How to Plant Guyabano Seeds as a Pesticide
- from 30.00cm to 90.00cm
- Growth width
- from 0.00cm to 0.00cm
- Flower characteristics
- slightly fragrant
- Soil moisture
- moderately dry to moderately moist
- PH value
- alkaline to slightly alkaline
- Ornamental or utility value
- Floral decoration
- Culinary herb
- Medicinal plant
- Nectar or pollen plant
- Garden style
- Apothecary garden
- Cottage garden
- Herb garden
- Pot garden
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), also known under the names English balm, honey flower, heart comfort or bee herb, belongs to the mint family (Lamiaceae). The plant has been used as a medicinal herb for over 2000 years. It was once grown as a bee pasture, hence the name "melissa", the Greek word for "honey bee". The plant was originally native to the eastern Mediterranean region. Because it was cultivated so extensively, including by Benedictine monks in monastery gardens, and because it was slightly overgrown, lemon balm is now widespread in all warm areas of Europe. In the wild, it mainly grows on fields and on forest roads.
The perennial, herbaceous growing medicinal and aromatic plant has a strong rhizome and spreads very quickly both through runners and through self-sowing. The plant grows to a height of 40 to 90 centimeters and has thin, upright and clearly square stems.
On the hairy stems of lemon balm, there are light green or yellowish green, egg to heart-shaped and toothed leaves with a coarse vein. They are about five centimeters long, are bluntly rounded at the tip and have small oil glands on both sides. The plant gives off its typical lemon scent, especially when rubbing the leaves with your fingers.
The white, yellowish or bluish flowers of lemon balm only appear from the second year of standing. Flowering time is between June and August. Lemon balm is a popular fodder plant for bees and other insects and attracts them to the garden in large numbers.
The ovary consisting of two carpels disintegrates into four solitary partial fruits when ripe.
The lemon balm thrives best in sunny to semi-sunny and sheltered locations. You can also cultivate the herbs in pots, but lemon balm is so vigorous that it has to be repotted constantly and requires a larger planter.
As a weak eater, lemon balm needs a permeable, not too dry soil with sufficient nutrient content. Loamy-sandy garden soil is suitable as a substrate for the pot.
If you want to cultivate lemon balm as a medicinal and aromatic herb for household use, one or two plants are sufficient. You can get them as young plants in spring from specialist retailers. Alternatively, you can sow lemon balm yourself under glass at 15 to 20 degrees Celsius in boxes or bowls in March or April. Only cover the seed with a thin layer of soil. Germination takes place after three to four weeks. The young plants can then be planted outdoors after about six weeks at a distance of 30 x 30 centimeters.
You should always keep young plants moist in the beginning. If the conditions are good, the lemon balm begins to grow rapidly and spreads by itself. Since the plant develops strong, flat roots, you should be very careful when chopping in the area around it. In order to stimulate fresh budding, the plant is cut back when the buds begin to appear or when the lower leaves first turn yellow. When growing in a bucket, we recommend adding organic fertilizer to lemon balm every two to three weeks from April to August.
Harvest and Preservation
Of course, you can pick the fresh lemon balm leaves individually throughout the summer and use them. Shortly before the start of flowering in June or July, however, it has stored most of the aromatic substances. Then cut the herb off four inches above the ground. A second harvest is possible in September. If the leaves are not processed immediately, lemon balm can also be dried after harvest. In doing so, however, it loses a large part of its aroma and is no longer really suitable for seasoning dishes - but all the more for teas or tinctures.
Winter protection or overwintering
Lemon balm is frost hardy and only needs winter protection in the bed in extremely cold temperatures. To bring the spring harvest forward, the plant can also be placed in the greenhouse. Potted plants should better overwinter in a cool and light place in the house. Cut the plant back before putting it away and water it only moderately afterwards. From April the lemon balm can be used on the balcony or terrace again.
Lemon balm is the right choice for all nervous disorders, such as difficulty falling asleep or inner restlessness: it strengthens the nerves. Because the plant contains many tannins and bitter substances as well as rosmarinic acid in addition to essential oil, it also has an antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory effect. Lemon balm can alleviate gastrointestinal problems and have a healing effect on colds and poor circulation. A positive influence on herpes viruses is also attributed to it. Lemon balm is usually given as a tea or, in higher concentrations, as a tincture.
Use in the kitchen
Lemon balm is also a popular herb in the kitchen. The fresh, deliciously lemony-tasting leaves can be used to refine salads, fish dishes, sauces, jams and drinks. Tip: Add the leaves at the very end, especially for hot dishes. In this way the aroma develops better and is not "overcooked". The leaves can be brewed as lemon balm tea, especially in dried form, or used as a bath additive. They are also often found in potpourris and herb pillows.
There are different types of lemon balm available in stores, which differ mainly in the color of the leaves. ‘All Gold’, for example, sprouts bright yellow foliage, but does not tolerate blazing sun. The ‘Variegata’ variety has yellow-varnished leaves and is an eye-catcher in the herb bed or in the herb spiral. ‘Citronelle’ has a very high oil content.
‘Binsuga’ and ‘Limoni’ have a particularly aromatic taste. The lemon balm ‘Compacta’ grows - as the name suggests - compactly and is therefore a little better for cultivation in pots. However, the variety does not develop flowers.
Older plants can be propagated in spring by dividing the rootstock or using cuttings. It is also possible to multiply by sowing. However, this is time-consuming and not really worth it - especially since lemon balm usually spreads quickly by itself and begins to grow quickly, especially in the garden.
In this video we show you how you can easily propagate herbs by cuttings.
Credits: MSG / Alexandra Tistounet / Alexander Buggisch
Diseases and pests
Lemon balm is an extremely robust medicinal and aromatic plant. Occasionally there is an infestation with aphids or the green turtle beetle, more rarely leaf spot diseases or powdery mildew.
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