is vigorous and otherwise healthy. If the spots bother you, they can simply be cut out.

plant neighbors

Good neighbors for lemon balm are other perennial herbs such as tarragon, sage, chives or thyme. In any case, care must be taken that the lemon balm does not overgrow the other herbs. Annual herbs such as dill or basil are less suitable.

winter protection

Lemon balm is hardy and generally requires no shelter. Something different applies to potted plants. They should spend the winter in a cool and bright place indoors. A good place is a greenhouse. The harvest can also be brought forward there.

frequently asked Questions

What foods goes with lemon balm?

The fresh/fruity aroma goes particularly well with crunchy salads. Lemon balm is also suitable as a decoration on desserts or in cold drinks.

How can lemon balm be preserved?

Firstly, the leaves can be dried. The second option is freezing. The latter preserves more aroma and ingredients and is preferable to drying.

Will the plant ever need to be transplanted?

This culinary herb can remain in the same place for a very long time, provided it is cared for appropriately. Something else applies to pot culture, then the lemon balm must be repotted regularly.

Can lemon balm bloom?

Yes, it is not for nothing that this lemon balm is also called beeweed. When in bloom it is an excellent bee pasture. If you want to harvest fresh leaves all the time, you can cut back a few shoots before flowering. Even if you don't like lemon balm as a culinary herb, it's worth planting as insect food.

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