Not the plant you're looking for? Search over 300,000 plants
Herbaceous PerennialHerbs - Culinary

Melissa officinalis

lemon balm

An aromatic, bushy perennial up to 1m tall and wide. Heart-shaped leaves are lemon-scented with scalloped edges are 2-8 cm long. Leafy spikes of creamy-white or pale purple flowers are full of nectar, attracting bees and other pollinators in summer. The leaves are often used as a culinary herb

Other common names
balm
balm leaf
see morebalm oil plant
barm leaf
bee balm
dropsywort
honey plant
pimentary
sweet balm
sweet Mary
tea balm
Buy this plant
Size
Ultimate height
0.5–1 metres
Time to ultimate height
2–5 years
Ultimate spread
0.1–0.5 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Clay
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green
Summer Purple White Green
Autumn Green
Winter
Position
  • Full sun
  • Partial shade
Aspect

South–facing or West–facing

Exposure
Sheltered
Hardiness
H7
Botanical details
Family
Lamiaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Bushy
Genus

Melissa are herbaceous perennials with broadly ovate, aromatic leaves and small 2-lipped white flowers in spikes in summer

Name status

Correct

Plant range
S Europe

How to grow

Cultivation

Grow in any moist soil, in full sun or partial shade. Protect from excessive winter wet

Propagation

Propagate by seed or by division in spring or autumn

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Wildlife gardens
  • Flower borders and beds
Pruning

Cut back hard after flowering to promote fresh leaf growth and to prevent self-seeding. See lemon-balm cultivation for more advice

Pests

May be susceptible to sage leafhopper

Diseases

Generally disease-free. Verticillium wilt may rarely occur

My Garden

Your free RHS gardening coach

Keep track of your plants with reminders & care tips – all to help you grow successfully

My plants
My calendar

My plants

My calendar

My ideas
Manage membership

My ideas

My advice

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.