Melissa is a perennial plant, it belongs to the family of yasnotkovyh. An adult plant is quite tall, up to one meter, a stalk with branched leaves of large size. The fruit of the plant in shape resembles a small dark nut.
Melissa is very popular among gardeners, largely due to its medicinal properties. The leaves of the plant contain a large amount of beneficial acids, tannins, resin, and essential oil with a pronounced lemon scent.
This medicinal plant is very widely used for prophylactic purposes and in the treatment of various heart diseases, depressions and sleep disorders, as well as in disorders of the gastrointestinal tract. Melissa also helps in the treatment of many more diseases, in the manufacture of medicinal decoctions and infusions, mainly dry leaves of the plant are used, although it is possible to use the flowering stems of lemon balm. In this case, it is recommended to dry the collected leaves of lemon balm under a canopy on a well-ventilated area.
The use of lemon balm is also widespread in cooking. It is used as an independent seasoning in the preparation of meat, fish and various vegetable dishes. Some cooks include it in a variety of sauces and soups, you can add lemon balm and various homemade tinctures and soft drinks such as tea or compote.
Place to grow lemon balm
For the cultivation of lemon balm is perfectly suitable acid and well-hydrated soil. Many gardeners love Melissa for its unpretentiousness, and the ability to grow this plant in one place for up to eight years. Growing melissa in one area for such a long time does not contribute to the loss by the plant of its medicinal qualities.
Sowing lemon balm seeds
Seeds of lemon balm are planted in open ground in early spring. For the favorable development of plants, seeds are placed in shallow grooves at a short distance from each other. The distance between adjacent rows of plants must be maintained at about forty or sixty centimeters. If the planting is done too thickly, then it is necessary to wait for the emergence of the second leaflets on the seedlings and thin out the growing greens.
Rassadny method of growing lemon balm
You can grow lemon balm in a seedling way. To do this, in the last decade of March, it is necessary to sow the seeds of the plant in pre-prepared boxes. For the earliest possible emergence of shoots, you can put the boxes in the greenhouse or cover them with film. Strong plants with the onset of warm weather can be planted in open ground or left in a greenhouse.
Harvesting lemon balm seed
In order to harvest a plant for use in medicinal plants or for human consumption, it must be harvested during the period of bud formation.
Melissa at the summer cottage area will not take up much space, but its cultivation will allow to prepare dry flowers for the winter, which will saturate the body with nutrients missing in the cold period and will help to cope with various ailments without harming the body.
Meet the green queen of the front garden
Melissa is a herbaceous perennial, which belongs to the family of "Clear". In the natural environment is found throughout almost the entire territory of Eurasia, as well as in the northern part of the Americas. It grows:
- among the shrubs,
- on the banks of rivers,
- on the forest edges,
- on rocky slopes,
- on the steppe roads.
Her homeland is the Mediterranean, where it is considered an unsightly weed. Despite this, in ancient Rome, experienced gardeners everywhere engaged in the cultivation of lemon balm on their backyards. This is what contributed to its spread throughout the continent. The name of the perennial associated with many legends. In agreement with the most popular version, Melissa is the name of a girl that the evil Greek gods turned into an insect. And in translation into Russian, the name means “honey bee”. Whichever version is correct, it does not prevent fans of green plantings from growing lemon balm in their summer cottage.
Looking at the plant from the side, you can note its excellent features:
- branched root system
- a lot of lush shoots with a rectangular section, directed in different directions,
- plant height reaches over 1 meter,
- intoxicating citrus scent.
If you look closely at the leaf plates, you will see unusual meaty specimens. They are covered with many thin veins, located on the background of the relief surface. The edges of the egg-shaped opposite leaflets are decorated with notches. The tips are slightly elongated, which gives them unprecedented beauty. All of them are painted in a bright green color and covered with barely noticeable fibers.
In the second year after planting, in the middle of summer, umbrella buds appear at the tips of slender stems. Being in leaf bosoms, snow-white or blue inflorescences look original against the background of a lush bush. Due to the elongated lower petals, the buds have an asymmetrical shape, in the center of which there is a pistil surrounded by 4 stamens. Approximately 30 days after pollination, fruits appear in the form of egg-shaped nuts. They are covered with a dense shiny black crust. Inside the fruit is 4 seeds, germinating for about 3 years.
When buying seed, you should take into account the fact that 60 g contains more than 1500 seeds.
Growing lemon balm at their summer cottage: the main points of planting
To achieve success in your business, it is important to focus on the following points:
- plant attitude to light,
- soil type
- technology perennial landing on the site.
Based on this, we will first understand where to plant lemon balm in the garden so that it will successfully settle down. It was noticed that the plant likes open places where there is a lot of sunshine. It is grown in front gardens, on the outskirts of vegetable gardens, gardens, and among low shrubs. Although lemon balm is not afraid of cold, it is still better to plant it on the southern side of the territory.
The plant feels comfortable in places where there is a protective structure from cold gusty winds. This may be a building, fence or other plants.
Perennial prefers fertile land with the presence of drainage. The best option is to plant lemon balm in loamy soil. She miraculously lets in water and air, which is vital for her development. If in the dacha area prevails heavy soil, it is diluted with river sand and fertilized with humus or mineral additives. It is best to do this in the fall, so that next season there will be fragrant grass in the yard.
Since the plant is considered universal, the time of sowing lemon balm depends on the climatic conditions of the territory where it will grow. Therefore, gardeners offer the following periods:
- from early March to May
- June - the middle of August,
- the end of October (before the onset of frosts, so that shoots do not appear).
As you know, plant seeds are very small. This directly affects how to plant lemon balm in order to get the best result. There are several basic rules:
- sowing is done in heated soil,
- the depth of the holes does not exceed 1.5 cm
- sparse planting seeds.
On the prepared site make grooves, slightly moistened, put planting material and sprinkled with earth. This simple technology allows you to grow a fragrant perennial in the summer cottage. Since the sprouts will appear only in a month, beginning gardeners may wonder: why melissa does not sprout for so long. In fact, you only need a little patience to wait for the first shoots.
To perennial well caught on the site, sprouts should be thinned. The distance between them should be approximately 40 cm.
Thrill care of a plant: advice of experts
Some people think: if a perennial is unpretentious, it means that it does not need special attention. However, only the use of advice on how to care for melissa, opens the way to the magnificent landscaping of the site.
Basic principles of watering
Rules for planting lemon balm and care in the open field can not do without proper moisture. At the initial stage, the seedlings are watered in small portions so that they gain strength and take root. Adult lemon balm needs water only during periods of summer heat. Each procedure is accompanied by weeding the top layer of soil. Some gardeners recommend planting mulch around the plant. As a result, moisture will remain and there will be no weeds. To do this, use compost or humus, which simultaneously fertilizes the soil.
Since lemon balm is a branchy shrub, it is not afraid of the planned removal of branches. On the contrary, after such a procedure, many young shoots appear that turn the plant into a lush green ball.
Novice gardeners should be willing to apply the advice of specialists in the cultivation and care of melissa. As a result, she will be able to please her owners for about 10 years. Her fragrant foliage will be an excellent remedy for the treatment of disease and health promotion.
Melissa - planting and care in the open field
A modest inhabitant of the forests of the middle zone of melissa, popularly known as lemon mint, honey bee, bee grass - the culture is quite famous.
The greens of its leaves and shoots with a refreshing lemon flavor are widely used as savory seasonings for preparing various dishes, canning vegetables and giving special flavor to liqueurs and drinks, and a cup of tea brewed on lemon balm is an incomparable pleasure.
The beneficial properties of plants for many years used in traditional medicine for the treatment of many diseases, as well as lemon balm is part of many well-known drugs.
Due to the simplicity of care, Melissa is perfectly adapted for cultivation in open ground, so you can grow healthy and fragrant greens on your own private plot. A few helpful tips will help you avoid common mistakes and get a great harvest.
Processing area for landing
Under natural conditions, melissa grows along forest edges and the slopes of shady ravines; therefore, in the backyard for its cultivation, a place should be made in the penumbra near the outbuildings or under the crowns of fruit trees. The best soils for it are loose, humus-rich loam or sandy loaves with a pH of 4.5 to 7.8.
At the end of autumn, the plot was carefully dug up, combining mechanical treatment with weeding and moderately filling the soil with mineral fertilizers and organic matter. If the land on the site is too heavy, it is recommended to make several buckets of river sand during digging.
In the spring, when the snow completely melts and the soil warms up well, they form low ridges, carefully loosening the soil with a rake and breaking up large clods of earth.
Growing lemon balm from seeds
Seed cultivation method lemon balm - the most time consuming and at the same time, the most effective of all. Bushes from seeds grow more powerful and viable, are resistant to adverse climatic influences. Sowing of seeds can be carried out directly into the ground, or seedlings can be grown from them for subsequent transplanting to a bed.
Read more Tarragon (tarragon): growing from seeds in open ground
Sowing seeds of lemon balm seedlings begin in the second half of March. A low plastic container will be suitable as a landing tank, and the soil for planting can be taken from the bed where it is planned to later transfer grown bushes.
Important! Garden land before planting must be disinfected - kept in a hot oven or shed with hot water. In the case of using the purchased soil mixture, heat treatment is not required.
Sowing works are carried out in the following sequence:
- Prepared soil is poured into the container, lightly tamped with his hands and watered moderately.
- On the surface of the substrate form grooves with a depth of about 1 cm, in which small lemon balm seeds are sown with an interval of 5-7 cm.
- Crops are sprinkled with a thin layer of soil, and the container is covered with food film and placed on a warm, well-lit window sill.
- Lemon balm sprouts quite a long time - up to 20 days. During this time, the greenhouse is regularly aired, the surface of the substrate is moistened with a spray bottle and a drop of condensate is removed from the film.
- After the emergence of seedlings too thick planting thin out and feed the seedlings with nitrogen fertilizer for better development.
- To transfer to the garden the seedlings of lemon balm will be ready in 40-45 days. Transplantation is carried out according to the scheme: the distance between the bushes is about 40-50 cm with a row spacing of 55-65 cm.
When dry sowing seeds Lemon balm follow the following order:
- First of all, it is necessary to note the places of sowing so that during germination very thin shoots are not lost among the weeds. With the same purpose, lemon balm seeds can be mixed with seeds of early ripening crops (radishes, lettuce).
- Before starting work, the surface of the bed is loosened and plentifully watered.
- Seeds are sown in the furrows with a depth of 1-2 cm at a distance of 40-45 cm from each other, completely covering the crops with a layer of old peat or humus. The optimal row spacing is about 60 cm.
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In the first year of life, lemon balm grown from seed adapts to new conditions and blooms extremely rarely, but it blooms profusely and continuously for the next season.
Other breeding methods
If lemon balm is already growing on the site, you can expand the “plantation” of fragrant grass by such methods:
- Adult plant division - the most powerful bush, which has reached the age of 3-5 years, is dug out, shakes off the roots from the ground, after which it is divided into several parts. An important condition is that every new plant should have several young shoots with buds. Delenki are seated in shallow wells and watered abundantly. The best time for the procedure is mid-spring or late summer.
- Layering - several young shoots with a length of 10-15 cm are bent to the ground and fixed in any convenient way. Place the contact sprinkled with a layer of soil and moisturize abundantly. After 2-3 weeks, when the layers are rooted, they are cut off from the mother bush with a sharp knife or shears and planted in a permanent place.
- Root cuttings - not the most popular, but effective way. Before the beginning of the growing season, an adult lemon balm bush is dug. With a sharp knife, cut several lengths of roots about 10 cm long, which are placed in moist soil. After planting on root cuttings, adventitious buds are actively developing, due to which young growth appears after a few weeks. The mother bush is planted in the same place where it will continue to grow.
Many gardeners mistakenly believe that after planting lemon balm can grow like a weed without needing care. However, undemanding culture for well-being still needs a few basic activities:
- Timely and competent watering - in the heat of Melissa watered every two days, in cool cloudy weather - twice a week. Stagnation of excessive moisture leads to rotting of the roots, so overwetting should be avoided.
- A one-time feeding - every spring at the beginning of the growing season, a bucket of a mullein solution with nitrogen fertilizer is added to each bush at the beginning of the growing season. In the future, to maintain the nutritional value of the soil and preserve moisture, the root zone of the plants is mulched with humus or old peat.
- Every 3-5 years, the bushes rejuvenate by dividing, otherwise the leaves of Melissa grow coarse and shallow, and the yield of the plant gradually decreases.
- In order to protect melissa from winter freezing, at the end of autumn it is highly spud, preliminarily cutting off the aerial part, after which it is covered with a layer of fallen leaves.
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With proper care, lemon balm actively increases the vegetative mass and blooms profusely.
Harvesting and storage
Flowering lemon balm comes closer to mid-June. White, lilac or pink flowers that attract pollinating insects bloom in the leaf axils - another reason to plant lemon balm near fruit crops.
The leaves are cut to flowering or at its beginning. From one bush the harvest of fresh greens can be harvested up to 3 times per season. Drying lemon balm is recommended in the shade, spreading the leaves in a thin layer. In order for dried herbs not to lose their flavor, it is recommended to store them in tightly closed glass or tin dishes. In this case, the seasonal harvest of fragrant grass is enough for the entire long autumn-winter period.
How to grow lemon balm at the dacha: where to plant, care
The gentle lemon scent of this plant captivated even the bees who harvested clear, fragrant honey from the nectar of light purple lemon balm flowers. Therefore, the people are popular names medovka, apiary, mother liquor.
And the naming habitual to us literally means “honey bee” in Greek.
In addition to the wonderful aroma, lemon balm has soothing and anti-inflammatory properties, adds a piquant citrus note when cooking, is widely used in cosmetology.
Perennial branched bushes of lemon balm 40-120 cm tall with white, yellow or pinkish flowers will please not one year, and the benefits of adding fragrant leaves for food and decoctions will serve as a worthy reward for the efforts spent on growing this unpretentious plant.
Lemon balm, or medicinal, is the only variety growing in our climate, so you should be wary of imported seeds: despite their high quality, domestic products are still more adapted to our natural conditions. Buying seeds is best in a specialty store where you can be given advice on choosing a manufacturer and recommendations for growing and caring specifically in your area.