“Here comes the sun, doot in doo doo”– rings any bell? Let me give you a hint. Yellow with black stripes? Withered flowers? Yes! You have got it! It’s the famous song from that funny yet educational “Bee Movie” – the movie that taught many of us how bees are such a vital part of our ecosystem. They might scare us a lot, just like they made poor Ken from the movie frightened, but the truth is they are harmless as long as we do not try to harm them. Not just harmless, bees actually benefit us more than what we give them credit for. They not only eat up plant-harming insects, but are also the reason for which the beautiful flowers of our gardens get the opportunity to bathe in colors. They are the ones that ensure the imperative process of pollination. So shouldn’t we also return them the favors instead of shooing them away? And the easiest way to do so is to give them back what they give us – the gift of beautiful flowers – particularly the gift of Bee Balm.
What is Bee balm?
Bee balm, scientifically known as Genus Monarda, is a flower from the mint family that appeals to bees. It is also commonly referred to as horsemint, wild bergamot, and Oswego tea. It does not only attract bees but also butterflies and hummingbirds. It definitely attracts humans too especially with its aromatic leaves and stunning red flowers which bloom during the middle of the year, that is, during the summer. It comes in a variety of red, pink and purple shades and sometimes also in a humble white color. Though it is said that this plant can grow up to six feet, its height usually depends on several factors such as variety of the bee balm, location and environment. However, it is usually two to four feet tall. Apart from doing the crucial job of tempting bees, bee balm can be also used for medicinal and culinary purposes; however, it is more commonly utilized as a means of attracting bees. It can be utilized in the making of a special kind of tea that is known to cure common cold. It can be utilized for culinary purposes as well, particularly due to its aromatic aspect. This fragrance comes from the oil of bee balm that is similar to the ones that other herbs such as thyme and oregano possess. Thus, it can replace other similar herbs in various cuisines.
When do bee balm flowers bloom?
Bee balm shows its ‘true colors’ in August and September, meaning it is at its best during that time of the year. It needs moist, well-drained fertile soil to grow healthily. It grows particularly strong when it is planted near a lake, stream, pond or some other sorts of water bodies. However, if there is no such water element in your garden, another plausible solution is available – just make sure to water plant regularly which means you have to make sure they get some water frequently but not excessively. It also requires to bath in sunlight and breath in adequate air to grow into a strong plant with beautiful white, red, pink or purple flowers. However, they can also live under a moderate level of shade. Moreover, since it is a wild plant after all, make sure that there is adequate spare space around it so that it can spread the way it wants to. A note to remember here is that it spreads really fast. They will entirely swathe any vacant area they can find within just a few years. In addition, the location of the bee balm particularly needs to be kept in mind. Planting them in a heavily congested area tends to hamper its growth. It will also prevent bees from coming, make them feel threatened and thus, they might make an effort to sting. In summary, when planting bee balm, you should choose a site that has access to air, sunlight and moist, well-drained soil. Although it is low maintenance plant, you have to keep examining the plant for powdery mildew, rust, fungal growth or leaf spot which are all common when it comes to bee balm. Keeping the foliage dry and trimming out infested leaves is a good way of keeping away those problems.
Why do you need to have bee balm in your garden?
Bee balm is indeed worth being included in any gardener’s paradise of plants. If you want colorful butterflies, bees and hummingbirds swirling around your garden, be sure to have and nurture this easy to maintain plant in your garden.
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