There are so many different types of plants and flowers that people often like to have in their home garden. Lemon Balm is one of those. It is known for its medicinal benefits as well as for its unique scent.
Additionally, like many other plants, it gives a pleasant feeling when placed indoors. Some people also believe lemon balm plant works as an insect repellent. People often use it in that sense, in and around their homes.
Lemon balm is also called, balm mint or common balm in some areas. Lemon Balm is the herbaceous perennial plant, native to the Mediterranean Basin, Central Asia, Iran and Central Europe. Over the years, it has now been naturalized in almost all parts of the world. Now it is grown almost everywhere.
Being a native of Mediterranean region, it, however, needs a consistent temperature and does not respond positively to drastic changes in temperatures. It cannot resist freezing temperatures but given a protection during the cold season, it can then grow just normal after the winter has passed.
Its scientific name is Melissa officinalis. It belongs to the genus Melissa, under the family Lamiaceae. It is often confused with the bee balm, but it is altogether a different plant.
Bee Balm belongs to the genus Monarda, although little white flowers of lemon balm do attract honey bees because these white flowers are full of nectar. That’s why it has been given the name Melissa, which is a Greek word, meaning, the honey bee.
Lemon balm plant can grow tall up to a maximum of five feet. Its leaves have a nice scent of mint. Its white flower appears in summer. Flowers are full of nectar; hence attract honey bees; hence used for the production of honey. Its leaves are frequently used as herbs for making tea and for flavoring different foods and drinks such as ice cream, herbal tea and peppermint tea.
It is also used in various fruit dishes and fish dishes. Its oil and extracts are widely used in various medicines and perfumes. It is also grown as an ornamental plant for the decoration of homes and offices.
So, with all that benefits and usefulness, you may like to have lemon balm in your home garden. But to do that you must have at least a basic knowledge about this herbaceous plant. In this article, we will let you know how to care for a lemon balm plant.
On the commercial basis, its primary utility is in the honey making industry. As said earlier, its little white flowers, which blossom in the summer season, have plenty of nectar. Honey bees are therefore attracted by these flowers to take that nectar. Hence the bee production is the main usage of lemon balm.
Apart from honey industry, it is also used in medicines. In Austria, its leaves were used as a tea for internal use and its oil for external use. Its main medicinal use is for the cure of different diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. It is also used as a treatment of nervous system, bile and liver.
It has been used as a remedy against insomnia, as it is known as a sleep aid. It is also used as digestive medicine. Essential oil of lemon balm is also used in aromatherapy.
Additionally, it also has a wide usage in cooking and food. It is used as a flavor in different ice creams. It is also used for herbal tea, either it is hot or iced. It is also used in fruit dishes and candies and can also be used in some fish dishes. Its unique flavor comprises 24% citronellal, 16% geranial and 12% each of linalyl acetate and caryophyllene.
Lemon balm can be cultivated through seeds. Its seeds require mild light and a temperature of around twenty degrees centigrade. It does not require direct sunlight. It grows in clumps and its leaves spread all around.
In winter, its stem may die but it can regrow in spring. Since it spreads vigorously, it is highly recommended that it should be planted at a place which should be sufficiently away from other plants, so as to give lemon balm a free space to grow.
Caring Your Lemon Balm
Lemon balm plant needs mild watering. Too much of water is good for its health. It hates waterlogged conditions, so make sure that it receives just a minimal amount of watering and soil should also be well-drained. It grows well in sandy soils.
Being basically a Mediterranean plant, it needs a consistent temperature. That’s why it is recommended to protect it from frost if you are growing it in a cold region. To protect them from freezing temperatures, it is advisable to place them under shelter during the winter season. You may also use some sort of covering during very cold nights to protect this plant from frost.
Lemon Balm also needs fertilizer, preferably the organic fertilizer or compost. During the flowering season, it needs an extra dose of compost. However, during this season unwanted weed growth may create a problem, so make sure to remove any such growth around this plant, especially during the summer season.
So, the lemon balm plant is of much utility and can be handled and maintained quite easily at home. You may plant them add a useful herbaceous plant in your home garden. Its pleasant odor will leave an impact on your home and garden.
Lemon balm can also be planted in pots and containers to place them indoors, such as terraces, porches and even in rooms. However, due to its excessive growth of leaves, it is not a good option to keep it in your rooms.
But if you have a free space and can manage it, lemon balm can be a nice and pleasant addition in your room decoration. So, try growing lemon balm in your home garden to give a decorative touch to your home. Take a good care of your lemon balm and enjoy its unique scent and get additional benefits from its seeds and leaves.
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