The bee balm plant is native to North America and has a shape similar to that of a daisy, but its petals are tubular and come in various colors.Bee balm plants can reach 4 feet high but dwarf varieties grow to a height of about 10 inches, which make it good for a container.Bee balm can fall victim to powdery mildew, which looks like gray dust appearing on the buds and leaves. .

How to Plant, Grow, and Harvest Bee Balm

Bee balm is a tall perennial herb native to North America.Bee balm is also called by its botanical name—Monarda, and is also called bergamot (because the scent is similar to the citrus fruit bergamot, an orange), and is also referred to as Oswego tea (the Oswego Indians made tea from the leaves).It has a minty fragrance and the leaves are used for making tea and are added to salads and jellies.The blooms have a colorful, shaggy appearance and can be planted in both the herb garden and perennial border.Best location: Bee balm prefers partial shade but tolerates full sun.Plant where there is good air circulation to prevent powdery mildew which can hit leaves in late summer.Bee balm prefers partial shade but tolerates full sun.Plant where there is good air circulation to prevent powdery mildew which can hit leaves in late summer.Start bee balm seeds indoors 8 weeks before the last spring frost.Transplant well-rooted bee balm plants to the garden one week before the last spring frost.Planting depth: Sow seed ¼ to ½ inch deep.Companion planting: Bee balm is said to enhance the growth of tomatoes and peppers.Feeding: Apply ½ inch of compost to the planting bed each spring.Diseases: Rust and powdery mildew can attack bee balm in late summer.Flavor and aroma: Bee balm tastes and smells like mint with citrusy undertones of orange and lemon.Bee balm tastes and smells like mint with citrusy undertones of orange and lemon.Use fresh flowers and leaves in fruit, salads, teas, lemonade, pork, poultry, and jellies.Use fresh whole or chopped leaves to flavor duck, pork, meat sausages, and curries.Inhaling the steam produced by combining leaves with boiling water will relieve a sore throat.Fresh and bee balm leaves make good teas, alone, or in combination with other herbs.Inhaling the steam produced by combining leaves with boiling water will relieve a sore throat Culinary complements: Bee balm’s citrusy flavor complements fruits, strawberries, apples, oranges, tangerines, and melons.Ground dried leaves and flowers can be used as a substitute for oregano and marjoram.Grow bee balm can be grown from seed, cuttings, and divisions.Seeds are best stratified (placed in the refrigerator) for three months before sowing; germination occurs in 14 to 21 days.Dip tip cuttings in a rooting hormone and plant in organic potting mix.Dip tip cuttings in a rooting hormone and plant in organic potting mix.Stems that touch the ground will grow roots and can be divided to form new plants.Wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa): Lavender flowers and a very strong fragrance.Growing season: Spring and summer; plants die back in winter.Bee balm is resistant to cold and heat; it’s cold hardy to -20° Plant form and size: Bee balm is a bushy plant that grows 3 to 5 feet tall; the leafy, branching stems grow from clumps; bee balm has shallow, spreading roots.Bee balm is a bushy plant that grows 3 to 5 feet tall; the leafy, branching stems grow from clumps; bee balm has shallow, spreading roots. .

Growing Bee Balm from Seed

Bee balm is a perennial flowering herb in the mint family, growing well in zones 3-9.It’s tall stalks and colorful flowers attract butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds.Oftentimes, gardeners choose to divide and transplant it, but bee balm can also be grown from seeds.Selecting an optimal garden area for bee balm is important for the plant’s health.Instead of deadheading the plant, allow the flowers and stalks to dry out and turn brown.Cut the plant ensuring that the entire stalk falls into the bag.Once the root system forms, the last frost has happened, and the weather is warm, plant the bee balm outdoors.Prepare the garden area by removing weeds, debris, and other plant life. .

How to Grow & Use Bee Balm

If you do not like the scraggly look Bee Balm gets in winter, then remove the dead stems and flower heads in fall, after they have finished blooming, once the plant has gone dormant.Just prune it all the way down to the ground- everything that is currently above the soil will be dead after winter hits, and the plant grows back from its roots in the ground, not from existing growth. .

Bee Balm (Wild Bergmot/Monarda fistulosa) Flower Growing

Transplant outside in the spring or summer, 6-8 weeks after starting the seeds, spacing plants 12-18" apart.Direct seed: Sow from early spring up until 8 weeks before the first frost in the fall.Direct seed or sow in a cold frame to be transplanted when they reach a height of 3-4".Bee balm is very susceptible to powdery mildew, which is exacerbated by humidity and any kind of plant stress, even drought. .

Bee Balm Seeds

Strip leaves and flowers from stalks and store in an airtight container until you’re in the mood for a cup. .

What Does a Bee Balm Seed Look Like?

– also called wild bergamot and Oswego tea, according to Master Gardener Steve Albert – is an herbaceous perennial growing in USDA hardiness zones 4 to 10, depending on the variety.Its most popular cultivar, Monarda didyma, displays deep red flowers beloved by hummingbirds, according to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center .Albert recommends stratifying the seeds, which means creating an environment that mimics a required cold, dormant period by putting them in the refrigerator for three months. .

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.If you want to get creative, there are all sorts of fun and delicious ways to use or preserve the leaves and flowers, which are both edible.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.

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Problems With Harvesting Bee Balm Seed (Monarda didyma

I’ve been growing Scarlet Bee Balm (Monarda didyma) for over 5 years.There are 3 primary reasons why it is difficult to save seed from Bee Balm:.One of the first things I noticed was a distinct difference in tube diameter on the seed heads.I also noted a distinct difference in seed size for Bee Balm (image above).The seed of Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) measures slightly smaller than Bee Balm, coming in at about 0.5 mm.I must say that when you visually examine the seed of Wild Bergamot, it seems to be very uniform and all the same size.When one examines the seed haul from Bee Balm, you cant help but notice many small black specks.When touched, these are small, hard, and feel similar to the properly formed seeds.But I find it quite odd that this is occuring, and it doesnt seem to happen with other Monarda species.Birds seem to enjoy eating seeds of Scarlet Bee Balm.Additionally, any significant wind or storms have the potential to release seed through movement.In particular, the large clearance between the seed and tube will be confounded and exacerbated by bird predation and winds.Answering this question would require access to a green house to protect the plants / seed head from birds, wind, and any other unintended movement.But perhaps in the coming years I can grow plants in a pot, and just move them indoors after flowering.So, I conducted the research above to find out why it is difficult to save seed from Scarlet Bee Balm, Monarda didyma.Joe Foster Hi - I grew up outdoors in nature - hiking, fishing, hunting. .

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