How to grow lemon balm
Lemon balm is propagated very easily by root division. It has similar requirements to mint, preferring a cool damp area of the garden. If you grow it in a pot, make sure that the soil stays moist. It doesn’t spread with runners like mint, but just grows into a larger clump, so it is easier to control. Keep pruning the excess growth to keep it as a small bush and not too tall. I have read that lemon balm is frost sensitive, but mine grew through winter here, so maybe it can tolerate light frost, and it can grow back after a cooler winter if it does die off.
How to use lemon balm
Lemon balm tastes a little like mint, but with a more lemon-y flavour. I dry the leaves and use it for tea because I like the flavour. I will also chop it up with other herbs to use as a fresh garnish on salad, in yoghurt sauce and to casseroles and soups.
Due to the wide range of chemical constituents in lemon balm, it has a reputation for several healing properties:
- calming and used to aid sleep (more here)
- antibacterial and antiviral (more here)
- anti-inflammatory (more here)
- digestion (more here)
- memory and cognitive function (more here)
- soothing for skin (more here)
For a herb that’s relatively easy to propagate and grow, it has a huge range of benefits and it tastes nice, so I am very happy to have it in my garden.