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Bee balm, also known as Monarda, is a plant you will most likely find in various butterfly and bee gardens. Due to its alluring scent, this plant attracts most pollinating insects.
Mostly grown in North America, more and more people are growing Monarda now more than ever, thanks in part to its medical benefits. However, that does not mean that you only need to grow or use it if you have a medical complication.
For instance, you can also use its leaves to make tea. Alternatively, you can add it to salads. Without a doubt, there is every reason to grow bee balm. So, how do you go about it?
Whether it is springtime or fall, there is nothing to hold you back from growing bee balm, because both conditions are favorable for this plant.
First of all, get rid of any weeds in your garden. For a better option, consider using a good lawnmower. For additional help, you can look through the guides found at Tools Diary.
Next, prepare the beds and add compost to the soil. To ensure that the plant doesn’t develop mildew, allow a spacing of 18–24” between the plants. It is of utmost importance to plant bee balm in rich soil with good draining capabilities.
If the soil is dry, don’t start planting before you thoroughly water it to make it moist. Additionally, after planting, ensure that your plant is moist by watering each time the soil gets dry. This way, you can be sure of getting a lavish harvest.
There is little maintenance necessary for this plant. So don’t worry too much about care. Beginning in July, all the way through the rest of the summer, the plant will begin to blossom.
If you notice that the plants are spreading too much and overlapping, carefully divide them as you pull out any new sprouts. Overlapping mostly only happens after growing the plant for at least two to three years though.
If the plant is blooming during the fall season, hold it back and prune a few inches above the ground. Do this after you have noticed the first flowering. In the spring, get enough compost and apply half an inch of it to the bee balm bed. Do not forget to apply fertilizer too.
In winter, you should protect the roots of the plant from snow and cold by mulching it. That way, you ensure that your plant won’t die. If you used a container to plant it, however, moving it indoors would save you much trouble.
If you want to get the best flavor from bee balm, wait until mid-morning—after the morning dew has evaporated completely—then start harvesting. Start by plucking the petals and leaves from the bee balm stalks.
Dry them naturally by spreading them on a screen under low temperature for about one to two weeks, depending on the levels of humidity. Don’t dry them in a dusty area or expose them to direct sunlight though.
Alternatively, you can clip the base of the bee balm stalk to harvest. Always hold the stalks by the stem when tying their ends before finally hanging them out to dry.
You can confirm if they are completely dry by trying to crush them. If they are fully dry, they should crush effectively.