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On cold winter evenings, you really want to warm yourself up with a cup of hot tea that smells of summer and herbs. And this desire is quite realizable!
By planting fragrant and healthy lemon balm in a pot on the windowsill, you will provide yourself with herbal tea, and other drinks, for the whole year.
In this article, we will tell you about the best varieties of lemon balm for home cultivation, as well as the intricacies of planting and caring for a fragrant plant.
The best varieties for growing at home
Many are interested in whether it is possible to plant a plant in a pot at home. Definitely yes. The following varieties of lemon balm are ideal for planting in a container.
The plant reaches a height of 60 centimeters, and the total mass of dark green foliage can reach 120 grams. Has a pronounced aroma, can be consumed both fresh and dry.
An upright perennial plant grows up to 70 cm, and the yield can reach 5.6 kg per bush for the entire season.
Perennial herb. Leaves are dark green, pubescent. The flowers are small, white. The height of an adult bush can reach 70 - 90 centimeters. Has a delicate lemon scent.
Perennial growing up to 50 - 60 cm in height. It has a bright taste and lemon aroma. Ideal plants for preparing tea and salads, snacks, sauces. Harvest - 4 kg per bush from the second year of growth.
The bush is compact, the foliage is golden. The flowers are white at first, then they become with a purple tint.
This spice is perfect for growing in an apartment: it will find a place for itself both on the windowsill and on the loggia or balcony (if they are heated in winter, but it can feel good even at + 5C - + 10C), if only there is enough light (the preferred direction of the windows is east, south, southwest).
The soil that lemon balm needs should be loose and nutritious.well drained. The reaction of the soil should be neutral or slightly acidic.
To plant a plant in a pot, you can purchase a universal substrate in a specialized store, or you can prepare a soil mixture yourself: mix garden soil, sand and humus in equal proportions.
For your information. To grow lemon balm seedlings, you can fill in the boxes with a substrate consisting of 1 part of humus, 1 part of earth, a handful of sand and a glass of wood ash.
Round plastic pots are ideal for growing lemon balm on a windowsill., the depth of which is 15 - 20 cm, and the volume is 1.5 - 2 liters. Prerequisites: there must be drain holes at the bottom of the pot, and the bottom of the container must first be filled with drainage (expanded clay, broken brick, fine gravel, small pebbles, etc.), which will ensure the outflow of excess liquid.
Reproduction and cultivation methods
Next, we will consider how to choose and plant seeds of a plant for growing lemon balm at home - on a windowsill or on a balcony. Seed material can be purchased in a specialized store, when choosing, preference should be given to darker seeds, as they will germinate quickly.
You can collect seeds yourself: at the beginning of September, it is necessary to cut off the stems with seeds, collect them in a bunch, drysuspended in a dry, shaded, well-ventilated area.
The dried stems are placed in a tissue bag and threshed, then the contents of the bag are sieved.
- The seeds do not need to be presoaked or germinated. For the purpose of disinfection, they can be spilled with a light pink solution of potassium permanganate before sowing.
- Drainage (1 - 3 cm) is poured into the bottom of the container, then the soil is moistened with warm water from a spray bottle.
- Lemon balm seeds must be mixed with sand and embedded shallowly into moist soil (0.5 - 1 cm).
- From above, the container should be covered with glass or tightened with plastic wrap, which can be removed with the appearance of the first shoots. Every day, the "greenhouse" must be slightly opened to ventilate and remove condensate.
- The container should be placed in a warm place (+ 20C - + 25C), providing sufficient light and systematic irrigation (once every 2 days).
- When the seedlings grow up to 3 - 5 cm and will have 3 - 4 true leaves (for 40 - 45 days), they should be dived into separate containers or simply thinned out in a common container.
Important. With the appearance of the first shoots, the amount of light must be increased by using additional light sources in the evening.
Next, you can watch a useful video on how to grow lemon balm from seeds at home:
If you managed to purchase lemon balm seedlings, then the instructions for planting it in a pot are as follows:
- A drainage layer (2 - 3 cm) should be poured into the pot, then the substrate.
- In the substrate, make a depression into which to lower the spice seedling, carefully straightening all its roots.
- All voids should be filled with soil.
- The soil must be crushed by hand, especially around the stem of the plant.
- You can plant 2 plants in one pot at once.
- The apical part of the young green shoot of lemon balm must be cut off. You can root a spice bought on the market in this way.
- Place the stalk in water.
- After the roots appear (after 1.5 - 2 weeks), the plant should be transplanted into the ground.
- At the bottom of the container, a drainage layer should be poured by 2 - 3 cm (expanded clay, broken brick, etc.), then the substrate.
- In the soil, it is necessary to make a depression, which should be the same size as the entire root system of the cutting.
- Lower the cutting into the ground, cover the resulting voids with a substrate.
- The ground around the cutting should be crushed by hand for better fixation.
- For 2 days, the container with the plant is placed in the shade.
By dividing the bush
Reference. The best time for this breeding method is early May or late August.
- Lemon balm bush over 3 years old is carefully removed from an old pot or from the ground in the country. The soil must be shaken off from the roots.
- The root plant is cut into even parts so that each part contains the same number of roots and 4 - 5 shoots.
- Places of cuts should be sprinkled with crushed activated carbon.
- Plant parts are planted in new prepared pots (drainage, substrate).
- Temperature... The optimum temperature for the spice is + 18C - + 22C. At higher rates, the thermometer requires systematic irrigation from a spray bottle.
- Watering... The spice in the pot is usually watered 3 times a week, you can irrigate with a spray bottle every day (in spring and summer) - this will help to ensure that the leaves of the plant become juicy and crispy. In winter, the plant should be switched to moderate watering - 1 - 2 times a week.
- Shine... This plant is a light-loving crop that prefers bright sun, and when grown indoors - additional lighting in winter (total daylight hours should be 8-10 hours).
- Top dressing... A herbaceous plant needs additional nutrition. Potted plants are usually fed twice a month. As fertilizers, you can use organic matter (tea, eggshell infusion, biohumus), mineral (nitrogen and potassium-phosphorus) and complex fertilizers for indoor plants ("Agrolife", "Growth", etc.).
- Pinching... In order for the bush to be branched and rich in greenery, the top of a plant with a height of 10 - 15 cm is pinched off.
- Pruning... It is necessary to cut off young shoots twice a season so that the plant directs all its forces to the development of lush foliage. For the same purpose, flowers should be removed.
- Loosening... Melissa grown on a windowsill "loves" when oxygen has free access to the roots, so it is advisable to loosen the topsoil periodically.
Diseases and pests
Waterlogging of lemon balm and moisture stagnation in its roots can cause their decay. Also, such improper care provokes damage to the plant with diseases such as powdery mildew, rust and white spot.
It is necessary, when the first symptoms of these diseases and signs of pests are detected, to adjust the irrigation scheme and send the pot to quarantine. To prevent plant death the affected plant must be treated with special preparations.
When and how to harvest?
During the growing season, the greens are cut 3-4 times with a sharp knife or scissors, starting from the tops.
Important. When lemon balm grows up to 40 - 50 cm, then it is cut off along with the stem, leaving 10 - 12 cm: new greens will grow on this "remnant".
Spice leaves contain essential oils in large quantities, the best place for drying herbs is in the shade, the optimum temperature is + 35C. After the lemon balm dries well, it is placed in an airtight container in which it is stored for a long time. It makes no sense to freeze the spice: all the beneficial properties of the herb will be lost .
Melissa is a very grateful plant: it requires minimal maintenance, but provides its owner with a supply of nutrients, a pleasant aroma and delicious gastronomic delights.