Bee balm (also called Wild Bergamot) is a perennial most loved to North America, and very popular in flower beds for its beautiful blooms of red, pink, purple or white—not to mention the fragrant foliage.
The flowers attract hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees; They are pollinated primarily by ruby-throated hummingbirds and butterflies especially fritillaries.
The dense flowering heads turn from green to brown when ripe. Crushing the ripened flower heads allows for easier seed extraction and then pass the crushed heads into a 1/25 screen to separate out the seeds.
Bee balm prefers moist, but well drained soils. It performs best in full sunlight, but is very adaptable to partial shade conditions. It can often be found along stream banks, thickets, road edges and at the borders to woodland openings.
- Monarda didyma: bright red and grows 3 to 4 feet tall.
- Monarda fistulosa: produces lavender-pink blooms.
Bee balm can be planted in the spring or in the fall.
✔️Sow Monarda seeds outdoors in a sunny location after the danger of frost has passed, but out of direct sunlight.
✔️Sow evenly and scatter gently the seeds on top of the soil
✔️Then, gently scatter with little soil over the seeds. Cover with ¼ inch of fine soil.
✔️Water thoroughly and keep evenly moist.
✔️Seedlings will emerge in 18-30 days.
✔️Space plants 18-24 inches apart when seedlings are 2 inches tall in rich, well-draining soil.
✔️Divide bee balm every 2 to 3 years to ensure its vigor. In the spring make small divisions of the newer roots of established plants and replant.
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I had great success seeding these in a seeding tray and then planting them outside. I had tons of little plants come up. I planted them in the ground and they did pretty well this summer.
Tough to eventually get the seedlings to thrive, constant attention finally worked and then transplanting into the garden about 80% did really well. They now look fabulous.
Have had about 20 germinate out of the batch so far. And I'm halfway through the pouch.
I know how hard it is to grow bee balm from seed. Planted full packs four times - twice last fall and twice this spring. Was happy with the germination rate.
The plants I grew from seed are beautiful and are flowering this summer.