- botanical name: Monarda didyma
- perennial zones 4-11
- height 36-48″
- spacing 6-12″ apart, in rows 12″ apart
- full sun tolerant
- average soil
- uses in garden: cut flower, drought tolerant, fragrant
- uses: edible flowers and mint scented leaves, used in teas
- attracts butterflies and hummingbirds
Bee Balm is popular in perennial flower gardens for its profuse, bee-enticing blooms in June and July. Beautiful mix of colors from scarlet, salmon, red and pink. Flowers are edible and the mint-scented leaves are used in teas to give the popular ‘Earl Grey’ or Bergamot flavor. The aerial parts of the flowers contain antibiotic-antiseptic compounds. Leaves and blooms are used in infusions to improve digestion.
Bee Balm (Monarda) and Bergamot may be sown from early spring up until 8 weeks before the last frost in the fall. Monarda is very susceptible to powdery mildew, which is exacerbated by humidity and any kind of plant stress (even drought). To reduce the tendency to mildew – keep the soil moist, minimizing overhead watering, space plants far enough apart to allow for good air circulation between plants; remove diseased foliage to prevent the fungus from over wintering and divide the plant every three years or so, discarding the old center growth and replanting new side shoots.
Indoors (recommended planting method) – sow the tiny seeds in flats, barely covering the seeds. Seeds germinate best at 60-70 degrees F. 7-14 days to germination. Can be transplanted to individual containers when the seedlings have their first true leaves. Transplant outside in spring or summer 6-8 weeks after starting, spacing plants 12″ apart.
Outdoors – May be direct seeded or sown in a cold frame to be transplanted when they ready a height of 3-4″ sow about one seed per inch in rows 18″ apart. Thin to 6-12″ apart.