What Is Lemon Bee Balm: Learn About Growing Lemon Mint Plants

What Is Lemon Bee Balm: Learn About Growing Lemon Mint Plants

By:
Mary Ellen Ellis







Lemon bee balm, or lemon mint, is distinct from but often
confused with lemon
balm
. It is a U.S. native annual herb with a delightful aroma and culinary
uses. Growing lemon mint is easy, as its needs are low. It makes a great
addition to a meadow
or pollinator
garden
.

What is Lemon Bee Balm?

Monarda citriodora is a member of the mint family.
Some other common names for lemon bee balm plants are purple horsemint, lemon
mint, plains horsemint, and horsemint.

Lemon bee balm is an herbaceous annual that is native to the
central and southern U.S. and northern Mexico. It’s fairly common along roads
and in pastures or prairies in these areas. Lemon mint grows to about 30 inches
(76 cm.) and produces tight, spike-shaped clusters of lavender flowers.

Lemon Bee Balm vs. Lemon Balm

Lemon bee balm is often confused with lemon balm, another
member of the mint family. Lemon balm is Melissa officinalis and is
hardier, growing in slightly colder zones of the U.S. It grows in a large clump
up to three feet (91 cm.) wide and two feet tall (61cm.). The flowers are
spiky, pale yellow clusters.

Lemon Bee Balm Uses

There are several good reasons to grow lemon bee balm plants
in your garden. Many gardeners choose this plant for its ability to attract
pollinators and for its delightful, lemony aroma. As an herb, it also has some
culinary uses. The leaves add a lemon flavor to cooked foods, salads, and teas.
They can also be used in potpourri mixes.

Lemon Bee Balm Care

Growing lemon mint is easy. This herb tolerates poor and rocky
soils
and actually prefers soil that is sandy
or with limestone. It will need full sun to thrive, although it can tolerate a
little shade. Once established, watering requirements are low. Lemon bee balm
can get by in dry soils.

Although it is an annual, it will readily propagate by seed.
If you leave flowers in place, this plant will spread. In fact, it can overrun
areas of your garden, just like mint,
where conditions are optimal. If you are starting from seed, simply rake the
seeds into the soil in early spring or in fall in warmer climates.

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