Lemon Balm Gardening Tips and Uses.
Today I want to talk about Lemon Balm gardening tips and uses. Earlier this summer, I read something somewhere about the Lemon Balm plant repelling mosquitoes and being good for a lot of things. As I live in Northern Ontario, Canada, I welcome natural mosquito repellents with open arms. I decided to give some a try.
Once I got it home, I wasn’t sure what to do with it. And almost two months later, I still have no clue. Its sitting in its cramped little nursery container (beside the cramped little Lavender nursery container, but that’s an herb for another day), and I’m kind of worried it’s not going to make it.
My mission is to have it planted somewhere in my yard by the end of this weekend. The somewhere needs to be a place where it can be a happy little Lemon Balm plant. And I need to figure out Lemon Balm uses for when (if) it comes back to life.
*Note: I am not a doctor or an herbal specialist of any sort. Always check with a qualified health professional before using any herb for any purpose. Some herbs can interact with medications, pass into breast milk, affect an unborn child, etc.
LEMON BALM PLANT FEATURES
- Judging by [the living sections of] my own Lemon Balm plant:
- is a bushy plant with a lot of densely packed leaves
- has a nice, subtle lemony smell (this might be stronger with a larger, healthier plant?).
- According to Wikipedia, Lemon Balm
- has little white flowers that bees find tasty
- gets 70-150 cm (28-59”) tall…waaaaaay taller than I thought
- is a perennial from the mint family
- becomes an invasive little grower.
LEMON BALM GROWING TIPS
- Good news…growing Lemon Balm is easy!
- In fact, it’s so invasive that it’s considered beginner friendly (I shouldn’t be able to kill it off).
- Bad news…it’s so invasive that it’s considered beginner friendly, and will definitely need to be contained.
- I think I’ll plant my little guy in a larger pot with the bottom cut out, and sink that pot into a flower bed.Lemon
- Balm is good down to Zone 3, if mulch is used.It enjoys full sun to partial shade.Water it once a week.
- You can grow Lemon Balm indoors! A window with at least 5 hours of direct sunlight will keep it happy.
- To propagate Lemon Balm, use seeds, root cuttings, or divide the roots.
LEMON BALM HARVEST
- Lemon Balm leaves have a mild, lemony taste (not tart or sour).
- Flavour is strongest if the plant is cut before it flowers.
- To make Lemon Balm essential oil, it’s best to cut the plant while it’s flowering.
- To dry Lemon Balm, hang it in a dark place where air circulates well. If you want it to dry fast, use a dehydrator.In a glass container, dried Lemon Balm is good for a year (if kept somewhere dark and dry).For cooking, freeze in a vegetable oil. An ice-cube tray would work well for this.
LEMON BALM USES AND BENEFITS
*Note: Lemon Balm can prevent your body from absorbing Thyroxine (thyroid med). Always consult a medical professional before use. As I mentioned earlier I have no idea how to use Lemon Balm. Here are a few ideas I came across.
- LEMON BALM USES IN COOKING:Goes well with spearmint.Can be used in herbal teas, pesto, salads, etc.A great garnish for vegetables, ice cream, fruit, fish, etc.It can be used in place of lemon peelings and lemon rinds in recipes.
- LEMON BALM USES AROUND THE HOME:Dried Lemon Balm leaves are a nice addition to homemade soaps and potpourri.
- LEMON BALM USES FOR SKIN:A Lemon Balm leaf infusion makes an excellent skin toner.
- LEMON BALM USES FOR HAIR:A strong Lemon Balm leaf infusion is an effective conditioner rinse for oily hair.
- LEMON BALM MEDICINAL USES:Is said to be calming and is found in many calming herbal teas.
- Lemon Balm can help anxiety.
- Chew it for fresh breath
- .Lemon Balm repels mosquitoes if the leaves are smushed and rubbed on skin.It also soothes itching from bug bites if smushed and applied to the bite.
- You can use Lemon Balm for cold sores. Crush and apply it directly to the area, or use a Lemon Balm balm. ?If you don’t have access to a live plant, Lemon Balm essential oil can also be used in many recipes.
There are a lot more uses for the Lemon Balm plant, but I want to stick with basic, beginner friendly ones for now. As my plant grows, I’ll try out more advanced uses, and let you know how I make out (if my plant doesn’t die). Here’s to hoping!
What are your favourite Lemon Balm gardening tips and uses? Let’s chat in the comments section below. Stephanie ?
My sources of inspiration and information:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melissa_officinalishttps://thenerdyfarmwife.com/12-things-to-do-with-lemon-balm/