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Herbaceous Perennial

Melittis melissophyllum

bastard balm

A strongly aromatic, herbaceous perennial to 60cm tall, forming a clump of erect, square stems. The leaves, borne in opposite pairs, are softly hairy and wrinkled. In late spring and summer it produces whorls of tubular flowers in white, pink or purple, or white with pink or purple lips; the flowers are attractive to bees. Grow this native wildflower in a shady border or woodland garden

Other common names
baum leaf
honey balm

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Size
Ultimate height
0.5–1 metres
Time to ultimate height
2–5 years
Ultimate spread
0.5–1 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Clay
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Moist but well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Pink Purple White Green
Summer Pink Purple White Green
Autumn Green
Winter
Position
  • Partial shade
Aspect

East–facing or North–facing or South–facing or West–facing

Exposure
Sheltered
Hardiness
H6
Botanical details
Family
Lamiaceae
Native to the UK
Yes
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Clump forming
Genus

Melittis are a group of flowering plants from the mint family. Flowering from May to August, they can vary in shape and colour and are often strongly aromatic. Leaves are oval and hairy and stems are upright and also hairy. Flower colour can be white to pale pink with a purple blotch on the lower lip.

Name status

Correct

Plant range
Europe

How to grow

Cultivation

Grow in moderately fertile, moist but well-drained soil in partial shade

Propagation

Propagate by sowing seed in containers in a cold frame as soon as ripe. Divide in spring

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

No pruning required

Pests

Generally pest-free

Diseases

Generally disease-free

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