Lemon Balm


Common Name:

Lemon Balm

Botanical Name:

(Melissa officinalis)

Family Name:



Full Sun to Shade

Common uses:

Lemon grass is a well known flavor in eastern cuisine with a strong and lovely lemon scent. It is very commonly confused with citronella grass which smells very similar but are two different plants. Lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus) and Citronella grass ( Cymbopogon nardus) have two distinct differences that are easily used to tell the two apart. Lemon grass is a lower growing species with a maximum height of about 1m and it also does not produce any flowers. Citronella grass on the other hand flowers in spring and is a majestic tall grass, reaching heights of over 2m. They both can be used in similar ways and contain a lot of the same compounds. Lemon grass tea is a lovely beverage that can be taken on a daily basis or the stems can be added to Thai dishes like curries and sauces. It makes a refreshing Ice tea for those hot summer days and besides tasting great it has many benefits including easing digestion, anti-bacterial properties, it helps clear up nasal congestion, boosts metabolism, lowers cholesterol and helps clear up a headache. All this from a pleasant cup of lemon grass tea!


Lemon grasses, like all other grasses are easy to grow and once you have an established plant you will always have it. They need full sun but tolerates shade as well (we found the flavor is diminished if grown in shade). They are vicious feeders and therefore need well-composted soil and a good layer of organic mulch to ensure a steady release of nutrients. They can be grown in pots with great success but will need to be watered daily and fed more often. Plants in the garden will be happy with a weekly watering.