When all danger of frost is past, transfer plants outside in a sunny location, spacing 12″ apart, in rows 12″ apart in medium dry, light, sandy soils for best leaf flavor. Prefers full sun to partial shade. A good choice for a patio container. Plant height 12″.
For best results, consistent and regular moisture throughout the growing season is required. Pinch out growing tips to encourage bushy growth.
Citronella Balm melissa officinalis citronella
Citronella balm contains almost double the amount of essential oil than other lemon balm plants. The fragrant scented leaves of lemon are most often used in tea, salad dressings, potpourri and meat marinades. The strong lemon aroma even helps repel pesky mosquitos and biting flies in the garden!
Easy to grow because it is very hardy and drought tolerant, it does spread easily. In fact, it is advisable to grow it in containers unless it is separate from the rest of the garden (or unless you are a very dedicated gardener who enjoys cutting back) because it tends to be invasive.
A frost hardy perennial, citronella balm’s leaves can be harvested at any time for fresh use. For longer term storage, harvest leaves and stems and hang upside down in small bunches, or strip leaves from stems and dry on screens or in a dehydrator on low. Dried leaves do not retain as much lemon flavor as fresh, but are excellent for making tea or potpourri.