Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Balm
Melittis melissophyllum

Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Melittis (mel-IT-iss) (Info)
Species: melissophyllum (mel-iss-oh-FIL-um) (Info)

One vendor has this plant for sale.

10 members have or want this plant for trade.


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Partial to Full Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Flowers are fragrant

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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By Gerris2
Thumbnail #1 of Melittis melissophyllum by Gerris2

By Baa
Thumbnail #2 of Melittis melissophyllum by Baa

By Baa
Thumbnail #3 of Melittis melissophyllum by Baa

By Samtpfote
Thumbnail #4 of Melittis melissophyllum by Samtpfote


2 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive sladeofsky On Jan 10, 2015, sladeofsky from Louisville, KY (Zone 6b) wrote:

The best thing about Melittis, or Bastard Balm as it is commonly called, is that it grows in dry shade and is resistant to heat and drought once established. It's leaves are nicely scented, a mild minty citrus sort of smell, when crushed or bruised.
NOTE: this plant was once believed to be only hardy to zone 7, probably because of its natural range. However it is hardy to at least zone 6 and has been growing in Chicago (zone 5) for several years.

Positive Samtpfote On Jun 4, 2010, Samtpfote from Gresham, OR (Zone 8a) wrote:

I bought this plant under the name Melittis Velvet last spring. The leaves are covered with fine hair. Mine gets the morning sun only and it trives. It has gotten so tall that I had to dig out my Columbine and plant it somewhere else because it did not get any sun anymore. There are also multiple little offsprings growing around the plant now. The only negative I have to say is that after heavy rain or strong wind the plant is going to bend down. I had to put a ring around it to keep it in place.

Neutral Baa On Aug 31, 2001, Baa wrote:

This is from all over Europe and the Ukraine. It is typical of the dead nettle family, it has oval shaped dark green leaves with scalloped edges, which smell distinctly of honey. They retain this scent for a long time after being picked. The flowers are 2 lipped white, pink, purple, or white with a pink lower lip carried in whorls around the square stems.

A plant from woodland areas, appreciates a woodland setting and is remarkably hardy when established, tolerating some very dry conditions in summer. To keep it in top condition it prefers well drained, fertile soils in partial shade.

Very attractive to bees. Flowers May-July
Its common name may be seen as offensive so I've left it out.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Wilmington, Delaware
Louisville, Kentucky
Gresham, Oregon

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