Growing Bee Balm

How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Bee Balm

Growing Bee Balm in the Garden

Bee Balm in the Garden

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A native perennial favorite, bee balm (also called wild bergamot) is beloved in flower beds for its beautiful blooms of red, pink, purple or white, plus the fragrant foliage. Here’s how to plant and grow bee balm in your garden!

Bee balm flowers attract hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees; and the seed heads will attract birds in the fall and winter. Learn more about plants that attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

Planting

  • Bee balm can be planted in the spring or in the fall.
  • Bee balm thrives in full sunshine.
  • Space plants 18-24 inches apart in rich, well-draining soil.
  • Bee balm needs good air circulation, otherwise it can develop mildew on its leaves.
  • Water thoroughly.

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Care

  • Keep soil evenly moist.
  • Add mulch around the plants to preserve the moisture in the soil and control weeds.
  • Deadhead faded blooms to encourage the plant to re-bloom in late summer.
  • After the first frost in the fall, cut stems back to about 2 inches above the soil.
  • Divide bee balm every 2 to 3 years to ensure its vigor. In the spring make small divisions of the newer roots of established plants and replant.

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Pests/Diseases

Recommended Varieties

Wit & Wisdom

  • Native Americans and early colonists used fresh or dried bee balm leaves and flowers to make tea. 
  • Bee balm is a member of the mint family. Its foliage has a mint-like aroma and is used in herbal teas, salads, and as garnishes. The flowers are also edible.

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Growing Bee Balm

Botanical Name

Monarda

Plant Type Flower
Sun Exposure Full Sun
Soil Type Loamy
Soil pH Neutral, Slightly Acidic to Neutral
Bloom Time Summer
Flower Color Pink, Purple, Red, White
Hardiness Zones 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Special Features Attracts Birds, Attracts Butterflies