Bee balm is a perennial plant in North America that also goes by the name of Wild Bergamot. It’s typically planted for its gorgeous colors and sweet smelling flowers. If you’re looking to add some lovely shades of pink, white, purple and red in your garden, bee balm is a pretty simple plant to grow and maintain. Not to mention, it attracts some exciting wildlife. You’ll be able to sit outside or near a window to spot some hummingbirds, butterflies, bees and much more. Even in the colder weather months, the seeds of the bee balm plant will attract birds that have stuck around for the winter.
How to Plant the Bee Balm Plant
The best time for you to plant bee balm is in early spring. If you miss your opportunity, you’ll want to wait for the hot summer to subside. You can also plant in the early fall if the temperatures outside are favorable. Feel free to start bee balm by seed in your home before the optimal planting time has arrived. Make sure that you choose a spot in your yard that gets plenty of sunshine.
While partial sun is ok for growth, bee balm herb thrives in direct sun all day long. It works well with most other plants, so feel free to use it as a filler in your already established garden. Just keep in mind, it will grow to be as high as four feet tall when it’s full matured. You should also space multiple bee balm plants at least 18-inches apart from each other. Well-drained soil and proper air circulation are also needed to prevent mildew from forming on the leaves. Once you have gotten the bee balm in the ground, give it a good watering before you clean up for the day.
How to Help Your Bee Balm Plant Thrive
During that first season of growth, you’ll want to regularly water your bee balm. You don’t need to soak the earth around it, but a moderately moist soil is beneficial. You can use mulch around the bee balm to improve the look of the area, but this will also help trap moisture in the soil so you don’t have to water as often. Mulch is also helpful when it comes to preventing weeds from growing all around your garden.
When you have some free time, you can snip off the flowers that are no longer thriving. This encourages more growth to take place. When the first frost arrives, cut the dead stems back to approximately two inches above the soil level. If your bee balm herb starts to get too overgrown, you have the option to transplant some of it. It can be divided up in the springtime. Just make sure you take a healthy section of the plant with enough roots to re-establish itself in its new location.
What to Watch Out For
While bee balm thrives quite easily in many different areas of the U.S., there are a few things that you may want to watch out for. If left unaddressed, you could be faced with a dying bee balm plant. The most common thing you’ll find if you live in a humid climate is mildew on the leaves. Cut back on your watering if you notice this is going on. You can also choose a variety of bee balm that is more resistant to this mildew. This includes the M. pringlei, Marshall’s Delight and Jacob Cline.
If you feel like your bee balm isn’t doing very well and you can’t figure out why, you may want to look at the drainage of the area. Planting bee balm in a soft soil with plenty of nutrients will set you up for success. You don’t want to plant it in an area that is very dense or filled with clay.
The bee balm plant has long been used by Native Americans and the earliest colonists in the U.S. for medicinal purposes. It can be made into tea or a salve that is applied topically. It’s great in tea form if you have an upset stomach, and the flowers can even be consumed whole. You can apply it to burns, bites, skin irritation and much more.
If you don’t have a salve already prepared, you can simply rip one of the bee balm leaves and rub it on the area that you’re trying to soothe. It will reduce inflammation and promote healing. As a member of the mint family, bee balm leaves have a flavor that is similar to peppermint or spearmint. The flowers have a very soothing floral scent, and you can dry them to have around your home. If you put them in your bedroom, you’ll find that you sleep better at night. Don’t be afraid to use a few of the flowers and edible garnish during your next picnic or dinner party that you host. Your guests won’t believe that your bee balm came from your very own yard.
If you’re look for a very versatile herb plant to add to your garden, we recommend bee balm. It’s easy to find, affordable to purchase and you don’t have to have a green thumb to make it grow abundantly on your property. You’ll love how the flowers look when they bloom, and there’s nothing better than the wild visitors that you get thanks to the bee balm flowers. Having a little bit of knowledge of how to plant and grow bee balm will help you succeed with this garden choice.