WSU Clark County Extension

PNW Plants Searchable, categorized images

Lemon Balm

Scientific name: Melissa officinalis

Type:Herbaceous perennials
Plant Requirements
Zone:4 to 9
Sun:Full to partial sun
Plant Characteristics
Height:2 ft
Width:2 ft
Bloom:Summer flowers
Bloom Time:May to August
Bloom Color:Yellow
Additional Characteristics



Wildlife value

Description Medical science has proven that Lemon Balm, when combined with other calming herbs, (such as valerian, hops, and chamomile) helps reduce anxiety and promote sleep.

This herbaceous perennial grows up to 2’ in height and as wide.

The leaves are very deeply wrinkled and range from dark green to yellowish green in color, depending on the soil and climate. If you rub your fingers on these leaves, your fingers will smell tart and sweet like lemons. The leaves are similar in shape to mint leaves. They are light green in color, crinkled, slightly hairy, strongly toothed on the margins, more or less egg shaped and about 1” to 3” in length. As is typical of herbaceous mints, lemon balm leaves are arranged in opposing pairs on square stems.

In the spring and summer, clusters of small, light yellow flowers grow where the leaves meet the stem.
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds.

In a garden where lemon balm is grown for tea, it is best to cut mature plants back once a year to induce new growth. The younger leaves are more aromatic. Older leaves can become stale and musty.

Grow lemon balm in full to partial sun on good fertile loam soil. Requires consistently moist soil. Do not let dry out between watering.

None reported.
For assistance, contact Dr. Charles Brun (, (360) 397-6060 5701
Computing and Web Resources, PO Box 6234, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-6234