Lemon Balm, Quedlinburger Niederliegende (Organic)
Melissa officinalis. Perennial in zones 4-9.
Living in the Northwest we have always wished we could grow citrus. You could try to grow lemons in a greenhouse or you could simply throw this lemon balm all around your garden. A strong lemon balm tea is a great substitute for lemon juice in many recipes. Quedlinburger Niederliegende is higher in essential oil content than common lemon balm, and is very productive as well. Lemon balm tea, when sweetened with honey, is used medicinally to help with stress, indigestion, and headaches. We have also used it when brewing mead (honey wine) with great success. This easy-to-grow perennial belongs in every garden. You may have noticed that we love strange names, and to translate/ contextualize this tongue twister of a name is a delight. Quedlinburg is a town located in Germany, north of the Harz mountains, in Saxony-Anhalt. “Niederliegende” translates from German as procumbent, which is a botanical adjective meaning, “growing along the ground without setting forth roots.” This is interesting as we’ve observed this variety to be more upright than others.
Best started indoors and transplanted into the garden in spring, after danger of frost. Sow shallowly in soil mix, as germination is dependent on light. Plant into the garden at 12-24 inch spacing, when plants have a few true leaves. Prefers full sun to part shade.
Self-seeding perennial that dies back in winter and re-sprouts in spring. Also spreads vegetatively. Cut seed heads before seed has shattered then spread on a tarp to allow to dry / after-ripen for a few days. Thresh by hand or by dancing, winnow and screen to clean.