Learn How To Grow Lemon Balm With The Seeds

If you want a long and continuous supply of the lemony hot tea, then learning how to grow lemon balm for your garden can be a great idea. The beautiful shiny green plants look delightful and also attract beneficial fauna to the garden. Can’t wait already?

Read on as we tell you the right method to grow lemon balm plants at home.


About Lemon Balm

These plants are also called Melissa and belong to the Mint family or Lamiaceae. This perennial herb has bushy foliage and is popular for its leaves that have a lemony flavor and aroma.

It mostly acts as a flavoring element. Culinary usage is the prime aspect of lemon balm plants where they impart flavor to teas, salads, dressings, etc. There are many medicinal and healing properties of the leaves too as they are known for their soothing effects in stress, stomach problems, anxiety, and headache, etc.

There are different varieties of lemon balm plants:

  • The standard or Melissa officinalis
  • Aurea
  • Citronella
  • Compacta
  • All Gold

Different Ways of Propagating Lemon Balm

There are four methods to know about while learning how to grow lemon balm. If you don’t have the seeds, then you can choose from any of the other methods which may give different results.

  • Sowing the seeds
  • Planting the root divisions
  • Plant the stem cuttings
  • Layer the plants along with the root nodes

Some Facts to Note about Lemon Balm Plants

Take a quick look:

  • The only drawback of ingrown plants is that they don’t set seeds generally.
  • Once the plant starts flowering, it is better to discard it since that is the beginning of the diminishing potency and taste of the leaves.
  • The lemon balms that are grown out of the seeds are usually different from each other. They look similar but smell and taste differently.
  • Lemon balm plants are self-sowing and they spread quite well when started with seeds.

Requirements of Lemon Balm Plants

There are several requirements that you need to meet to promote a healthy lemon balm growing.

  • The plant requires enough sunlight for better growth. Plants indoors need to be kept at a place that receives direct sun for around good 5 – 6 hours every day. Some shade won’t do any harm; in fact, it can enhance the flavor of the leaves.
  • A soil medium that is fertile enough and has good drainage is apt for lemon balm plants. A soil worked with some compost can be a great option. The pH of the soil must be around 6.7- 7.3.
  • You can have lemon balm plants anywhere, for a window garden, container, or outdoor spaces.

Different Ways of Growing Lemon Balm Plant

Growing lemon balm from seed is an easy process. Let’s know the three different ways of how to grow lemon balm from seed.

how to grow lemon balm

Starting the plants indoors and transplanting

Check the date of the last frost in your local area and calculate 6 – 8 weeks prior to that. That is the time you begin with starting the seeds of lemon balm indoors. All you need to have is a good potting soil mix that is sterilized and moist enough.

Sow the seeds into the soil and cover them with a very light layer of soil to not cut off the light. The right temperature to be maintained is around 70 degrees F. The soil must remain moist throughout until the seeds sprout.

It will take around 10 – 14 days or longer for the seeds to germinate depending upon the temperature. Once the second true leaves set on the plant, you can move them into larger pots or thin them as per the need.

Once the spring has set in and the young seedlings are big enough, it’s time to move them out in the garden. Harden off the seedlings first and then transplant them into the ground. Keep them spaced at about 12 – 18 inches and immediately water the plants.

Container growing

This can be another method to opt for when growing lemon balm indoors. The only minor drawback is that the leaves of the container-grown lemon balm won’t be much flavorful. Nonetheless, they make good plants for pot gardens along with basils and dills.

Take a pot around 15 -18 inches wide and about 8 inches deep and fill it with potting soil. Sow the lemon balm seeds directly into the soil. Put the pot at any location with either good sunlight for 5 hours a day or 14 – 16 hours of artificial light.

Keep checking the plant for overgrowth and root bounding. You may need to divide the plants during the fall accordingly.

Direct outdoor sowing

You can also opt for this method where the seeds are directly sown into the garden ground outdoors. The right time to sow the seeds is during early spring, summers, early fall, or late winters. The main idea is that the seeds should be protected from frost.

Spread the seeds over the ground and cover them with a very light layer of soil to keep the depth at not more than a quarter inch. Keep the soil nicely moist until the seeds sprout. It may take around 5 – 9 days for the seeds to germinate if they get a temperature of about 65 – 70 degrees F.

The seedlings that emerge can be thinned at a gap of about 8 inches and then once more to make a space of 18 inches between the young plants. The rows must have a gap of 18 – 24 inches.

Caring For Lemon Balm Plants

Lemon balm plants don’t demand exclusive attention and you only need to take care of some basic needs.

  • You need to water the lemon balm steadily and evenly but don’t end up overwatering as it will damage the roots. Just enough moisture is best for these plants and they are drought tolerant.
  • A mild liquid fertilizer is enough to feed the plant throughout the growth phase. Some side dressing with rotted compost will also be good.
  • Thinning and pruning of the plant is a must to boost even air circulation and ensure healthy growth. While thinning, remove the withered leaves to avoid any disease.
  • Heavy mulching helps to prevent the seeds of the plant from spreading. Keep harvesting the tops before flowers set on the plants.
  • The roots of this plant are robust and sprawl deep. You may have to plant them in a big baseless container to stop its invasion into the entire garden.
  • You can also overwinter the lemon balm plants. Cut the stem back till 2 inches of it remain during the fall. The plant will wither to the ground and then re-grow once the weather becomes warms enough.
  • Lemon balms are usually pest or disease proof. In fact, the smell of it repels bugs and pests. Nonetheless, you might have to watch out for spider mites, aphids, powdery mildew, leaf spot, and wilt which can be prevented by compost tea sprays.


We hope that our guide on how to grow lemon balm proved useful to you and you were able to extract great tips from it to enrich your gardening skills. Just pay close attention to some of the details like the right time and right method for a great lemon balm harvest that will be very delighting.

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