Bee balm is a beautiful flower that not only grows well in most soils but also has a sweet fragrance. Often seen growing in gardens, the plant can grow up to three feet tall and have leaves that can cover an area of up to five square feet. In this article, find out how to grow and care for bee balm as well as some of its uses.
What is Bee Balm?
Bee balm (Monarda didyma) is a perennial herbaceous plant in the mint family. It is native to North America, Europe and Asia. Bee balm grows to 2-3 ft tall with opposite leaves and produces fragrant, 1-inch flowers in late summer. The flowers are pollinated by bees and the nectar is used by hummingbirds and butterflies.
Bee balm can be grown in full sun or partial shade and does best in moist, well-drained soil. Dig up the roots in autumn to allow the plant to senesce and winter over in a cold frame. In spring, replant into fresh soil.
Bee balm is beneficial for the skin due to its high content of monardin, which has antibacterial and astringent properties. The essential oil from bee balm has been shown to help treat wounds, psoriasis, eczema, and other skin conditions.
How to Grow and Care for Bee Balm in Your Garden
We all know bee balm as a beneficial plant that can be used in a variety of ways, but did you know that growing it is easy too? If you live in a warm climate, bee balm will grow easily from seed indoors. Once planted out, give it plenty of water and fertilize with a balanced fertilizer once or twice per year. If you’re not sure about the care for bee balm, take a look at our guide below!
Growing from Seed Indoors
Bee balm is one of the easiest plants to grow from seed. Simply place the seeds in a mix of moist potting soil and store them somewhere warm for about 8 weeks. You can also do this indoors, but be sure to place them somewhere warm during the winter months when they’re not actively growing. It’s not uncommon for bee balm to take some time to germinate, so don’t give up on those seeds mid-way through! When you’re ready to plant them out, wait until they’ve grown several inches before planting them outdoors in your garden.
In addition to using it as a border plant or ground cover, bee balm can also be planted as an edible addition to your kitchen garden. While it doesn’t have much of a taste and texture, bee balm has very low levels of oxalic acid, making it safe as an addition to salads, breads and other dishes. Eat it fresh or dry it into tea. Just be sure to remove the seeds before you use it in any dish that will be eaten raw. While bee balm is currently being used in natural medicine practices all over the world, there are still some precautions that need to be taken when using it medicinally. The most common use of this herb is for arthritic relief, but keep in mind that while the plant seems to work on this condition in many people, there isn’t enough evidence behind its effectiveness for the FDA to approve it.
Benefits of Bee Balm
Bee balm is a wonderful flower to grow in your garden. Here are five benefits of bee balm that you should know:
1. Bee balm is an excellent source of vitamin C. This nutrient helps keep the immune system functioning properly and can help prevent colds and other infections.
2. Bee balm has antioxidant properties that can help protect the body from damage caused by free radicals.
3. bee balm is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for maintaining heart health and preventing conditions such as stroke and dementia.
4. Bee balm can help improve mood swings and anxiety disorders. The essential oil found in bee balm has been shown to have antidepressant effects.
5. Bee balm is a natural insect repellent, which means it can help keep pests away from your plants.
Congratulations on growing this wonderful flower! It is important to take care of it in order to get the most out of its blooming season.