Balm 'Royal Velvet Distinction'

Melittis melissophyllum

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



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Partial to Full Shade



Foliage Color:



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)

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:


White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Flowers are fragrant

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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:

Unknown - Tell us

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


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Elburn, Illinois

Louisville, Kentucky

Taylorsville, Kentucky

Earleville, Maryland

Lexington, Virginia

Bellevue, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Sep 22, 2018, janelp_lee from Toronto, ON (Zone 6a) wrote:

Just bought one so I am still learning this plant. The tag of this plant I bought said it is for usda zones 5-9. I am in zone 6. I hope it can be as hardy as the tag says.


On Apr 30, 2017, Donnabeverin from Earleville, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

As of April 2017 I have my Melittis growing for its 3rd year. I grow mine in partial shade. I have it in two places to be sure I had it in the correct light. One is getting more direct sun than the other which is under a rose and late blooming lilac.
I just love this little plant. It is true like a clematis it takes a few years to settle in. Every year pops up in spring and is bigger and taller. The flowers are so beautiful. This year I am going to try to take a few cuttings. I read you must take cuttings early before the stems become hollow. I bought seeds and am trying to germinate them. If you can find it I highly recommend Melittis for total enjoyment!
It does disappear like a bleeding heart but later in the summer and do mark its space so you do not dig it up b... read more


On Jul 19, 2015, in2art from Bellevue, WA (Zone 8a) wrote:

I really like this plant, and grow it in a mixed bed with full sun here in the Pacific Northwest. This was the first year that it made any seedlings. I also collected some seed, and my online research says it should be sown fresh. So I'm going to try some. If they don't germinate, I'll leave them over the winter.


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

Hardier than listed here, to at least 6 and some sources claim throughout zone 5. It has survived in Chicago for several years. The most important aspect to this plant is that it thrives in dry shade and takes heat and drought (once established). I do, however, recommend a little pampering at first. I lost a plant via a squirrel digging right on to of it. Newly emerging plants in Spring are somewhat delicate, so having a nice robust clump is a boon to ensuring a good flower display. Another attribute of this plant is it's lemon scented leaves (when bruised or crushed.) it is monotypic, the only one of its genus.

P.S. The common name is not "balm" thousands upon thousands of plants are called one strife "balm" or another. It's real common name is "Bastard Balm." Perhaps whoev... read more