Physical Characteristics Perennial growing to 0.7m by 0.4m . It is hardy to zone 4 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from June to October, and the seeds ripen from August to October. The scented flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees. It is noted for attracting wildlife. We rate it 3 out of 5 for usefulness. The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought. Habitats and Possible Locations Woodland, Sunny Edge, Dappled Shade, Shady Edge. Cultivar "Variegated": Woodland, Sunny Edge, Dappled Shade, Shady Edge. Edible Uses Condiment; Leaves; Tea. Leaves - raw or cooked. A pleasant lemon-like aroma and flavour, they are used mainly as a flavouring in salads and cooked foods.
A lemon-flavoured tea can be made from the fresh or dried leaves. A bunch of the leaves can be added to china tea, much improving the flavour, the leaves are also added to fruit cups etc. They are used as a flavouring in various alcoholic beverages including Chartreuse and Benedictine.
Medicinal Uses Disclaimer Antibacterial; Antispasmodic; Antiviral; Aromatherapy; Carminative; Diaphoretic; Digestive; Emmenagogue; Febrifuge; Sedative; Tonic. Lemon balm is a commonly grown household remedy with a long tradition as a tonic remedy that raises the spirits and lifts the heart. Modern research has shown that it can help significantly in the treatment of cold sores. The leaves and young flowering shoots are antibacterial, antispasmodic, antiviral, carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, emmenagogue, febrifuge, sedative, and tonic. It also acts to inhibit thyroid activity. An infusion of the leaves is used in the treatment of fevers and colds, indigestion associated with nervous tension, excitability and digestive upsets in children, hyperthyroidism, depression, mild insomnia, headaches etc.
Externally, it is used to treat herpes, sores, gout, insect bites and as an insect repellent. The plant can be used fresh or dried, for drying it is harvested just before or just after flowering. The essential oil contains citral and citronella, which act to calm the central nervous system and are strongly antispasmodic. The plant also contains polyphenols, in particular these combat the herpes simplex virus which produces cold sores. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy. Its keyword is "Female aspects". It is used to relax and rejuvenate, especially in cases of depression and nervous tension. We have a more details factsheet on nutritional and health benifits of this plant.
Other Uses Essential; Pot-pourri; Repellent. The growing plant is said to repel flies and ants. It is also rubbed on the skin as a repellent, though the essential oil would be more effective here. An essential oil is obtained from the plant (the exact part is not specified, it is probably the entire plant and especially the flowering stems). It is used medicinally. The whole plant is very pleasantly aromatic, the aroma lasting for a long time after the plant has been harvested. It is therefore a very useful ingredient in pot-pourri.
Cultivation details A very easily grown plant, it succeeds in any well-drained soil in a sunny sheltered position. It prefers a light rich moist soil,a warm position and partial shade. Once established, this is a drought tolerant species, it is a useful plant to try in difficult dry places, usually succeeding in the dustiest of soils once it is established.
Lemon balm is often grown in the herb garden, and sometimes also commercially, there are some named varieties. Plants can often self-sow so freely as to become a menace. If the plants are cut back hard after flowering, they will produce a fresh flush of leaves. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits. A good bee plant. A good companion plant, especially for brassicas.
Propagation Seed - sow spring or autumn in a cold frame. Germination can be slow. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and plant out into their permanent positions when the plants are at least 15 cm tall. If there is plenty of seed it can be sown in an outdoor seed bed in April. Plant out into their permanent positions the following spring. Division in spring or autumn. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.
Cuttings in July/August.
Мелисса лимонная - Melissa officinalis L.
Мнолетнее, свето- и влаголюбивое растение. Стебель прямостоячий, ветвистый, высотой 100-120 см, листья яйцевидные. Ценится за высокое содержание органических кислот, каротина, эфирных масел. Молодые побеги и листья имеют приятный лимонный запах и горьковато-приятный вкус. Используют мелиссу лимонную в кулинарии в качестве пряности и приправы, а также как лекарственное растение, в виде настоев и компрессов.
Посев: в открытый грунт семена высевают ранней весной (в апреле-мае). Посев рядовой (расстояние между рядами 40-60 см). Всходы прореживают в грядке на 25-30 см. При использовании рассадного способа, семена высевают в конце марта в ящики по схеме 5х5 см. В открытый грунт растения высаживают в возрасте 70-ти суток, в конце мая по схеме 60х30 см. Мелиссу Лимонную выращивают на плодородных, достаточно увлажнённых, суглинистых, не кислых почвах. На одном месте растет 10 лет.
Уход: заключается в рыхлениях, прополках, полива (после срезки зелени) и подкормках.
Уборка: к уборке зелени рекомендуется приступать на второй год. За сезон проводят 2-3 срезки: первую – в июне, вторую – через месяц.
Eng.: Common balm, lemon balm, balm, balm mint, blue balm, cure-all, dropsy plant, garden balm, melissa, sweet balm. Suom.: Sitruunamelissa. Sven.: Citronmeliss, hjärtansfröjd, honungsblomma, melissört, modergräs. Bot. syn.: Melissa cordifolia Pers.