Bee Balm Sun

Bee Balm Sun

Bee Balm Sun

As you'd guess from the name, bees love bee balm (Monarda didyma). These helpful garden visitors transfer pollen as they zip around the tube-shaped flowers, which are held in loose, daisy-like clusters. Bee balm plants were once used by Native Americans as a medicinal herb and early colonists who turned it into tea — and turned up those noses at the highly taxed British stuff. Monarda is a lovely, useful perennial plant for gardens or containers.

Bee Balm

To start bee balm seeds indoors, sow them in a tray of moistened seed starting mix, barely covering them, eight to 10 weeks before your last spring frost. Seal the tray in a clear plastic bag. Keep it in indirect light in a spot that stays between 60 and 70 degrees. Remove the plastic when the seeds sprout and move the tray to a bright window. When the seedlings have two sets of true leaves, thin the young bee balm plants to every 2 inches. Transplant them outside once there's no more danger of frost.A native plant to North American, bee balm is a herbaceous perennial and a member of the mint family. Though unlike some mint plants, it’s quite manageable. Bee balm plants have sturdy, square stems and ovate leaves that are delightfully aromatic, especially when crushed. The plants have a mounding habit and, depending on the cultivar, can grow up to 4 ft. tall. Some new varieties, though, are more compact and only grow up to 12 inches tall.

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.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)


Members of the mint family (Lamiaceae), Monarda didyma (Bee Balm) and Monarda fistulosa (Wild Bergamot) are the most commonly cultivated of the 16 species native to North America. Monarda didyma produces scarlet-red flowers collared by red-tinged bracts, whereas Monarda fistulosa features light lavender to pinkish-white flowers surrounded by bracts that are often tinted with pink. Both species have tall, sturdy square stems and a spreading habit. They gave way to many cultivars and hybrids, which come in a wide array of colors including brilliant shades of red, violet, purple, pink and white.

The native species and most older bee balm cultivars grow 2 to 4 feet tall. However, a number of dwarf cultivars have been introduced in recent years. 'Petite Wonder' (pink flowers) and 'Petite Delight' (rose pink flowers) grow 10 and 15 inches tall, respectively. 'Pardon My Pink' (pink flowers), 'Pardon My Lavender' (pinkish purple flowers), 'Pardon My Purple' (fuchsia-purple flowers), and 'Pardon My Cerise (pinkish red flowers) grow 10 to 12 inches tall. Intermediate-sized cultivars include 'Grand Parade' (lavender purple flowers, 13 to 16 inches tall), 'Grand Mum' (mauve pink flowers, 15 to 18 inches tall), and 'Grand Marshall' (fuchsia-purple flowers, 14 to 20 inches tall). All of the aforementioned dwarf cultivars possess good resistance to powdery mildew. (Source: hortnews.extension.iastate.edu)



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