Care of Lemon Balm Plant


Country gardens overflowing with fresh herbs alive with buzzing bees and delicate butterflies may seem like a dream come true, but that's only part of the illusion a well-designed herb bed provokes. Small-space gardens tucked in unused corners or along walkways can bring that dream to life. With fragrant lemon balm, you can start your own herb garden and enjoy the fruit of your labor with scented sachets or delicately flavored desserts.

Step 1

Prepare a planting area with full to partial for lemon balm. Choose an area that receives full sun in the morning and light shade in the afternoon, if possible, as partial shade produces attractive plants with larger leaves.

Step 2

Till the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches and remove any rocks or roots. Add a 2 to 3-inch layer of compost or well-rotted manure. Mix in well with the existing soil to improve the composition of the soil, promote good drainage and provide slow-release nutrients as the plant grows.

Step 3

Dig a hole large enough to accommodate the seedlings and plant to the original planting depth. Space individual seedlings 18 to 24 inches apart.

Step 4

Water deeply once a week, saturating the soil to the root level to encourage deep root formation. Frequent, light watering encourages roots to form near the surface of the soil and compromises the health of the plant.

Step 5

Pinch out center leaves on new growth with your thumb and forefinger when plants are 4 to 6 inches high, to encourage branching and prevent plants from becoming tall and leggy. Repeat in three weeks to create a dense, compact plant.

Step 6

Cut foliage back to the ground level in the fall once it has been killed by frost. Mulch with a 2 to 3-inch layer of hay or leaves to protect roots from heaving with winter freezing and thawing.

Step 7

Fertilize with water-soluble fertilizer in early spring when new growth appears and again after harvest. Too much fertilizer inhibits both flavor and fragrance.

Things You'll Need

  • Lemon balm seedlings
  • Garden tiller/spade
  • Compost/manure
  • Mulch (leaves/hay)
  • Water soluble fertilizer


  • Utah State University Extension: Lemon Balm in the Garden
  • North Carolina Cooperative Extension: Lemon Balm

Who Can Help

  • Purdue University Extension: Growing Herbs
Keywords: plant lemon balm, grow lemon balm, lemon balm care

About this Author

Nannette Richford is an avid gardener, teacher and nature enthusiast with 4 years experience in online writing and a lifetime of personal journals. She is published on various sites, including Associated Content. Richford holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Maine Orono and certifications in 7-12 English, K-8 General Elementary and Birth to age 5.