Learn about growing a lemon balm plant and how to make a delicious lemon balm syrup from the leaves for dry, sore throats and to sweeten drinks.
The lemon balm plant is another great perennial herb to grow in the garden. It has a nice mounding shape and the leaves as you might expect have a pleasant lemon scent and flavor.
The tiny white flowers are pretty too but not significant enough to show off in an arrangement. However, the foliage is pretty enough to use as filler.
Lemon balm aka "sweet balm" is another easy-to-grow herbaceous perennial similar to catmint and is also a member of the mint family. Native to Southern Europe, its botanical name is Melissa officinalis and comes from the greek word for "honey bee"
Medicinally it is often used for insomnia, anxiety, and indigestion.
Growing Lemon Balm - Melissa officinalis
- Size: 2 feet tall by 3 feet wide
- Hardy to USDA Zones 3-9
- Light Requirements - Full sun to partial shade
- Water Needs - Average
- Soil - Average well-draining soil
- Bloom time - June to August
- Deer Resistant
- Loved by bees and other pollinators
- Few pest problems but can have trouble with root rot and powdery mildew
Harvesting Lemon Balm
Like most herbs, lemon balm is edible and can be used in many ways. Its lovely lemony aroma is used in many culinary dishes and bath and body products. You can harvest lemon balm anytime during the growing season but it's best early in the season in the morning before it starts flowering. Pick off a few leaves or cut it back to no more than a third of the plant for drying or using in recipes.
Lemon Balm Uses
- Make herbal tea from the leaves to calm the mind and soothe stomach upset.
- Dry leaves for use in potpourri, sachets, soaps, and other bath and body products.
- Salves and balms
- Toss in salads or drinks
- Simple syrup as a sweetener for drinks
- Can be used as an insect repellent
Lemon Balm Syrup with Honey
One of my favorite ways to use lemon balm is to create a syrup with honey or sugar. Start off by making herbal lemon balm tea from the leaves. The tea is great to drink by itself. It has a light flavor and mild taste. Add some slices of lemon and ice for a great drink on a hot summer day.
Strain the liquid from the leaves and use it as the base for your syrup.
Add honey to the lemon balm infused tea and keep it in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.
Tip: Make this in small batches so you don't have to worry about spoilage.
A great garden plant that's fragrant, easy to grow, and useful in the kitchen, who wouldn't want to grow lemon balm?
Lemon Balm Syrup Recipe
- 1 cup fresh lemon balm leaves
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1/4 cup honey
- Wash and thoroughly dry lemon balm leaves.
- Place the leaves in a clean pint-sized mason jar or another glass jar
- Pour boiling water over the leaves
- Let the leaves steep for one hour.
- Strain the liquid into a bowl.
- Combine 1/4 cup of the liquid with 1/4 cup of honey.
- Allow the mixture to cool completely on the counter.
- Cover the jar with a tight-fitting cap and refrigerate for 1-2 weeks.
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although attempts have been made to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.