Home Improvement

Find out how to Plant and Take care of Bee Balm

Bee balm, a Native American plant with enticing scarlet flowers with sq. stems, might be grown as a decorative flower, landscaping plant, and pollinator attractor in an space that will get at the least 6 hours of solar a day.

Not solely is bee balm an excellent plant for pollinators like bees and hummingbirds, however it’s stated to guard towards evil and sickness. On your backyard to flourish like mine did once I started planting bee balm, it’s important to know the right steps to plant and take care of the plant.

The Historical past of Bee Balm

Bee balm has been recognized in its wild kind for a whole lot of years and has collected fairly just a few frequent names, together with horsemint, bergamot, and Oswego tea. It provides off the scent of oregano when cooked.

This indigenous plant of North America was first given its formal title, Monarda, in 1571. Regardless of its lengthy historical past, bee balm’s use as a real backyard plant is rather more current.

Bee balm was generally utilized by Native People as a medicinal herb to deal with a variety of illnesses, together with colds and bee stings, as a herb in cooking, and as a tea. Bee balm’s pleasing, spicy aroma is nearly an identical to that of bergamot, the citrus fruit that provides Earl Gray tea its signature taste. Early European colonists additionally used bee balm when black tea provides had been scarce, a observe that took off after the Boston Tea Social gathering.

With vibrant flower colours of raspberry wine, purple, pink, and purple flowers, bee balm remains to be used medicinally by many herbalists and is loved as a aromatic addition to flower gardens, herb gardens, and butterfly gardens.

Violet Queen Bee Balm.jpg.optimal
Wild Bergamot.jpg.optimal

LEFT Violet Queen, a mildew-resistant bee balm

RIGHT Wild Bergamot, an ordinary sort of bee balm

Forms of Bee Balm

There are various commercially accessible kinds of bee balm to select from. After all, varieties that includes a spectrum of blossom colours might be discovered inside every class. The three commonest are:

  • Customary—These bee balm vegetation can develop as much as 5 ft tall, making them the right alternative for these areas of your pollinator backyard that might profit from fuller foliage and a little bit of peak.I exploit customary bee balm in my backyard. Customary varieties embody Cambridge Scarlet (Monarda Didyma), Blue Stocking, Panorama Combine, and Wild Bergamot (Monarda Fistulosa).
  • Dwarfed—Bred for his or her compact profile, averaging 10–24 inches tall when absolutely mature. Petite Delight, Grand Marshall, and Fireball are wonderful decisions for container gardens.
  • Mildew-resistant— The one draw back to bee balm is its susceptibility to powdery mildew, particularly when grown in heat, humid climates. Nonetheless, it’s doable to pick mildew-resistant varieties, equivalent to Marshall’s Delight, Violet Queen, Jacob Cline, Purple Rooster, and Gardenview Scarlet. These are significantly good choices for gardeners dwelling within the south.

The place to Plant Bee Balm

Bee balm, a member of the mint household and an herbaceous perennial, might be efficiently grown as a perennial in most temperate climates (USDA plant hardiness zones 3-9). Bee balm prefers full solar, however in hotter areas it might assist to situate your vegetation in a location that receives a bit afternoon partial shade. Bee balm does finest in moist soil that’s impartial or barely acidic by way of pH, and it requires moist, well-drained wealthy soil to remain wholesome. Understand that, like mint, bee balm’s pink flowers and purple flowers unfold, so be considerate in deciding on a location.

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Find out how to Plant Bee Balm

Bee balm, whoch does finest with companion vegetation, might be direct-seeded into your backyard, however most seed distributors advocate beginning the plant indoors and transplanting the seedlings.

You may also transplant bee balm vegetation from a pal’s backyard or buy seedlings from a neighborhood nursery. There are particular steps to comply with when planting bee balm, which helped me once I determined so as to add it to my cottage backyard.

Comply with these steps to start out your individual bee balm seeds indoors and plant the seedlings in your backyard:

  1. Starting 6–8 weeks earlier than your native frost-free date, sow bee balm seeds in small pots or seed trays, urgent them gently into the potting soil. Bee balm requires some mild to germinate, so the seeds must be coated simply barely or in no way. Place the seeded pots or trays in a heat and sunny indoor spot, ensuring to maintain the potting soil evenly moist, till the seeds germinate.
  2. As soon as the seeds have germinated, proceed watering the vegetation repeatedly till your native frost-free date has handed.
  3. “Harden off” your bee balm seedlings over just a few days by taking them outside for just a few hours every day (a location with dappled daylight is finest) after which returning them indoors. This provides the vegetation time to adequately acclimate to out of doors temperatures earlier than their massive transfer to the backyard.
  4. Select a location in your yard or backyard that will get both full solar or full morning solar with afternoon shade. The soil must be fertile, impartial, or barely acidic, and well-drained.
  5. Utilizing a spade, dig a gap that’s massive sufficient to accommodate the seedling’s root ball and a few or all the potting soil.
  6. Place the bee balm seedling within the gap and refill the outlet with soil, gently tamping down the soil across the base of the plant.
  7. Water completely, at the least as soon as each 7 to 10 days.
  8. House bee balm vegetation 12–24 inches aside (make sure to test your chosen varieties for particular spacing necessities).
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Whereas this wildflower is generallt low-maintenance, generally the flowers don’t thrive. In case your bee balm isn’t experiencing new progress, there may very well be quite a lot of the reason why it isn’t blooming. It may very well be resulting from:

  • Local weather
  • Poor soil well being
  • Improper solar
  • Overfertilization
  • Pests and illness
  • Previous age and overcrowding
  • Nutrient deficiency
  • Improper water

In case your bee balm simply isn’t blooming, you need to look into a few of these causes that is likely to be affecting the event of the plant. Bee balm is drought-tolerant, however does finest whether it is watered about as soon as every week.

Your bee balm might additionally develop a fungal illness, like powdery mildew, the place it develops white and powdery trying spots or patches on its leaves and stems. Nonetheless, the plant is often deer-resistant and is most profitable in flower beds.

When you can seemingly determine most of those points, a calcium deficiency might be troublesome to find out. You may inform that your bee balm might need a calcium deficiency whether it is gradual rising. To assist it change into wholesome once more, amend the soil with a supply of calcium each 2 to three years.

Bee Balm Care

Take the next steps to care on your bee balm vegetation and make sure that they thrive for years to come back.

  • Via the early spring and late summer season, completely water your bee balm vegetation as soon as every week until you get ample rain (an inch or extra per week).
  • Clip off lifeless bee balm flowers to encourage a second spherical of blooms later within the rising season.
  • Minimize flowers again to just some inches within the fall.
  • Deadheading your bee balms helps enhance good air circulation, which prevents fungus.
  • Divide the vegetation each three years within the fall to keep up hardiness and cut back the unfold of powdery mildew.  
  • Take away lifeless foliage to scale back the unfold of illness.
  • High-dress with compost or fertilizer yearly.
  • Mulching will help defend the bee balm by maintaining the soil moist and stopping weeds.
  • Keep away from planting phlox subsequent to bee balm, is it may unfold a fungus.

Find out how to Plant and Take care of Bee Balm: FAQs

The place is one of the best place to plant bee balm?

The perfect place to plant bee balm is in a full solar space, however it may additionally develop partially shade. The soil must be wealthy to encourage the plant to develop tall and powerful.

Does bee balm develop again yearly?

Sure, bee balm vegetation come again and multiply yearly. The plant tends to bloom in late July and continues to bloom all through the late summer season.

Is bee balm ever invasive?

Bee balm might be invasive to backyard areas as a result of it simply multiplies and spreads. The perfect factor you are able to do to keep away from it turning into invasive is to dig and divide the balms each 2 to three years.


In conclusion, bee balm is taken into account a significant factor to your backyard. Whereas its beautiful aesthetics can improve any backyard, its fragrant properties and medicinal makes use of proceed to be celebrated.

Out there in many varieties and sizes, from customary to dwarf and mildew-resistant, bee balm affords choices for each gardener. When planted with care and a focus to its distinctive wants, bee balm can flourish, appeal to pollinators, and pervade gardens with a little bit of historical past, magnificence, and performance.

In the event you’re searching for a plant that embodies a mix of previous and current, aesthetic and practicality, bee balm stands out as the good addition to your backyard.

Article Updates

September 12, 2023

Reviewed for accuracy, price knowledge, business finest practices, and skilled recommendation by Coty Perry.

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