- Bee Balm is the perfect way to add a splash of color to your garden! This plant produces colorful tube-shaped clusters of flowers that attract nectar-seeking critters. These perennials can be added to herb or flower gardens, where their red, purple,
Bee Balm - Monarda
The Bee Balm, which is also known as Monarda, belongs to the mint family and has whorled flowers that grow in colors of lavender, pink, and red. Living up to its name, bees depend on this flower for pollination. Since the Bee Balm is perennial, the flowers reach its fullest potential the second or third year. Bee balm plants can also be grown in large groups in your yard to create a flowery field that will attract butterflies, or planted outside a window to provide a front-row view of hummingbirds, who are particularly partial to red bee balm blooms. Bee balms are native to North America and will grow well in Zones four through nine. They prefer full sun, but also tolerate part shade, especially in hot summer climates. Bee balms need to be planted in slightly acidic soil that is kept wet and has good drainage. They will grow fairly quickly throughout the summer, reaching a height of two to four feet, so bee balms should be planted one and a half to two feet apart.
Once the bee balm plant produces its first set of flowers, the blooms can be cut off. Not only can the edible flowers be used as a garnish for salads, fruit, and desserts, but this encourages a second bloom in late summer. The minty-smelling leaves can also be dried and used as a tea or in potpourri. After the first frost, the stems of these plants should be cut back to a few inches above the ground, and they will come back the next summer. Bee balm plants like to spread out over time, so every two to four years, or whenever the center of the plant starts to dry out, they should be divided up. The split plants can then be used to expand a garden, or given away as gifts. Bee balms are the perfect way to add color and life to any landscape.