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Lemon balm's quilted green leaves release a delicious lemony aroma when brushed, making it the perfect fragrant addition to plantings near patios and garden benches. Low-maintenance lemon balm thrives in beds or containers, as long as roots sink into well-drained soil. Bees can't resist this bushy beauty, so be sure to tuck it in a garden where you grow vegetables and fruits that need pollinating. Trim plants after flowering to limit seeds and subsequent self-sown volunteers. Take advantage of lemon balm's scent as an insect deterrent -- toss a few stems onto a hot grill to drive away mosquitoes.
how to grow Lemon Balm
Gather leaves as you need them for use in fruit salads, beverages, or tossed with steamed vegetables. Pair lemon balm with tarragon to spice up marinades for fish or lamb. Steep leaves in hot water for a tummy-taming tea; combine with lemon mint for a refreshing summer brew. Freeze lemon balm leaves in ice cubes for cooling lemonade. Leaves bruise easily; handle with care between picking and use in the kitchen. Preserve lemon balm by drying or stashing in vinegar.
garden plans for Lemon Balm
more varieties for lemon balm
Variegated lemon balm
Melissa officinalis 'Variegata' has green leaves splashed with golden yellow. It is less vigorous than the species, growing just 18-24 inches tall and wide. Otherwise, its qualities are similar. Zones 4-11