Bee balm is a member of the mint family. It is utilized as a part of making natural teas and the blooms are eatable. It draws in butterflies and hummingbirds.The fresh or dried leaves are prepared into a refreshing aromatic and medicinal tea. Externally, bee balm is a wonderful aromatherapy herb. Try placing a handful of fresh leaves in a cloth and positioning it under hot running bath water for a relaxing, lemony scented bath. Deeply breathing in the steam may also help relieve cold symptoms such as a sore throat, fever, and congestion.
Normal Name: Bee Balm, horsemint, oswego tea, and bergamot
Scientific Name: Monarda
How to grow and maintain bee balm:
Bee balm does best in full sun. In spite of the fact that it will grow in part shade, it tends to stretch and become leggy over time.
Bee balm does best in equally wet soil rich in organic matter. It can endure lighter soil, but the richer soil will encourage taller stronger specimens. Boggy conditions are not tolerated, nor are soils that are allowed to dry out for long periods of time.
Water regularly. Bee balm will tolerate drought but does best if you keep the soil moist, but not soggy. Water when the top one to two inches of soil has dried out. For varieties that thrive in wet soil, make sure to keep the plant constantly moist. Conserve moisture and discourage weeds by mulching with a 2-inch layer of shredded bark.
Soil rich in natural supplements should give bee balm what it needs amid the principal year or two, yet it can benefit from the addition of a balanced organic fertilizer if the soil is not being amended regularly with compost or rotted manure.
Prune plants a few times amid the developing season to keep them becoming thick and full. In the pre-winter, cut bee balm back to within 5 to 6 inches from the ground. New growth will appear the following spring. Every three to four years, dig up the plants and divide them between the late winter or early spring.
Cut bee balm flowers in the morning after the dew has dried and before the sun heats them up. The blooms last several days in water or dry the flowers by hanging them upside down in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. Pick flowers for drying before they open.
Pests and Disease:
Bee balm often suffers from powdery mildew. This is most prominent in overcrowded plants, those grown in partial to heavy shade and drought-stressed plants. The Raspberry Wine variety is one of the least susceptible to powdery mildew.
Bergamot tea is soothing and relaxing and makes a good night-time drink. Add a handful of fresh leaves to your bath to soothe tired and aching limbs. Scientific evidence shows that bergamot may inhibit the herpes simplex and the related chickenpox viruses. It is also combined with other herbs to treat urinary tract infections and indigestion.