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Bee balm care

Bee balm care

Bee balm care

Best planted in the spring or fall, bee balm plants will produce clusters of scarlet, pink, or purple tubular flowers in mid to late summer. The distinctive "spiky hairdo" blooms are among their chief selling points, along with the plants' ability to attract a variety of wildlife to the garden landscape (among them, bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds). Plus, if you're looking for a pick that imparts long-lasting color to your garden, bee balm may just be it—the plants are ​long-blooming perennials that grow quickly and can reach up to three feet or more in height.

Balm

In addition to the bee balm's employment for aesthetic purposes in the landscape, it is also an edible herb. Its flowers are used to garnish and flavor salads and other dishes, and it can be dried and used to make a spicy-sweet herbal tea. Medicinally, it can also be used to treat rashes and other skin irritations and can be made into a balm to treat bee stings (thus the primary common name). Hummingbirds and butterflies also like red bee balm, and it is commonly grown to attract bees, which help pollinate other nearby plants.Thought bee balm can handle partial shade, it will thrive best if it receives at least six hours of full sun daily. Too much shade is known to make the plant leggy over time, and can often reduce the number or vibrancy of its blooms. However, bee balm plants grown in hotter climates can sustain a bit more shade than is typical.

In order for your bee balm to thrive, you should plant it in soil that is rich, moist, and has a pH level of 6.0 to 7.0. If necessary, poor soil can be amended with compost or manure to enrich it, loosen it up, and make it more amenable to growing bee balm. You can also add a layer of mulch atop your soil to ensure the shallow-rooted plant stays moist and doesn't choke itself out.Bee balm is susceptible to powdery mildew (a fungus that thrives in wet conditions), especially in late summer, when rain and humidity team together and can cause issues for the dense plants. If your plants succumb to powdery mildew after you have enjoyed the flowers for a while, it may be best to trim them back to the ground and properly dispose of the cut growth. Alternatively, if your bee balm plants come down with powdery mildew too early, and cutting the plants down is out of the question, try spraying with a solution that is three parts water to one part milk. (Source: www.thespruce.com)

 

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