With tubular petals in shades of pink, red, purple and white, bee balm is a real beauty. Bee balm is a flowering plant native to North America.
It is also called Monarda didyma scientific or wild bergamot or Oswego tea. It is an ornamental plant with an attractive leaf scent.
It is an excellent addition to a pollinator garden. This is because the bright flowers and fragrance attract butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. It is an aggressive plant that is not invasive.
It is necessary to prune the plant back to stimulate the production of new flowers.
When to prune young bee balm
Pruning back can help prevent mildew infestation. There are several stages in the growth of the bee balm when the pruning activity is needed. It is necessary for a young bee balm to allow a better spread in development.
To encourage fair and extensive spread of the bee balm plant, pinching back can be used. Lateral growth is achieved more if the plant is pruned back at an early stage.
The plant grows to an average height of 3 feet and about 2 feet wide. To develop more stems on the sides, it’s best to pinch it back when it’s about 12 inches (30 cm) tall.
You can prune the plant back to 5-6 inches from a foot tall. This allows for more spread of new stems to the side. There is always more space around the heart of the plant, so that there is sufficient ventilation around the plant.
The increased ventilation prevents mold, which is common with bee balms. With this pruning practice, the plant is kept at the desired size and height. Also, a more even spread of stems and leaves is achieved with the lateral growth.
Prune back during and after flowering
The bee balm blooms as early as summer begins and can bloom until early fall. It is necessary to deadhead the flowers as they age and fade. You should cut the blossoms as they fade to allow for fresh flower production.
Since it is still in bloom, it will produce new flowers when the old ones are removed. This is also good to prevent seed production which can lead to reseeding and clogging of the flower bed.
After the plant has finished flowering, cut the plant back. Pruning back may be necessary due to a powdery mildew infestation, which often occurs after flowering. Cut back the infected leaves to leave the plant base.
From the base left behind, new and fresh leaves will emerge. After this cut, a more luscious bee balm is created. The plant is kept fresh and alive.
Cut back in autumn
The third pruning of the bee balm plant is done towards the end of autumn. When it’s late fall, in preparation for winter, prune your bee balm back. This is also to keep the plant from mildew growth as winter sets in.
It also helps keep the plant fresh and lush. Before winter sets in, cut the bee balms back to about 1.5 inches (4.5 cm) high.
This removes the old stem and leaves, allowing new ones to grow. It’s like a plant renewal system that keeps the foliage and stems renewed as the season changes.
This cutback will also allow for more flowering when the time comes. The aesthetics that the plant offers are maintained and even enhanced.
Distribute The Bee Balm
When the bee balm tree has grown for about two years or more, it is good to divide the plant. This can be every two or three years. This is to keep the plant alive and maintain its vigor. This happens in early spring. Dig up the plants and cut them into sections.
Each division should contain a bunch of healthy roots and two or three shoots. These divisions are then replanted at the usual spacing of about 20 inches. Planting should be done in full sun and well-moistened soil.
The divisions can be planted in pots first and later transplanted into the field when new leaves emerge.
Dividing and replanting controls mildew growth. The old leaves and stems are completely removed.
Take care of the beauty
Bee Balm offers beautiful flowers and fragrant foliage; it is also a good attractor of pollinators. Bees, butterflies and birds love to greet the sight of the plant.
To maintain these benefits, it is necessary to take good care of the plant. A good way to care for it is pruning and cutting back.
Keep in mind that the pruning process begins as soon as the plant begins to flower. Trim off the faded blooms to make way for new and brighter blooms.
After flowering, prune the plant back to about 5 cm above the ground. This pruning back to about 5 cm above the ground is also done in late autumn in preparation for winter. It is also necessary to divide the plant and replant it after two years of growth.
All this to keep the flowers fresh and blooming. Also to make sure the stems are good and alive all season long. It is also a means of keeping mildew at bay. It is ultimately for the health of the bee balm plant and a tidy flower bed.
There is more
Aside from these pruning processes, you also need to dispose of your bee balm in other ways. The plant needs a lot of sun, so you have to be careful with the location.
The sunny conditions, in addition to being suitable for growth, help to stop the growth of mildew. Moist, well-draining soil is also needed. Therefore, watering is vital for the bee balm plant.
To keep the soil moist, there should be a 2-inch layer of mulch around each of the plants.