Friday, May 13, 2011

Lemon Balm - Herb Of The Week

Lemon Balm is my choice of herbs for this week. Its scent is refreshing and its so easy to harvest and use in so many ways.

LightSun, part-shade
Height1 foot
Spacing2 feet
UsesTea, meat sauces, salads
OtherAggressive. Strong soapy lemon fragrance.

It's a hardy perennial that grows into a bush about 24 inches round. Lemon Balm belongs to the mint family and looks very similar, with light green, ridged leaves.
Lemon balm is an easy to care for herb that grows similar to mint. It likes some shade during the hot part of the day or it will wilt slightly. I find it very drought tolerant and rarely give it extra water unless we go quite awhile without rain. In fact, it doesn't like wet feet, and prefers a loose, fairly fertile soil. It will tolerate dry soil as well. I harvest my plant at least 3 times each summer and still have more than I can use with just one plant. It can be harvested within 2-3 inches from the base of the plant each time and it comes back with vigor! 

Here is a recipe I found using lemon balm in a sun tea.

Lemon Mint Sun Tea

1/2 cup mint
1/2 cup lemon balm
1/2 cup chamomile flowers
3 black tea bags
Place in a gallon container and add cold water to fill the jar. Set in the sun for several hours. Strain our tea and herbs. Pour over ice and refrigerate the leftovers. Sweeten with honey or sugar if desired.

And I have a recipe for an easy astringent using lemon balm.

Lemon Astringent

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon balm
1 cup witch hazel

Combine the ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Allow to steep for 1 week. Strain. Use 1 teaspoon per application with a cotton ball. Refrigerate if you wish.


  1. Lemon balm is definitely hardy around here. I started with one little plant & it has spread into several little "bushes." I like the scent it produces. Thank you for the recipes! Stopping by from Handmade Wednesdays to become your newest follower :)

  2. Hi,
    I found your blog from the Etsy Blogging Buddies Team. Really enjoy your site. Love the lemon balm. It grows here in MN really well. I've also used it chopped in marinades for fish and chicken. Also great in salads. New follower!