This bee balm (Monarda Didyma) was in full bloom in my garden a few years ago at the side of an old shed we needed to tear down. I didn’t want to loose it, so I decided to move it to a split rail fence closer to the house.
Bee balm is easy to transplant, Since it can grow several feet high, it’s best to cut it back to about 12 inches. It makes the bee balm easier to handle, and easier to plant without falling over. I amended the garden soil near the split rail fence with compost and some bagged garden soil, and planted the bee balm. I had several stalks left and planted a few in the perennial garden in my front yard. Bees love it, and it adds such a bold crimson color to the garden.
Bee Balm has a long history with Native Americans, and the Colonial settlers. It can be used as a natural antiseptic. If you are in the garden and get a cut or scratch, break off a leave, mash, and rub the leave and liquid onto your cut or scratch. A tea can also be made with the leaves and flowers to soothe sore throat, stomach ache, colds and insomnia. To make a tea, use 1 Tablespoon leaves and flowers to each 6 ounces water. Boil water, pour over the bee balm, and allow to steep for 5 minutes. Remove bee balm.
Bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds love bee balm, so it definitely makes a good addition to your pollinator garden.
Bee Balm and other herbs such as thyme, mints, basil, sage, and lemon balm, can be added to the nest box of your chickens, to help prevent mites, lice and other insects.
Although easy to grow, Bee Balm is not without it’s problems. The most common is powdery mildew. A spray with made equal parts milk and water can be used each week over two weeks to get rid of the mildew and to help prevent further occurrence.
Bee Balm multiples quickly, and you will soon have a mass of bee balm. That’s not a bad thing, it look pretty planted in mass. But if you find yourself with too much, jut transpolant to other areas, or repot for friends. I’m eyeing a corner of my new shed to place a few. I think that you will find Bee Balm to be a great addition to your garden. If you have a friend or neighbor with bee balm, I’m sure they will be happy to share. It can also be started from seed.