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Bee Balm Monarda

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Bee Balm Plants Benefits In Landscaping

 
Monarda didyma, commonly called bee balm, is a hardy plant that grows in clusters that measure about three feet wide. The plant is suitable for hardiness zones three through nine in the United States, and the fast-growing herbaceous perennial is deer and drought-resistant to provide a variety of placement options in both rural and urban landscapes.

Bee balm prefers full sun and has hardy rhizomes, or roots, that quickly spread after they are well-established, making bee balm ideal for mass plantings in fields and meadows. Bee balm is self-propagating when allowed to grow undisturbed, but expansion is also easily controlled by deadheading spent blossoms during the growing season.

Bee balm withstands a wide range of soil types, including rocky and light soil, but thrives in locations that are well-draining and amended with organic matter. The flowers benefit from occasional watering during periods of very hot, dry weather. At maturity, the plants range from one to eight feet high and are about two feet wide. 

Bee balm has a warm, herb-like scent that is just as distinct as the bright petals that appear in mid-summer. The blossoms are the star of the bee balm, with whorls of delicate red, pink, purple, or white petals creating tiny explosions of color that brighten the surrounding landscape nicely. 

Flower production persists from mid-summer through early autumn and are accompanied by slightly fuzzy, blue-green foliage growing on a fuzzy square stem. Plant bee balm in native flower gardens to attract butterflies, bees and birds to the property, or use the taller varieties for back row plantings in an ornamental garden.

Edible bee balm is a tasty addition to medicinal and herb gardens. Use the edible petals and foliage to make teas and salads, or dry the foliage for later use. Bee balm also thrives in container plantings and readily withstands environmental pollution, making the perennial perfect for patio and rooftop gardens in urban areas.