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Bee balm is a fragrant, brightly-colored native wildflower that is very easy to grow. Ranging from New England to Minnesota south to Georgia, bee balm is mostly common in the Appalachian region.
Bee balm grows to 48 inches tall, followed by bright red flower heads that look like an exploding firework. The leaves of the plant are very aromatic, with a strong Bergamot Orange scent.
Bee balm is a plant for moist soils in areas that receive cool summers. In hotter areas, it is typically found in wooded areas; in the North, it can be found in open meadows. The flowers attract hummingbirds and especially bees, hence the common name.
Another common name of bee balm is Oswego Tea - The leaves were used by the colonists to use as tea after the tea act that precipitated in the Boston Tea Party.
Bee Balm is a very useful garden perennial. It blooms over several weeks, and can be encouraged to bloom again if pruned back quickly after blooming. The typical strain grows to 48 inches tall, though form varies by seed strain.
Bee balm is very susceptible to powdery mildew, especially in hot, dry weather - The best remedy is proper siting in an area with moist soils and some afternoon shade.
Bee balm supports several species of moths, and it is deer and rabbit resistant - They don't like to eat the aromatic leaves.
Bee balm is adaptable and vigorous, as long as its need for a moist soil that doesn't dry out is met. We have a big patch of bee balm behind the nursery along the creek floodplain - The dieout of ash has opened the woods to let a lot more sunlight in, and the bee balm has reacted very well to the moist soil and sun.
Space bee balm 30 inches apart in loose, loamy soil and water well in times of drought. The plants can be cut back to the ground after flowering, and this is often the best way to prevent powdery mildew if you don't mind a temporary gap in your landscape.
|Common Name:||Bee Balm|
|Botanical Name:||Monarda didyma|
|USDA Hardiness Zones:||4-9|
|Habit:||Upright Clump with Globe-Shaped Flowers; Slowly Spreading|
|Light Exposure:||Full Sun to Shade, Forest Clearings & Moist Meadows|
|Soil Moisture:||Moist to Average|
|Soil Texture:||Clay Loam to Silt Loam|
|Soil PH:||Neutral to Slightly Acidic|
|Landscape Uses:||Accent Plant, Mass Planting|
|Benefits:||Colorful, Fragrant, Attracts Butterflies, Deer Resistant, Rabbit Resistant|
|Ecological Function:||Nectar and Pollen, Larval Food Source|