Find mixtures for your region, or for special uses such as dry areas, partial shade, attracting animals, low growing, and more. .

How to Grow Bee Balm in your Garden – Bonnie Plants

Add bee balm to flower beds or an herb garden for life and color.Try growing bee balm in view of a window so you won't miss the acrobatics of hummingbirds that visit in summer.Space bee balm plants 18 to 24 inches apart in an area with full sun and fertile, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.0 to 6.7.Improve native soil by mixing in several inches of aged compost or other rich organic matter.For prolific blooms, plant in full sun; in the South and Southwest, a little afternoon shade helps flowers last longer.For best results, start with strong, vigorous young bee balm plants from Bonnie Plants®, the company that has been helping home gardeners find success for over a century.In addition to starting with great soil, you'll want to feed your bee balm to produce excellent growth.Although it will tolerate drought, bee balm will do much better if it gets adequate moisture; however, protect it from poor drainage, especially in winter. .

Bee Balm: If You Plant It, They Will Come

" " "Prairie Night" (Monarda didyma) bee balm is a showy variety sure to attract hummingbirds and butterflies to the garden.Meet genus Monarda, aka bee balm, a member of the mint (Laminaceae) family, named in honor of the 16th century Spanish physician and botanist Nicolas Bautista Monardes.Monardes wrote some of the earliest books about the medicinal uses of America's native plants from intel gathered by early explorers who "discovered" Monarda and some of its many uses from the indigenous people who inhabited the New World.Also known as wild bergamot (for its citrusy aroma and flavor similar to Earl Grey tea) and horsemint, by the early 18th century the vigorous North American Monarda was regarded as a desirable kitchen and ornamental plant.In 1744, the American botanist John Bartram sent Monarda didyma seeds he'd collected from the gardens of settlers near Oswego, New York to England.By 1760, there was an abundance of Oswego tea (another common name for bee balm) to be found in the markets of Covent Garden." " Red bee balm (Monarda didyma) is a showstopper, a perennial flower that brings a splash of late summer color to the garden.It has the mint family's trademark square stems and opposite leaves, and blooms best in full sun but is amenable to partial shade.A perennial grown in full sun with well-drained soil, it is irresistible to many different species of bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and beneficial insects. .

Lemon Balm: Uses, Benefits, and More

The herb is native to Europe, North Africa, and West Asia, but it’s grown around the world.Lemon balm has traditionally been used to improve mood and cognitive function, but the potential benefits don’t stop there.A 2004 study found that taking lemon balm eased the negative mood effects of laboratory-induced psychological stress.Participants who took lemon balm self-reported an increased sense of calmness and reduced feelings of alertness.Participants in both groups reported positive effects on various aspects of mood, including reduced levels of anxiety.The results of these computerized tasks suggest that participants who ingested lemon balm performed better than those who didn’t.Although these participants did experience an increase in levels of alertness and performance, it’s still possible for fatigue to set in over time.The researchers found that the participants who used the lemon balm cream experienced fewer symptoms and healed faster than those who didn’t.The researchers also suggested that using lemon balm cream may help prolong the intervals between cold sore outbreaks.It may help relieve indigestion If you experience frequent abdominal pain and discomfort, lemon balm may have a positive effect on your digestion.A small study from 2010 assessed the effects of a cold dessert containing lemon balm on functional dyspepsia.How to use: Add 1 teaspoon (tsp) of lemon balm powder to a bowl of ice cream or smoothie and enjoy.A 2005 review assessing the results of several studies on lemon balm found the herb to be useful in treating gastrointestinal symptoms such as this.A 2015 study researched the effect of lemon balm in reducing the intensity of cramps in 100 high school girls.It’s also though that ingesting the herb can help to open up and relax tight blood vessels, which can contribute to headaches.How to use: If you experience recurrent headaches, you may find it beneficial take 300 to 600 mg of lemon balm up to three times per day.In addition to drawing on its relaxing properties, this home remedy is thought to target inflammation in the body.How to use: Use a cotton swab to apply lemon balm oil to the affected area as needed.allergic reaction You may be able to minimize side effects, such as stomach upset, by ingesting lemon balm alongside food.You can also reduce your risk for side effects by consuming fewer than 2 grams of lemon balm per day. .

How to Plant and Grow Bee Balm

One of my absolute favorite flowers, I look forward to the day each year when the bee balm buds open into magnificent scarlet blooms, bringing a whole crew of ravenous hummingbirds into my yard.Like many mints, it has a square stem, opposite leaves, and creeping rhizomes that spread rapidly under the soil.Perhaps the most commonly cultivated variety, M. didyma, boasts bright red tufted blossoms with tubular petals.It commonly grows to about two to four feet high, though some dwarf varieties are shorter and can make great additions to containers or borders.It is medicinal, edible, and delightfully fragrant,tasting a bit like oregano and mint, with a long history of human use.Antimicrobial and soothing to the digestive tract, herbalists often use bee balm as a remedy to treat cold and flu symptoms such as sore throats, fever, and congestion.This plant is a natural source of the phenol thymol, an antiseptic, antifungal, and antimicrobial compound also found in thyme, which is a primary active ingredient in modern commercial mouthwash formulas.A strong infusion can be used as a gargle for soothing sore throats, toothaches, and mouth sores.It is also commonly used topically.A poultice from the mashed leaves can be applied to the skin to reduce inflammation, support wound healing, combat infection, and soothe insect stings.To do this, place seeds in a plastic bag full of sand to maintain moisture and set it in your fridge for at least a month.Select new spring growth from the tips of stems and cut at least six inches, starting just below a set of leaves.As soon as the stems take root, in about two or three weeks, you can remove the bag and repot the cuttings in potting soil.Bee balm grows well in hardiness zones 3-9, and is best planted in full sun, though it will tolerate shade in hotter areas, and can benefit from afternoon shade in very warm climates, which will protect plants from heat and lengthen the flowering season.Choose a well draining site with good air circulation, as plants have a tendency to develop mildew.Adding compost when planting and mulching liberally will help to improve soil quality, drainage, and air flow by keeping weeds in check.You can divide it every few years in the spring to keep it growing vigorously and prevent it from spreading too rapidly.In early spring, pinch back the top set of leaves on each stem when they are a couple of feet tall.Choose a site in the center or rear of a garden bed to add a burst of color and depth, as these bright flowers will likely be taller than many other herbs.These small insects feed on plant foliage, sucking out the contents of cells and secreting honeydew, a sticky liquid that covers the leaves and can result in mold.Aphid populations can be reduced by planting herbs such as dill and basil nearby to attract beneficial predators, such as ladybugs and lacewings.These tiny pests feed on bee balm plants by sucking out fluid from the underside of leaves and petals.This will create spotting, discoloration, and misshapen foliage, ultimately causing plants to lose their leaves.While the list of diseases to worry about may be short, unfortunately, bee balm is a common victim of powdery mildew.This gray, powdery dust settles on foliage and spreads throughout the plant, eventually causing leaves to brown and wilt.It overwinters on plant debris and the spores can be transferred via wind and water, often presenting itself in conditions of high humidity and low air circulation.While sometimes inevitable during periods of humid weather, there are preventative measures you can take to reduce the risk of mildew.If mildew starts to appear on your plants, mix a tablespoon of baking soda with a teaspoon of insecticidal soap in a gallon of water and spray affected foliage every week.To add some flair to your next fancy dinner, you can use the fresh flowers as a garnish on salads, or the leaves to season game meat or poultry.To dry, hang bundles of stems upside down, or lay leaves and flowers on a screen and place in a well ventilated dark area.After a long day in the garden, try filling a clean sock or mesh bag with dried bee balm flowers and add it to your bath for a fragrant and muscle relieving soak.An oxymel, which is a mixture of herbal infused vinegar and honey, is another wonderful way to use bee balm.Just pour apple cider vinegar over a jar filled with fresh or dried leaves and flowers until they are fully submerged, screw the lid on tightly, and store in a dark pantry for about a month, shaking daily.Quick Reference Growing Guide Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial Flower / Foliage Color: Red, pink, light to dark purple Native to: Eastern North America Maintenance: Moderate Hardiness (USDA Zone): 3-9 Tolerance: Drought Bloom Time / Season: Summer Soil Type: Average Exposure: Full sun to partial shade Soil pH: 6.0-7.0 Time to Maturity: 110-120 days Soil Drainage: Well-draining Spacing: 18-24 inches Attracts: Bees, butterflies, hummingbirds Planting Depth: 1/8 inch (seeds) Companion Planting: Summer phlox, basil, dill, thyme, daylilies Height: 3-5 feet Uses: Tea, potpourri, cut flowers Spread: 18-36 inches Family: Lamiaceae Water Needs: Moderate Genus: Monarda Pests & Diseases: Aphids, spider mites, stalk borers, powdery mildew Species: M. didyma, M. fistulosa Welcoming the Birds and the Bees In my opinion, this perennial herb is a must have in the garden, unmatched in its aromatic fragrance and uniquely vibrant beauty.If you found this guide useful, you’ll also find some helpful info here: How to Grow and Use Lemon Balm.

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Deadheading Bee Balm

To encourage bountiful clusters of flowers, you will want to deadhead the plant throughout its entire bloom time.You will want to begin deadheading your bee balm in early spring when there are just a few flowers to tend to.Spending a few minutes every couple of days snipping the plant will make the task easier.It increases air circulation in the plant which aids in preventing powdery mildew and fungus problems.When bee balm flowers fade and wilt, the plant begins to use its energy to develop seeds.Regular deadheading channels that energy into producing more flowers and continuous blooming. .

4 Ways to Use Beautiful Bee Balm on the Homestead – Mother Earth

When it comes to landscaping the farmstead or urban homestead, it’s nice to be able to include plants that are both beautiful and functional.Bee balm is just as wonderful when used in homemade herbal tea blends simply to bring a little extra flavor to the mix.A tea made from bee balm leaves and flowers, also called an infusion, isn’t just for drinking.Bee balm used this way can a provide cooling, soothing wash for minor burns and sunburns, or a useful poultice for cuts, boils, and other skin care needs.Fresh bee balm leaves can be added to pesto, and the flower petals make a pretty and aromatic garnish.Add enough brandy or unflavored vodka to the jar to cover the bee balm with an inch of liquid.The alcohol provides shelf life and also helps extract the beneficial properties of the bee balm.Place a tight fitting lid on the jar and gently shake the herbs and alcohol to combine.This herb prefers full sun, but it can adapt to part shade and is deer resistant.As easy to grow, versatile, and beautiful as bee balm is, it’s sure to become one of your favorite homestead flowers.Photos provided and copyrighted by Annie Hall and Jane Metzger, Herbal Academy.All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. .

Is Bee Balm Invasive? How to Control Monarda

Its colorful blooms are like a slow-motion, multi-month fireworks display that captures the attention of people, bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds each summer.All members of the Monarda genus have a tendency to run amok through the garden with their spreading root systems, creating new plants that pop up all over – especially if you have rich, moist soil.In this article, we’ll explore some options to deal with its potential aggressiveness, including rhizome barriers, isolated placement, ongoing divisions, cutting, pulling, and regular smothering.If you’re asking whether bee balm can be aggressive, then the answer is yes – especially in its ideal growing environment with moist soil in a full sun to part shade location.In loose, sufficiently moist soils, these rhizomes will spread aggressively, sending up new shoots immediately surrounding the parents, and continually expanding as space and conditions allow.Fleshing out constantly, they can thus surround and choke out other plants in the garden by creating shade and competing for nutrients and moisture.However, as a native species that’s attractive to pollinators, we’re not suggesting that you rid your garden of these beautiful flowers altogether.This is a pretty straightforward strategy: prevent the spread of the rhizomes by physically blocking their underground travel.Choose plants with extensive root systems that will spread to have enough sheer size and bulk to prevent the Monarda rhizomes from growing underneath or up through them.Good examples include any dense shrub or hedge that is at least four feet wide at the time the bee balm is planted, clumps of sun tolerant hostas, seedless comfrey (non-sterile varieties are themselves invasive), or a double row of peonies or rhubarb.Of course, you’ll want to be careful not to block the line of sight to your bee balm by planting things taller than your selected variety immediately in front of them.The plant you select has to be wide enough that the bee balm can’t find its way under it, and dense enough that it can’t easily pop up through it and access enough light to grow.Anything shorter may get choked out by them, and plants with particularly shallow roots such as roses may also suffer from having to compete with them for nutrients and moisture, even if they’re taller.I like to create beds completely separate from my main gardens and grow bee balm only with other types of aggressively spreading plants, such as other species in the mint family.Another simple way to prevent bee balm from spreading continually is to smother the new shoots with cardboard, newspaper, or brown packing paper, covered with four to six inches of mulch such as wood chips, seedless straw, or leaves.For larger specimens over a few inches tall, it’s best to first pull or cut back the stems before smothering so they won’t have as much energy to push through your barrier.Each section should have a minimum of two or three shoots and an intact root system at least six inches long for the best success in transplanting.If you’d rather not transplant the divisions, simply discard whatever you dig up, or pot them up to offer to friends and acquaintances with gardens as a new addition – but be sure to give them a link to this article as well, so they won’t be surprised when they start to spread!Then, smother the area all around where you dug up the bee balm with cardboard and mulch as described above, to prevent small bits of the roots that you may have missed from resprouting.Attempting to control the plant through regular pulling or by digging it up creates a lot of extra work. .

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