How to Grow Bee Balm

[Intro text]

Botanical Information

Taxonomy

Monarda didyma

Several plants of the Monarda genus are also known as bergamot, although they are not to be confused with the classical Bergamot (of Earl Gray Tea fame) which is a citrus.

History

Physical Description

Plant grows to be 2-4 feet tall, growing like a bush or shrub, but with individual stalks coming up from a common root. It spreads rapidly, so allow 2 feet spacing. Flowers are uniquely-shaped composite flowers, each with a deep throat full of nectar for hummingbirds, butterflies, and insects. The flowers come in white, pink, or purple, but the typical bee balm is red. It flowers in summer.

Varieties & Cultivars

Categories or Types of [plantname]

Colors Available

Varieties (link to ../category/cultivars/tag/[plantname])

Growth Requirements

Climate & Temperature Requirements

Air Temperature

Soil Temperature

Humidity

Day Length or Light Requirements

Bee balm thrives in a variety of light conditions, but prefers a sunny location

Soil Requirements

Not too picky, but prefers rich, moist soil

Soil Texture

pH

Nutrient Requirements

Propagation

Methods of propagation

Seed

Division

Cuttings

Transplanting or Potting Up

Seed Saving

Planting Out

Bed Prep & Soil Amendments

Bed Spacing

Plant or thin volunteer seedlings to 2 feet, since it spreads rapidly.

Planting Depth

Alternative Bed Methods

Container Gardening

Routine Cultivation & Maintenance

Water Requirements

Fertilization Recommendations

Mulching & Weeding

Pinching or Pruning

Dead-heading (removing spent flowers) extends bee balm’s flowering period.

Support

Winterizing

Companion Planting

Helpful Companions

Harmful Companions

Companion to..

Pests, Diseases & Problems

Common Pests

Common Diseases

Symptoms

Whole Plant

Leaves

Stem/Trunk

Flowers

Fruit

Roots

Harvesting & Storage

Edible Parts of the Plant

  • Flowers:¬†Bee balm flowers have a citrus, minty flavor

Yield

Days to Harvest / Harvest Timing

Flowers are present all summer long

Harvest Methods

  1. Harvest bee balm flowers in the morning, after the dew has dried, but before the day starts heating up
  2. Choose flowers at their peak for best flavor
  3. Snip the flower heads off the plant, leaving enough stem to store in a vase, if not using right away

Storage of harvest

Fresh

  • if not using right away, store them in a vase with water (don’t pluck the petals till ready to use them) and store in a cool place.

Canned

Frozen

Pickled

Dried

  • separate petals from pistil & stamens
  • lay out in a single layer, not touching, on paper towels
  • once dry, label and store in an air-tight container in a cool, dark place

Cooking

Nutritional Benefits & Values

Toxicity

Cooking

Preparation

  • Gently wash or dust the flowers to remove insects, soil and dust
  • Snip the flower head off the plant
  • Pluck the individual flowers off the composite flower head, leaving the pistil & stamens on the head

Cooking Methods

Recipes

  • Tea
    • 2 T chopped fresh flowers (or 1 T dried)
    • 4 C water
    • steep 5-10 minutes
    • strain
    • serve
  • Salads: sprinkle petals on green salads for a citrus-minty effect
  • Garnish: beverages, plates, appetizers, dips

Resources

Information for this article was taken from¬†these sources. (link to …/category/resources/tag/[plantname])

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