The way to Plant and Take care of Bee Balm

Bee balm, a Native American plant with engaging scarlet flowers with sq. stems, might be grown as a decorative flower, landscaping plant, and pollinator attractor in an space that will get no less than 6 hours of solar a day.

Not solely is bee balm an incredible plant for pollinators like bees and hummingbirds, however it’s mentioned to guard towards evil and sickness. To your backyard to flourish like mine did after I started planting bee balm, it’s important to know the right steps to plant and look after the plant.

The Historical past of Bee Balm

Bee balm has been identified in its wild kind for lots of of years and has collected fairly a number of widespread names, together with horsemint, bergamot, and Oswego tea. It offers 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 latest.

Bee balm was generally utilized by Native Individuals 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 equivalent to that of bergamot, the citrus fruit that offers Earl Gray tea its signature taste. Early European colonists additionally used bee balm when black tea provides have been scarce, a apply that took off after the Boston Tea Celebration.

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.

LEFT Violet Queen, a mildew-resistant bee balm

RIGHT Wild Bergamot, a regular kind of bee balm

Forms of Bee Balm

There are lots of commercially out there kinds of bee balm to select from. In fact, varieties that includes a spectrum of blossom colours might be discovered inside every class. The three most typical are:

  • Customary—These bee balm vegetation can develop as much as 5 toes tall, making them the proper alternative for these areas of your pollinator backyard that will profit from fuller foliage and a little bit of top.I take advantage of commonplace 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 totally mature. Petite Delight, Grand Marshall, and Fireball are glorious selections 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. Nevertheless, it’s doable to pick mildew-resistant varieties, akin to Marshall’s Delight, Violet Queen, Jacob Cline, Purple Rooster, and Gardenview Scarlet. These are significantly good choices for gardeners residing 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 slightly afternoon partial shade. Bee balm does finest in moist soil that’s impartial or barely acidic when it comes to pH, and it requires moist, well-drained wealthy soil to remain wholesome. Remember the fact that, like mint, bee balm’s pink flowers and purple flowers unfold, so be considerate in deciding on a location.

The way to Plant Bee Balm

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

You too can transplant bee balm vegetation from a buddy’s backyard or buy seedlings from an area nursery. There are particular steps to comply with when planting bee balm, which helped me after I determined so as to add it to my cottage backyard.

Comply with these steps to begin your personal 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 needs to be lined simply barely or by no means. 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 recurrently till your native frost-free date has handed.
  3. “Harden off” your bee balm seedlings over a number of days by taking them outdoor for a number of hours every day (a location with dappled daylight is finest) after which returning them indoors. This offers the vegetation time to adequately acclimate to outside temperatures earlier than their huge 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 needs to 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 opening with soil, gently tamping down the soil across the base of the plant.
  7. Water completely, no less than as soon as each 7 to 10 days.
  8. Area bee balm vegetation 12–24 inches aside (make sure you verify your chosen varieties for particular spacing necessities).


Whereas this wildflower is generallt low-maintenance, generally the flowers don’t thrive. In case your bee balm isn’t experiencing new development, there may very well be a variety of the reason why it isn’t blooming. It may very well be because of:

  • Local weather
  • Poor soil well being
  • Improper solar
  • Overfertilization
  • Pests and illness
  • Outdated 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 may be affecting the event of the plant. Bee balm is drought-tolerant, however does finest whether it is watered about as soon as per week.

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

When you can doubtless determine most of those points, a calcium deficiency might be troublesome to find out. You’ll be able to inform that your bee balm might need a calcium deficiency whether it is sluggish rising. To assist it grow to be 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 in your bee balm vegetation and be sure that they thrive for years to come back.

  • By means of the early spring and late summer time, completely water your bee balm vegetation as soon as per 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.
  • Lower 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 scale back the unfold of powdery mildew.  
  • Take away lifeless foliage to cut back the unfold of illness.
  • High-dress with compost or fertilizer every year.
  • Mulching will help defend the bee balm by holding the soil moist and stopping weeds.
  • Keep away from planting phlox subsequent to bee balm, is it might unfold a fungus.

The way 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 might additionally develop partly shade. The soil needs to 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 time.

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 changing 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 gorgeous aesthetics can improve any backyard, its fragrant properties and medicinal makes use of proceed to be celebrated.

Accessible in many varieties and sizes, from commonplace to dwarf and mildew-resistant, bee balm presents choices for each gardener. When planted with care and a spotlight to its distinctive wants, bee balm can flourish, entice pollinators, and pervade gardens with a little bit of historical past, magnificence, and performance.

Should you’re in search of a plant that embodies a mix of previous and current, aesthetic and practicality, bee balm would be the excellent addition to your backyard.

Article Updates

September 12, 2023

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

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