Lemon balm grows vigorously, so select a space where it will not spread into other garden plants. It performs best in moist but well-drained loam. Space about a foot apart (30 cm). It grows in full sun or partial shade. Water immediately after transplanting and once each week to establish the plants.
Lemon Balm is very easy to care for, and adapts to many soil and sunlight conditions. This variety is hardy to Zone 5, Zone 4 if mulched. Straw or sawdust around the base of the plant can help control weeds.
Leaves can be harvested as needed. Full stems can also be collected and hung to dry. Pruning flower stalks before it goes to seed will help keep lemon balm from spreading too much.
Dried leaves can be stored for up to a year in a glass container. Place in a dark, dry place. Fresh leaves can be placed in a refrigerator for a few days. Freeze lemon balm leaves by placing them in freezer-proof storage bags. Chopping leaves and freezing in ice cube trays filled with vegetable oil or water can add lemon balm flavor to winter dishes.
The uses for lemon balm are many: It flavors beverages, desserts, salads, soups, butters and cheeses, stews, fruits and jellies, dressings, and more. It also complements fellow herbs like parsley or basil, or fine herb mixtures like dill, tarragon and chives.
Not to be confused with bee balm (Monarda) lemon balm is a perennial herb in the mint family (Lamiaceae) native to southern Europe and the Mediterranean regions. It has a gentle lemon scent and attracts pollinators. In fact, its genus name Melissa comes from the Greek word for 'honey bee'.