Lemon Balm, Melissa officinalis - cultivation and care

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You can sow them or put them in the wild as young plants, they thrive on the balcony, on the windowsill and even in the kitchen. The lemon balm is easy to keep following a few simple rules. With good care, the plants can grow up to twenty years old and can be harvested four times per season. However, lemon balm also spreads widely in the garden.
Lemon balm is frugal and thankful, the plants need no special location. On the windowsill, on the balcony, on the terrace and in the open air, the kitchen herb actually feels good everywhere. However, it thrives better in a sunny to partially shaded spot, and it takes up a lot of space. Wind-sheltered places are advantageous because the up to 120 cm high stems with broad leaves bend in strong gusts.
Substrate and soil
Also in terms of the soil lemon balm is not spoiled. The plants thrive in large pots or tubs in herb soil, a loose, slightly humus-rich soil that absorbs water but does not form waterlogging. Nutrient-rich soils do the lemon balm well, sandy loamy soil and loamy sandy soils they like. Acid, neutral or calcareous soil is fine, the plant does not care. Only waterlogged the herb does not like, the wetness must be able to drain. In pot and bucket so necessarily a drainage layer must be installed. Coarse pebbles and potsherds are very suitable for this. In the field, the soil can be mixed with some humus or sand to improve the water permeability.
Pouring and fertilizing
Lemon balm does not need a lot of water, the adult plants can cope with prolonged drought. However, the plants feel most comfortable when they are kept evenly moist, so the soil never gets completely dry, but never gets wet. Lemon balm can not tolerate waterlogging like most herbs. Young plants should not be allowed to dry, the soil should always be kept moist. And lemon balm is not fertilized, it gets all the necessary nutrients from water and soil. This also applies to lemon balm, which thrives in pots or tubs - if the plants are transplanted to a slightly larger pot each spring and receive new soil, that's enough.
Lemon balm can be sown in the field from the end of May, that is, after the ice saint. The seeds are scattered on the ground and only lightly pressed, they must not be covered with soil. Lemon balm germinates quickly, but often struggles to find its way out of the earth. And the plants take a long time to form roots. During this time the lemon balm always needs moist, loose soil. Once the plants have grown, they are unproblematic. Lemon balm can also be propagated by seedlings or cuttings.
For this purpose, shoots are cut about a hand's breadth above the ground and are brought under Klarsichtfolie and high humidity to the roots. Once the roots are formed, the plants can be planted in the ground. It is even easier to just divide the lemon balm in the spring when repotting, to divide it in the field in the spring or to let it bloom. The seeds are sprouting and at least partially grow into new plants, all by themselves and without work. Lemon balm often forms subterranean rhizomes in the field, from which new plants are produced. If this is undesirable, a root barrier must be incorporated. Adult plants need a distance of about 35 cm from each other.
The plants are generally perennial and hardy, so they can remain in the field. In autumn, they are cut back to about a hand's breadth above the ground, and in the spring, they repopulate. Of course you can cover the plants in extremely cold weather with brushwood or fir branches. If the lemon balm is kept in the bucket or pot, the container should be placed on a polystyrene plate in winter and wrapped with jute fabric. Of course, the plants may also hibernate in the house, but then they like it cool and dark.
Lemon balm can be harvested for the first time already in the sowing year in late summer. The plants are then cut about a hand's breadth above the ground, the leaves are quickly protected from sunlight and dried in a breezy place. Adult plants allow up to four crops a year. Most aromatic are the leaves of lemon balm when harvested just before flowering. With the flower, the aroma loses something, and even when drying it is lost. It is richest in fresh use.
My personal tip
So that the lemon balm can grow quickly in the spring and can be harvested soon, it should already be sown on the windowsill in a mini greenhouse last autumn. Seeds can be purchased in the trade or be self-trailing, that does not matter.As well as show not only cotyledons, but the right plant leaves, the greenhouse may remain open on the windowsill. It is important that the plants in the heated room always have enough light and water available. In the spring, they can spend the first mild days already on the balcony or the terrace to get used to the ambient temperature slowly. As soon as the nights are guaranteed frost-free, the now almost fully grown plants can be set outdoors.
frequently asked Questions

  • Is lemon balm attacked by pests? - Yes, she will. Although lemon balm is very sturdy and less prone, there are a few things that it can capture. Powdery mildew, leaf spot disease and rust are among them, but also aphids and aphids like lemon balm. Bugs, cicadas and the green turtle love the plant as well.
  • What do you do with pest infestation? - As it is a culinary herb that is also intended for consumption, insecticides should not be used if possible. Pests such as lice and bedbugs, beetles and cicadas can be collected and removed at first sighting. If you catch everyone, the problem is solved. Fungal diseases are defeated in the lemon balm by radical pruning. Infested leaves may no longer be used in the kitchen. Except for powdery mildew, the infested plant parts must not be composted, because the fungi can spread over dead plant parts.
  • If the home remedies do not help - can it be the skilled person? - Yes, the professional, gardener, can usually help. There are fungicides against fungal diseases, which should only be used if the plants are not used in the kitchen. This also applies to the case that insects with chemicals, so-called insecticides, must be combated. These chemicals should always be the last resort of choice if everything else fails. They can save the lives of plants, but are harmful to humans and the environment.
  • When can I cut and dry the leaves? - Lemon balm can actually be cut at any time when it is fully grown. It is important that the leaves are dry, so they can be preserved better. But the most aromatic is the plant right before flowering and freshly used - for compotes, infusions or as decoration in the kitchen.
Worth knowing about lemon balm soon
  • The lemon balm is not least because of their aromatic lemon fragrance a popular herb for the kitchen and as a remedy.
  • The perennial plant can be harvested several times a year and usually hibernates easily.
  • Lemon balm blooms between June and August and emits an intense lemon fragrance when rubbed between the fingers.
  • The flowers are usually white, pale yellow or purple. The whole plant reaches a stature height of about 60 cm.
  • In particularly favorable locations, however, it can even become one meter high.
  • In nature, a sunny location with loamy, nutrient-rich soil proven.
  • If you build lemon balm on the balcony or in the bed, it should be ensured that it is at least in the partial shade.
  • For the cultivation of lemon balm the submerging of sand into the soil offers itself, in order to provide a relaxation of the soil.
  • Dryness does not cause lemon balm so much as wet, so it should never come to waterlogging.
  • Whether sour, neutral or alkaline, lemon balm thrives on soils of all pH levels.
  • The best time for sowing is spring, especially the month of May.
  • Lemon balm is a light germ, so the seeds should be lightly pressed and not covered with soil.
However, like many labiates, lemon balm has a less pronounced root system, which significantly reduces the chances of survival of each individual seed and smaller cuttings. Nevertheless, those plants get through that get enough nutrients and light. These grow fast, so that after only one and a half to two months, a first time can be harvested. Many varieties only grow after the first pruning as upright plants, which makes cultivation a bit more space-saving. Tip: Another possibility of cultivation is sowing in autumn, which then brings no harvest in the same year more but this has the advantage that the plants grow upright from the beginning of the next expulsion in the spring.
care Tips
The following care tips should make it easier for amateur gardeners to enjoy the long-term breeding of lemon balm:
  • Waterlogging should be avoided at all costs.
  • Lemon balm loves slightly sandy soil and very sunny places.
  • Lemon balm is one of the so-called "Selbstaussäern", which means that the plant usually proliferates itself once it is cultivated, so they must be implemented only in the spring.
  • In the spring, the plant should be cut back so that it can drive out well and upright again.
  • In order to multiply an already existing lemon balm, the perennial can be divided and transplanted in spring.
Use of lemon balm
To obtain the best harvest results, it is advisable to cut back the lemon balm shortly before flowering, because then the aroma substances of the plant stand out the most clearly. The leaves can be used as a spice, for example, for salads or as a remedy for heart, circulatory or gastrointestinal complaints a helpful remedy. Dried herb leaves lose their aroma quickly, but the healing effect remains unchanged.

Video Board: Growing Lemon Balm (Melissa Officinalis) Organic Mosquito Repellent & Health Benefits!.

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