- Watering: Bee balm needs moderate water; water plants just when the soil starts to dry out. Bee balm can grow in dry soil and is less likely to be invasive in dry soil. Bee balm will grow lush with ample water.
- Feeding: Apply ½ inch of compost to the planting bed each spring. Feed plants with all-purpose even fertilizer such as 10-10-10.in midsummer.
Monarda–Bee Balm Care and Maintenance
- Care: Be prepared to pull or dig out new sprouts. Mats of shallow roots can be invasive in moist soil; you may want to place metal barriers around root clumps to keep roots from running. Cut back plants periodically to keep them compact. Divide plants every 3 or 4 years; this will help control the rapid spread. For fall blooms, prune them back to just a few inches above the ground after the first flowering.
- Mulching: Mulch bee balm in winter to protect roots from cold and snow.
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Container Growing Monarda–Bee Balm
- Container growing: Bee balm can be grown as an individual plant in its own container or in a group in a large container or tub. Plants lose their bottom leaves at the end of summer and look leggy.
- Winter growing: Bee balm is cold and hardy but will likely die back in cold weather. Container-grown plants can be moved indoors in winter but they are unlikely to flower.
- Pests: Bee balm is usually pest-free.
- Diseases: Rust and powdery mildew can attack bee balm in late summer. Control powdery mildew and rust with good air circulation, spacing plants and cutting plants back to the ground after flowering.
How to Harvest Monarda–Bee Balm
- When to harvest: Harvest leaves as needed. For best flavor, harvest leaves before flower buds open.
- How to harvest: For drying in quantity, cut stems about one inch above the ground before blooming in early summer and again in late summer. Cut flowers for drying when blooms are almost fully open. Cut plants down to 1 inch of the ground after flowering; this will promote new growth and a second flowering.