Melissa cultivation and characteristic

The melissa is a medicinal plant highly valued for its properties., Which serve from solutions to small problems to humans ingredient of the dentifrice or paste uses in perfumery. Our use will be simple, grow it in the garden and appreciate its magnificent aroma. Today, at Gardenprue, we help you grow lemon balm.

Normally we will name this crop as lemon balm, ( Melissa officinalis),  but it also has other names such as lemon balm, citronella, lemon leaf, lemongrass , etc. It is a perennial herbaceous from southern Europe and specifically from the Mediterranean region.

If we smelled lemon balm up close, a deep lemon smell would be appreciated (which is why it is sometimes referred to as lemongrass or lemon leaf). Its normal growth size is up to 80 cm in height, it blooms in summer (white or pink flowers) and has very characteristic leaves due to its serrated edges.

Since we know more or less how  Melissa officinalis is,  we go straight to its cultivation.



Its preferred climate is the Mediterranean . It is used to semi-shady areas, or at least, when it comes to hot climates, that it does not suffer direct sun throughout the day. Regarding the growth temperature, it should be noted that it is sensitive to frost or intense cold.


The lemon balm is a medicinal plant of simple cultivation. In the case of the soil, it does not present many drawbacks and it can be grown in poor soils, only that it will require some contribution of organic matter .

Given the choice of a specific soil, we are left with those that have good drainage and are deep . Its growth will increase If you have a fertile soil before one poor, of course, and in case you want to cultivate  Melissa officinalis  in pots choose a mixture of sand and ompost as substrate.

Read more: how to make compost fast in a few weeks


The lemon balm requires moderate watering but avoiding at all times the flooded soil, which can cause the famous root suffocation in the plants. As it has a Mediterranean climate, it is used to long periods of drought in which it does not rain.

In our case, we will prevent the soil from drying out completely by providing irrigation that moistens the substrate but without flooding it.

In winter we will not have to water very frequently, but in summer, with high temperatures, we must provide frequent watering, since we will notice the lack of water in the crop when the tips of its leaves begin to turn yellow .

If where you have planted lemon balm in your garden is an area where it receives direct sunlight during the central hours , you will notice that the leaves dry out and the plant suffers, so you will have to water much more frequently.

When Melissa officinalis  is grown in shady areas that conserve moisture more efficiently, the frequency and amount of irrigation we must provide is greatly reduced. In summary, direct solar radiation does not make a difference when it comes to irrigation.

To improve the drainage of a pot, you can use inert materials such as vermiculite . This substrate is very porous and allows good water circulation. Mixed with peat (to store nutrients), an almost perfect substrate is achieved.


Melissa is not very demanding in terms of subscriber, but you will notice a big difference if you make regular contributions of organic matter. These applications will contribute to flowering, the production of more showy leaves and increase the conservation of moisture in the soil.


There are several ways. One of them, which we all know, is multiplication through seeds . Another would be by division of plants.

Melissa is an invasive plant . That is, if the media are good, it will expand horizontally, occupying as much land as possible (that is why it is often grown in a pot).

The seeds are usually planted in seedlings and it is usually done in spring or summer, since its germination will need a lot of heat (22º C). With this temperature it germinates in a period of approximately 10 days.

But as we have commented before, if it expands in an invasive way, when multiplying lemon balm, the ideal thing is to separate bushes . Small cuttings can be selected in spring or fall and planted in pots , allowing them to root and grow 15-20 cm.


If lemon balm is taken in infusions, you have many properties . For example as a stimulant, antiseptic, stomachic, healing, etc. For this we must collect the tender leaves that are available almost all year round (better before flowering). For all these types of problems, infusions of a tablespoon of crushed lemon balm leaves are taken daily.

The medicinal benefits of lemon balm can be combined with the synergistic properties of these other medicinals:

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