Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is a perennial herb in the mint family. It is native to the Mediterranean region, but can now be found in many parts of the world. The plant has a bushy, upright habit and can grow up to 3 feet tall. It has oval-shaped leaves that are about 2-3 inches long and have a lemon scent when crushed. The leaves are a bright green color and are slightly serrated on the edges. The plant produces small, white or pale yellow flowers that bloom in the summer.
Lemon balm prefers well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade. It is relatively easy to grow and can be propagated by dividing the root ball or by taking stem cuttings. It is important to give the plant enough space to grow, as it can spread rapidly. To prevent the plant from becoming invasive, it is a good idea to regularly deadhead the flowers and trim back the stems.
Lemon balm can be used in cooking and is often added to salads or used as a garnish. The leaves can also be used to make tea or added to drinks and desserts for a lemony flavor. Lemon balm is also used in traditional medicine, as it is believed to have calming and soothing effects.
In the garden, lemon balm can be used as a companion plant to repel pests and attract beneficial insects. The plant is also a good source of nectar for bees and other pollinators.
Overall, lemon balm is a useful and versatile herb that can be enjoyed in the kitchen and the garden.