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Old 09-16-2008, 05:09 PM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2008
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Zone 4 and herbs

Hello-
I live in S. Central Wisconsin and have lemon balm planted among my vegetable plants. It is just now doing quite well and branching out. Has anyone been able to keep this herb(Lemon Balm) year after year? It is the best smell, next to basil, and so relaxing to have in the yard.

Thanks-Mary

P.S. We are going to have smells to transfer over the internet one of these days, right?

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Old 09-22-2008, 01:59 AM   #2
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I live in NW IL (I can spit and hit WI). The lemon balm in my garden is like mint (I think they're related), it comes back every year. Even after last (harsh) winter, mint, lemon balm, sage, all come back. Sometimes thyme does (sometimes not, didn't last year except for the creeping variety). Dill volunteers ... just let it go to seed and you'll have some next year. Parsley is biennial, meaning that it depends on how old the plant is, it will liive a couple of years sometimes. I'm not sure if my coriander/cilantro came back or if it volunteered this spring, but it has never done so before. Basil, though, is a wimp, can't take anything close to a frost. I've had oregano come back, but every year with less flavor.
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Old 09-22-2008, 02:10 AM   #3
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Oh, dear. P.S. If you can find it next year, "pineapple sage" (grew it for the first time this year) puts out a little red flower that I'm delighted with. It attracts hummingbirds and butterflies. It is edible, but not as good (to me) as my regular sage. But I'd grow it just to watch the hummingbirds and butterflies flock to my herb garden.
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Old 09-22-2008, 04:31 AM   #4
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Thanks, Claire-

My herbs are such soothing scents in the summer and that is usually the first place I go when outside. Gotta get a fix of the smell of basil, marjoram, sage and the many others. I did find out that the plant in question is lemon verbena. I was out yesterday and not too far away from this lemon plant is my bee balm. Now, I see where lemon and bee balm are related. The verbena is another story, gotta find out if it will last if I mulch real good!
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Old 09-22-2008, 09:33 AM   #5
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Marymwg - unfortunately Lemon Verbena will definitely not survive your Zone 4 winter, no matter how much mulch you use. If you have a suitable warm extremely sunny (as in southern exposure) spot indoors, you might be able to pot it up & winter it over inside, but make sure you do so before the first frost to give it time to acclimate. If you don't have a spot indoors, plan on buying a new plant next spring & treat it as an annual. Same goes for Pineapple Sage if you ever decide to grow it.

Lemon Balm, however, is nearly impossible to kill, regardless of where you live. Zone 4 definitely will not be a problem for that, if you ever decided to give it a try. It also reseeds heavily, so either keep the flowers clipped off before it sets seed, or keep your eyes open for lots of volunteer seedlings that may take root where you may not want them. In my opinion, though, Lemon Balm definitely does not smell as sweet &/or lemony as Lemon Verbena. In fact, I call it the "Lemon Pledge Plant", because to me that's exactly what it smells like - lemon-scented furniture polish.
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