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Monarda, the plant that bees love that helps prepare soothing balms

Monarda, or beebalm

Bee balm is a cute perennial that’s also an herb, native to North America.

Useful to all for its many medicinal properties (Monarda) and cooking flavor, it’s also a very ornamental plant.

Key facts to remember

Name – Monarda
Family – Lamiaceae
Type – perennial

Height – 32 to 48 inches (80 to 120 cm)
Exposure – full sun and part sun
Soil – ordinary

Flowering – June to September

Planting bee balm

Plant monarda in order to support root growth and heat resistanceIt’s recommended to plant the rhizomes in spring, with a spacing distance of about 1 foot or 30 cm from one plant to the next.

  • Bee balm loves sun-filled spots.
  • Soil must be moist and rich enough for the blooming to be truly noteworthy.
  • Bee balm tends to turn invasive, so it’s best to plant it somewhere where it’s easy to keep it under control.
  • You can also give it an extra boost with amendments such as manure and seaweed, a few handfuls at the bottom of the planting hole.

Propagate beebalm through clump division in spring, or through cuttings.

Seed propagation and cuttings are the two ways to multiply monarda

Pruning and caring for bee balm

Caring for monarda helps grow nice beebalm bushesCut back short at the end of the season, but not before leaves and flowers have wilted away entirely.

During the blooming, you can deadhead your flowers as they fade away, to trigger more blooming and new flowers.

If your beebalm shows signs of a whitish powder on its leaves, it’s surely due to a disease called powdery mildew.

Uses of bee balm

Landscaping with monarda helps create nice sceneryThis pretty perennial with a bushy bearing has beautiful flowers that are particularly fragrant. They release a delicious lemon-like scent if you rustle the leaves a bit.

It has a great many uses in cooking and in treating benign ailments: simply as an infusion for a flavorful tea party; and the flowers are edible in a tossed salad for instance.

It has therapeutic properties regarding cough and sore throat.

Note that dried beebalm flowers and leaves are often used in pot-pourri, where they release their citrus-y fragrance for a long time.

To prepare the dried flowers, just cut the blossoms when they just open, early morning, and hang the stems upside-down in a well-ventilated shed (no direct sun).

Smart tip about bee balm

Cocoa hull mulch is particularly well suited for mulch thanks to its fertilizing properties.

Image credits (edits Gaspard Lorthiois):
Pixabay: Willfried Wende, ckavassalis, Sarah McElrath
CC BY 2.0: Paul Comstock, Drew Avery
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