Bastard Balm Melittis melissophyllum 'Royal Velvet Distinction' (PBR)

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
bastard balm 'Royal Velvet Distinction'


The plant known commonly as the 'Bastard Balm' has the cultivar name 'Royal Velvet Distinction'. It presents a luxurious and eye-catching appearance, owing to its attractive foliage and flowers. The leaves exude a rich, velvety texture and are typically deep green, which creates a lush backdrop for the flowers. These blooms boast an appealing two-tone color scheme, generally with the upper petals being a soft, pale pink or near white, and the lower petals shaded in a deeper pink to purplish hue. The flowers are adorned with prominent veins and a spotted throat that adds detail and depth to their visual appeal. Each flower consists of an elegant trumpet shape that entices various pollinators, adding to the plant's charm. 'Bastard Balm' emits a subtle aroma that might remind one of a gentle blend of lemon and mint, contributing to its sensory allure. Overall, 'Royal Velvet Distinction' is characterized by its showy flowers and sumptuous leaves, creating an ornamental presence in any garden setting.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Synonyms

      Bastard Balm, Lemon Balm.

    • Common names

      Melittis melissophyllum 'Royal Velvet Distinction' (PBR).

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The plant commonly known as Bastard Balm is not widely recognized for its toxicity to humans. There is limited information available on the specific cultivar Melittis melissophyllum 'Royal Velvet Distinction' with regard to its toxicity. However, Bastard Balm in general does not typically appear on lists of poisonous plants, suggesting that it is not known to cause serious harm to humans. Nevertheless, it is always advisable to exercise caution and avoid ingesting plants that are not clearly identified as safe for consumption, as individual reactions can vary. Ingesting parts of unknown plants can sometimes cause adverse reactions, including gastrointestinal discomfort or allergic responses.

    • To pets

      Bastard Balm, scientifically referred to as Melittis melissophyllum, does not have a well-documented history of toxicity in pets. There is no specific information suggesting that the 'Royal Velvet Distinction' cultivar is toxic to pets. However, as with humans, it is best to keep pets from ingesting plants that are not guaranteed to be safe, as they may have individual sensitivities or allergies. If a pet were to ingest part of a Bastard Balm plant and show signs of distress such as vomiting, diarrhea, or unusual behavior, it would be wise to consult a veterinarian.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      1-2 feet (30-60 cm)

    • Spread

      1-2 feet (30-60 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Aesthetic Appeal: Melittis melissophyllum 'Royal Velvet Distinction', commonly known as Bastard Balm, has striking deep purple flowers with white accents, which add visual interest to gardens and landscapes.
    • Attracts Pollinators: The vibrant flowers are a rich nectar source that attracts bees, butterflies, and other beneficial pollinators to the garden.
    • Fragrance: Bastard Balm gives off a pleasant scent that can contribute to a fragrant garden atmosphere.
    • Shade Tolerance: This plant fits well in semi-shaded areas where other plants may not thrive, providing opportunities for garden design under tree canopies or in darker garden corners.
    • Drought Resistance: Once established, Bastard Balm exhibits some drought tolerance, reducing the need for frequent watering and making it suitable for drier climates or water-conserving gardens.
    • Seasonal Interest: With its showy flowers blooming in the late spring to early summer, it offers a seasonal focal point in the garden during this time.
    • Low Maintenance: Bastard Balm does not require extensive care, making it a good choice for gardeners of all skill levels, including beginners.
    • Rabbit Resistance: The plant is relatively resistant to rabbits, making it an appropriate choice for areas where rabbits are a common nuisance.
    • Edging Plant: Its compact size and attractive foliage make it a good choice for edging in gardens or along pathways.
    • Traditional Uses: While excluding medical properties, it's worth noting that historically, Bastard Balm has been used in various traditional practices, which adds a historical and educational element to its presence in gardens.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Melittis melissophyllum, commonly known as Bastard Balm, can serve as a natural dye for fabrics, offering a range of hues depending on the mordant used.
    • The crushed leaves of the Bastard Balm may be rubbed onto wooden furniture, giving off a pleasant lemony scent and potentially deterring insects.
    • The plant's nectar-rich flowers can be used as natural decorations on cakes or desserts, adding a unique visual appeal without altering the taste significantly.
    • As a companion plant, Bastard Balm might benefit adjacent plants by attracting beneficial insects such as bees and butterflies to the garden.
    • Bastard Balm can be planted in outdoor pet areas, as its strong scent can mask pet odors and create a more pleasant environment.
    • When dried, the aromatic leaves of Bastard Balm can be used to make fragrant sachets for drawers or closets.
    • The petals of Bastard Balm could potentially be used in paper making to add a decorative botanical element to the final product.
    • As an educational tool, Bastard Balm can be used in schools and workshops to study pollinator-plant interactions and the importance of native flora.
    • Bastard Balm may be used in natural landscaping to stabilize soil and prevent erosion due to its lush growth habit.
    • The flowers could be employed in craft projects such as flower pressing, where their distinct shape and color can add elegance to the artwork.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The plant Bastard Balm is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The plant Bastard Balm is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Charming Beauty: Melittis melissophyllum, commonly known as Bastard Balm, has delicate, velvety flowers that are associated with understated elegance and allure.
    • Healing: Historically, Bastard Balm was used in herbal medicine to treat various ailments, symbolizing the plant's connection to healing and soothing properties.
    • Protection: In some cultures, plants with aromatic leaves, such as Bastard Balm, were believed to ward off evil spirits, symbolizing protection.
    • Benevolence: With its soft, plush appearance, Bastard Balm might be seen as a symbol of kindness and gentility, representing goodwill towards others.
    • Rarity: 'Royal Velvet Distinction' is a unique cultivar, highlighting the symbolism of rarity and uniqueness, just like its distinctive appearance.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring-Early Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Bastard Balm should be watered deeply but infrequently, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between watering sessions. Generally, watering once a week is sufficient, but this may vary depending on climate and soil conditions. It's essential to avoid overwatering, as it can lead to root rot. When watering, aim for about one gallon of water per plant, ensuring that the water penetrates deeply to reach the plant’s roots. During hot, dry periods, you may need to water more frequently, while in cooler, wetter weather, you might water less often.

  • sunLight

    Bastard Balm prefers partial shade or dappled sunlight, avoiding the intense heat of the afternoon sun. The ideal spot for Bastard Balm is where it can receive morning sunlight and afternoon shade. This plant will thrive under a canopy of light trees or in a location that provides filtered sunlight throughout the day.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Bastard Balm enjoys moderate temperatures and can survive in a range between approximately 50 degrees Fahrenheit to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The ideal temperature conditions for this plant are between 60 degrees Fahrenheit and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Bastard Balm may not survive extreme cold or heat, so it should be protected from temperatures below freezing or above 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • scissorsPruning

    Bastard Balm should be pruned to remove dead or damaged foliage and to maintain its shape. Pruning is best done in early spring before new growth starts or just after the plant has flowered. Cutting back the plant by about a third after flowering can encourage a second bloom. Regular pruning helps promote healthy growth and can prevent the spread of disease.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Bastard balm thrives best in well-drained, loamy or sandy soil enriched with organic matter, with a preferred soil pH of 6.0 to 7.5. A mix of two parts garden soil, one part compost, and one part perlite or sand would be ideal to provide the necessary drainage and fertility.

  • plantRepotting

    Bastard balm should be repotted once every 2 to 3 years, or when it has outgrown its current container, to refresh the soil and allow more room for growth.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Bastard balm prefers moderate to high humidity levels, ideally between 40% to 60%. The plant can tolerate fluctuating humidity but consistently high humidity promotes healthy growth.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place in bright, indirect light with some humidity.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in dappled shade; water and mulch regularly.

    • Hardiness zone

      7-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Melittis melissophyllum 'Royal Velvet Distinction', also known as the Bastard Balm, begins its life as a seed that germinates in spring, developing roots and a small shoot that emerges from the soil. As a perennial herb, its leafy stems grow throughout the spring and summer, producing large, heart-shaped leaves and attractive flowers with a combination of white, pink and purple hues, attracting pollinators and fulfilling its reproductive phase. After pollination, the flowers develop into fruiting capsules containing seeds, which ripen and are eventually dispersed in late summer to autumn. The above-ground parts of the plant die back in autumn as it enters dormancy during winter, with energy stored in the root system. With the return of favourable conditions in spring, new growth emerges from the perennial roots, starting the cycle anew. The plant continues this cycle for several years, gradually spreading and forming larger clumps in its preferred woodland or shady garden habitat.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • The most popular method of propagating the plant known as Bastard Balm is through seed sowing. The ideal time to sow seeds of Melittis melissophyllum 'Royal Velvet Distinction' (PBR) is in autumn, just after the seeds have matured and been collected. The sowing should be done in a cold frame or similarly protected environment to facilitate germination, which can be slow and erratic. The seeds should be placed on the surface of a well-draining seed starting mix and lightly covered with soil. Maintaining a consistent moisture level and protecting the seeds from extreme temperatures helps improve germination rates. Once seedlings emerge and are large enough to handle, usually in their second spring, they should be transplanted into individual pots and grown on before being transferred to their final positions in the garden.