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FutureStarrA Balm Plant
A balm plant is a type of flowering plant and is a species of aromatic herb. They grow in tropical and subtropical regions and have the ability to survive seasons of drought. They can also tolerate a wide range of climatic conditions and grow on disturbed ground. They have decorative flowers, long and thin leaves, and can be grown in a container or in the landscape. They're also a popular house plant.lemon balm, (Melissa officinalis), also called balm gentle, aromatic herb of the mint family (Lamiaceae), grown for its lemon-scented fragrant leaves. Lemon balm is native to the Mediterranean region and Central Asia and has naturalized in parts of North America and elsewhere. It is widely cultivated in temperate climates as a culinary and medicinal herb and as a garden ornamental. Grow lemon balm in full sun in fertile, well-drained soil. It can be started from seed sown indoors about 4-6 weeks before last frost, although seeds may be slow to germinate if not stratified. Transplanting seedlings into the garden when they are 2-3″ tall. Space the plants 16-18″ apart. You can also sow outdoors in fall or late spring. Plants grow quickly to form large clumps. They may spread somewhat aggressively in some situations and will often self-seed, so deadheading after flowering is recommended to prevent nuisance seedlings. Cutting back hard after flowering will produce a fresh flush of leaves.
Lemon balm is one of those herbs that isn’t thought of all that much beyond tea. But in reality, this sometimes rambling and invasive “mint” has played a crucial role in the health and well-being of humans and animals alike for thousands of years. It’s easy to grow, looks nice, and smells and tastes even better! If you have a little room to spare in the yard or garden, you might want to give this little herbal gem a try. It is always a good idea to mulch plants year-round, but winter mulch is of the utmost importance. Mulch helps keep the ground frozen in areas where the ground freezes and keeps it warmer in areas where it doesn’t. Mulch also helps prevent the plant from being heaved out of the ground in times of repeated freeze and thaw cycles. Lemon balm will grow almost anywhere in the garden and isn’t particularly fussy about the quality of soil it grows in.
In general, your plant will be larger and more productive when grown in full sun and fertile, loamy soil. In regions with very hot or dry summers, lemon balm appreciates a bit of afternoon shade and soils that retain moisture. If you plant lemon balm in soil that is both very fertile and loamy, it will spread like wildfire throughout your garden. We have a lot of red clay soil here in the Ozarks, and I find that my lemon balm not only grows well, but that it also stays relatively close to where I plant it. And while lemon balm prefers moist soil, healthy and mature plants easily endure extended periods of heat and drought. Many gardeners like the idea of planting an herb garden, but aren’t always sure what to do with the herbs once they are mature. You can harvest handfuls of lemon balm leaves for fresh use almost any time during the growing season. For a large harvest of leaves that will be dried for tea or medicinal use, it is preferable to wait until the plant begins to put on flower buds or just as the flowers begin to open. This is when the volatile oils in the leaves are at their greatest concentration. Lemon balm is an exceptionally attractive herb that lights up any garden path. And while the flowers are not excessively showy and can at times give the plant a leggy or ragged appearance, they attract many beneficial insects to the garden. Lemon balm is not only a fragrant and flavorful culinary herb, but also a powerful medicinal that deserves a spot in every garden. If nothing else, the simple beauty of its soft, sculpted leaves and pleasant smell will do much to cheer up any gardener. (Source: www.ecofarmingdaily.com)