Bee Balm Planting and Care Instructions Bee Balm Planting and Care Instructions
Bee balm or Monarda is a genus of herbaceous plants native to North America. The plant is called bee balm because its perennial flowers attract bees and other pollinators in abundance. Bee balm plants have a wide range of uses in medicine and in repelling garden pests, which make them great companion plants. You can easily plant and maintain these plants, which are resistant to most pests and diseases.
Step 1: Select the Planting Spot
Bee balm plants prefer full sun or light shade. Most species of this plant are tolerant of different soil types; however, moist, well-drained soil is preferred. Prepare the planting location about a month prior to planting the bee balm by mixing the soil with mature compost or manure. Let the soil settle for a few weeks.
Step 2: Prepare the Planting Spot
Spring is the best time to plant bee balm. If you are planting multiple bee balm plants, space them a couple of feet apart. Use the shovel and garden fork to loosen the soil in the planting spot to about 1 foot in depth. Using the garden fork, mix the loosened soil with a layer of compost about a couple of inches thick. After the compost is thoroughly mixed, dig out a pit that is about twice the size of the bee balm container.
Step 3: Plant the Bee Balm
Lay down the bee balm container on its side and gently press the sides and bottom until the soil is loosened and the plant can be gently taken out with the rootball. Place the plant in the pit at a depth where the top of the rootball is at ground level. Fill the pit with soil around the plant, and gently fix the plant is place. Water the plant thoroughly. Apply a couple of inches of organic mulch around the plant. Mulching prevents weed growth, promotes moisture retention, and protects the plant from severe temperature fluctuations.
Step 4: Maintain and Care for the Plant
In hot weather with little rainfall, water the plants regularly, at least once a week. Apply a small amount of all-purpose fertilizer once during the spring. Over-fertilization is not recommended. Deadhead flowers to encourage new blooms. Powdery mildew is a common problem, which can be avoided by providing good air circulation in a sunny spot, and by watering the plant regularly. Use a fungicide to combat mildew, and remove all infected leaves and flowers. In the fall, remove and dispose of all the infected dead leaves, as these can infect the plant again in spring.
Step 5: Divide the Plant
The bee balm plant grows vigorously and must be divided every 2 to 3 years. If not divided, the central core of the plant will slowly start dying. Divide the plant is spring, when it emerges from the ground. Use a sharp, sterilized knife, and make sure that each division looks healthy and has a strong root system. Plant the divisions a couple of feet apart from each other.