Is my Lemon Plant (which is like a weed) actually Catnip?

sydproquoMay 20, 2007

I have no idea what kind of plant this is, all I know is that it smells like a lemon mint plant. I was trying to find out what it was online, but only found a lemon plant (or lemon balm) that is actually Catnip. Can anyone help me out?

I have some pictures below.

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Dibbit(z7b SC)

It looks like Lemon Balm to me. I think it's the plant you mean, and the plant you want - both it and catnip are mint family members - they both have square stems. If the leaves are strongly lemon-y, then I would say you had the desired plant. Do be careful and DON'T plant it in good, fertile soil - I had to move one to very poor clay, where it is struggling a bit, as it grew from about 6" across to over 4' in one summer.

Is there a lemon-flavored mint other than this one? I don't know of one, but then, I only grow a peppermint, this one and will try a catnip this summer, so can't claim wide experience with mints, except that you should try to keep the most of them in bounds! My peppermint is in a pot, and I just weeded 3 tendrils out of the adjacent flower bed!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2007 at 7:28PM
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They grow like crazy. They're everywhere - All over my neighbours yards and all across mine. It's a good thing I have lots of clay up here (well not for other plants, like my Hydrangea, that need good soil). Thank you for the help dibbit. I also want to know if I can make Tea with this plant. I want to make some lemon tea and I have talked to other people that have made teas from other mint plants.... Do you think I can do it with my lemon plant and have it safe?

    Bookmark   May 20, 2007 at 7:33PM
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Dibbit(z7b SC)

Yes, it's a good tea plant. Use leaves either fresh, or you can dry them for winter use. Add to iced tea, as you make the tea, they add lemon flavor without needing the lemons. Because it's a mild lemon flavor, you can mix with other teas and herbs. Chopped, they can also be infused or made into a syrup or added directly to baked goods, or to icings, etc..

I was at a brunch this morning - one of the menu offerings was whole strawberries that had sat overnight in lemon sugar and lavender syrup - delicious!! Changing the order - lavender sugar and lemon syrup might also be good, as Lemon Balm would be milder than actual lemon juice. And it might add an interesting color variation, too.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2007 at 8:46PM
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I know this plant well. It is lemon balm. If you check w/ your county it may be a noxious weed in your area. I allow some in my perennial gardens as I like to put it in tea, snip it over fruit salads, and include it in bouquets for some greenery & the scent. However, I control it by cutting it back drastically several times a summer. This keeps it bushy (it can get leggy looking). It also keeps it from flowering which is important for containment.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2007 at 11:45AM
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It smells very nice like both lemon and mint.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2008 at 11:39PM
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Definitely lemon balm.

(In my opinion, it smells nice, and it's useful as a mosquito repellent, but for food use? nope.)

    Bookmark   August 2, 2008 at 10:27AM
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Lemon Balm, like everyone else mentioned. I plant it everywhere (contained), it's one of my favorite herbs. I actually let it bloom, the smell is amazing when you have a nice breeze. The leaves will soothe mosquito bites when you rub the leaf across the area. I use it for tea and in some meat dishes.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2008 at 3:22PM
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It is not catnip. I agree with others it is lemon balm. Catnip has leaves that are a bit fuzzy.


    Bookmark   August 2, 2008 at 10:34PM
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hi im trying to find this plant can anyone help?

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 2:01PM
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I just came in from pulling some of my too-vigorous lemon balm, and our cats were all over me, licking my hands. Then one of the cats went and found his catnip toy. There must be some of the same or similar compound in the two plants, which certainly do look alike.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2010 at 9:18AM
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I grew lemon balm from seed this year. (Good to know it goes crazy like all other mints, because maybe I don't want it growing right in the ground in my herb bed.)

One of my cats kept killing one of the lemon balm plants. Drove me crazy - I kept replanting it, only to have it disappear within a day or two. Fortunately, I had a lot of them - had intended to give some as gifts. I had no idea what was getting to it. Finally one day, I caught her at it - aha! She was digging it up, rolling on it, etc.

Does anyone know if it grows well from seed? It's vigorous, but I haven't made tea from the leaves yet. It does smell great. I just know the other mints aren't that great when grown from seed.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 3:25AM
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Reading your article, I rush out to my garden as I was having the same problem - I was confused as to which is which. I have a nice lemon balm growing very well so I took a leave and then took the other one and compare. The answer, yours is a Lemon Balm. The catnip is almost similiar but when you feel it, it is abit spongy and less lemon flavour then the lemon balm.
Hope it answer your question as it has finally answered my doubt and confusion.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 7:05PM
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weedlady(Central OH 6)

I am a "johnny-come-lately" to this thread, but I agree--quite sure you have lemon balm, but there IS also lemon catnip, you know! I have grown it for use in my herbal cold relief remedy as it has the same medicinal properties but a much nicer scent. Regular catnip smells pretty skunky to me!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 1:41PM
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