Bee Balm(Monarda didyma)
Light requirements: Full sun is ideal, but plants benefit from afternoon shade in hottest regions.
Planting: Space 18 to 24 inches apart.
Soil requirements: Plants grow best in rich, moist but well-drained soil with a pH of 6.0 to 6.7. Work organic matter into soil before planting to add fertility and improve moisture retention.
Water requirements: Keep soil consistently moist through the growing season. Add a mulch layer to slow water evaporation from soil. Water when leaves wilt in dry weather.
Frost-fighting plan: Bee balm is perennial in zones 4 to 9. Use a frost blanket to protect newly planted seedlings from late spring frosts.
Common issues: Bee balm can get powdery mildew. Protect plants from poor drainage, especially in winter.
Growing tip: Pinch plants in spring to promote branching and bushiness. Remove dead flowers after the first flush of bloom to promote a second flush of flowers.
Harvesting: Pick flowers and leaves at any point in the growing season. Pinch off individual leaves or blooms, or snip leafy stems to the length you desire. Pick flowers for drying just before they open. Flower petals (not the entire flowerhead) are edible.
Storage: Cut bee balm stems and place in water like a fresh bouquet. They’ll last for at least a week, provided you remove any leaves below the water line and change water regularly.
To save fresh leaves and flowers for mealtime, wrap them in a barely damp paper towel and tuck into a closed plastic bag or container. Store in the refrigerator. Use flowers within 2 days, leaves within 2 to 4 days. Dry for use in teas, potpourri and sachets.
For more information, visit the Bee Balm page in our How to Grow section.
- Calories: 2
- Carbohydrates: 0g
- Dietary fiber: 0g
- Sugars: 0g
- Protein: 0g
- Vitamin A: 3% DV
- Vitamin C: 2%
- Vitamin K: 0%
- Vitamin B6: 0%
- Folate: 1%
- Potassium: 1%
- Manganese: 2%
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