Melittis is a monotypic (one species) genus in the mint family that is native to England and Wales. It produces a typical mint-like flower in the summer shaped like a small tube that flares open at the end into 3 lower and 1 upper lobes.
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Melittis flowers are honey-scented and are normally white with the lower central lobe a contrasting color of pink or purple...a landing strip of sorts for the busy bees that pollinate it. Melittis leaves, in true mint fashion, are very aromatic. Although a newly-bruised leaf does not have a pleasant scent, when dried, melittis smells sweet and pleasant like freshly cut hay.
Melittisis surprisingly tolerant of the heat and humidity of the Southeast US even though its native home is quite cool. Melittis is an 18" tall, herbaceous perennial that looks best in an informal mixed border. Part shade woodland conditions and somewhat moist soils are the preferred growing conditions for melittis. Try pairing melittis with begonia, chasmanthium, or porteranthus for a nice color and texture combination. All in all, bastard balm is a real S.O.B. (sweetly odoriferous bush) in the garden. When you are ready to buy melittis for your garden, check out our online offering of melittis for sale.