Lemon balm or Melissa officinalis is an attractive small shrub, which typically grows between 2 to 5 feet in height and is native to the Mediterranean region. The flowers are not at all showy and the plant is generally grown for its lemon scented leaves. The delicate leaves of the plant are fragrant and emit a sweet lemony scent when crushed. The plant is well-suited to USDA Hardiness Zones 4-9 and prefers sunny areas with partial shade as well as regular to moderate watering.
When grown in the right climate, lemon balm can be an incredibly rewarding plant to add to your garden. The plant is extremely easy to care for and requires little attention once it is established, with the exception of pruning which should be done in the early spring. It is also a versatile herb, being used for its ethnomedical properties as well as being a common ingredient in many different recipes.
Lemon balm will grow in both pots and garden beds in colder regions. When planted in a pot, make sure to use an adequately sized one to give the plant enough space to grow. It also needs slightly more attention in terms of watering as the soil will dry quicker due to the lack of insulation. Keep the soil moist but not soggy and trim away any dead or damaged foliage during the growing season to help keep the plant healthy and promote new growth.