Lemon balm makes a great addition to your tea garden, medicinal herb garden, or butterfly garden. This beautifully fragrant herb has many uses from cooking to health. With a light lemon taste, it can add flavor to dishes and make a great summertime tea to enjoy cold. Like other plants from the mint family, lemon balm is a great addition to fresh lemonade.
How to grow Lemon Balm
The small flowers grow in small clusters at the top of stems in a lemon yellow color that will pop in your flower bed while giving you an edible addition to your landscaping. these tiny lemon balm flowers will attract bees and butterflies to your garden. While lemon balm is most commonly known to have a lemon fragrance some verities can have lemon or even a citronella oil fragrance. Citronella verities are great for adding to your garden to repel mosquitoes.
Lemon balm is an easy to grow plant. It prefers full sun to partial shade and well-drained but moist soil. A well-balanced compost will help your lemon balm grow and retain flavor. Lemon balm is a perennial grown from seed that can be grown from cuttings taken from cuttings in the spring or fall as well as routed divisions as your plants grow larger than the area you intend to keep it.
Lemon balm can grow well in potted gardens making them a great option for growing on your patio or front porch to fill in the edges of large flower pots.
Harvesting and storing lemon balm
Lemon balm grows throughout the warm months. Though out the growing season you can harvest the leaves as you intend to use them.
Harvest your lemon balm with clean sharp garden shears to help keep your plants healthy. Leave what you do not need until the end of the growing season before harvesting for storage.
For long term storage, you can harvest large quantities of leaves and hang for drying or opt to freeze.
Medicinal uses for lemon balm
Lemon balm has been used its calming and mood enhancing properties. Lemon balm is commonly used to treat anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, and depression.
Use lemon balm as a light and relaxing tea by infusing 1-2 tablespoons of fresh leaves in boiling water. Drink 2 to 3 times a day or just before bed for insomnia.
Cooking with lemon balm
lemon balm is great for adding to lemonade of making infused water is a great refreshing drink for a hot day. Simply place several lives into your water and let sit in the fridge for several hours.
Lemon balm can be frozen in ice cubes to be tossed into fresh water, lemonade, or tea on a hot summer day both cooling and adding flavor to your beverage.
Lemon balm can be added to fresh summer salads, fruit dishes, and even to your favorite fish and poultry dishes. Add lemon balm and your favorite herbs and a bit of cracked pepper for a sizzling lemon herb chicken or fresh grilled fish.