Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) often referred to as "Melissa", is a perennial member of the mint family that has been used in cooking and medicine for centuries. Ptolemy praised the herb in ancient Greece and if you try it with fish you will be amazed. As with all the mints, this multipurpose plant is extremely invasive and can quickly carpet your garden and strangle other plants. The lazy gardener should keep lemon balm in pots to keep its spreading aspect under control. Lemon balm appreciates a semi-shady spot and is a hassle-free herb to grow. Just regularly pinch out the flower spikes to encourage vegetation.
As a companion plant to cannabis, lemon balm repels mosquitoes and gnats while attracting beneficial pollinators to your garden. You can crush a leaf to rub on insect bites and a sweet lemon tea made from the dry herb is said to improve memory, but is more commonly used for its relaxing and uplifting properties. At season's end, lemon balm will die back and hibernate over winter only to come on in a rush once the warmth of spring arrives. The reappearance of perennials is a good way to judge when it is time to germinate your cannabis.
|Melissa officinalis||Perennial, herbaceous.||60 - 90 cm||Just before the blossoms develop – late spring/early summer.||Aromatic (leaves), distraction and stealth.||Cool season, Sun or part-shade.|
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