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Bee Balm

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Bee Balm

Post  greatgranny on 7/12/2012, 10:19 pm

Has anyone planted Bee Balm? I have had this plant for about 5 years. Reproduces itself so can divide and plant more. Love it. Attracts butterflies, bees (duh), hummingbirds, etc.

Anyway, I just found out that it can be treated as an herb. Never knew that. The smell is awesome.

In my location it is also a native wildflower. There is one in my prairie that I planted a few years ago. They are blooming now. Hope this gets the bees busy so I have plenty for the melons and squash.


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Re: Bee Balm

Post  cheyannarach on 7/12/2012, 11:41 pm

We have wild bee balm around here too, it is so nice! Maybe next year I'll have to get some to grow wild in the back yard!

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Re: Bee Balm

Post  greatgranny on 7/13/2012, 12:12 am

One thing I learned from growing the one in my garden is that after awhile the original plant seems to die back. That's why I divide the younger parts and transplant them. They grow quite fast. If you take just a small part of the plants that you find, I'm sure you will be able to then establish a nice arrangement in your backyard.

I'm going to do more research on the medicinal benefits. I know that you can eat the blossoms. Haven't tried one yet but maybe I'll try some in a salad.

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Re: Bee Balm

Post  cheyannarach on 7/13/2012, 1:51 am

Good to know! I will deffinately have to get my hands on some! Thanks Very Happy

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Re: Bee Balm

Post  PVPind on 7/13/2012, 9:37 am

I love me some Bee Balm. Since I've moved I miss my gardens but these pictures store some memories what once was.



[img][/img][img][/img]


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Re: Bee Balm

Post  Goosegirl on 7/13/2012, 9:37 am

It's a mint relative, but not nearly as invasive. Great for attracting pollinators and predatory insects. The roots supposedly contain an oil that helps keep in-ground pests away. Personally, I just LOVE the hot pink color of the one that was given to me! My squash are suffering from insufficient pollination, so I think for next year I am going to plant lots of Bee Balm all around my boxes.

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Re: Bee Balm

Post  greatgranny on 7/13/2012, 12:40 pm

Right now I only have 1 in my boxes but next spring I will divide it and hopefully will be able to have 1 plant in each of my boxes. I was going to purchase more plants but after reading about it, why do that when the plant multiplies itself.

Yes, the bees love it. This site gives some helpful info:

http://www.ipm.iastate.edu/ipm/hortnews/2006/4-5/beebalm.html

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Re: Bee Balm

Post  quiltbea on 7/13/2012, 2:55 pm

Last year when my Monarda/Bee Balm started coming up, I forgot I had planted some a few years ago and thought it was just a weedy stalk so I pulled most of them and only a few survived to blossom. I didn't take any action, just left them to fend for themselves. This year when they were coming up, I remembered I had some Bee Balm growing there so I didn't touch them. Lo and behold, there is so much of it, what would I have had if I left it all there last year? Its reproduced amazingly well.
This is Raspberry Wine variety and its so dense now that its standing over 6' tall and its blocking out a couple of my roses in between. I'd say its somewhat invasive, at least for me in zone 5a Maine. But its beautiful and the bees love it.

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Re: Bee Balm

Post  greatgranny on 7/13/2012, 3:32 pm

Yes, it can be invasive. I'm not sure what variety I have. Right now it's just beginning to bloom and is about 18 inches - 2 ft tall. The reasons for putting them in my SFG is that I will have more control of them and also to attract the bees and butterflies.

The wild plants in my prairie area will hopefully spread themselves. I almost killed them when I was eradicating the burdocks and bull thistles. Thank God I saw it before I continued into the prairie.


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Re: Bee Balm

Post  Ericka2385 on 7/22/2012, 11:08 am

I just now saw this thread... I've been looking for some good bee attractors for my new garden.

Will Bee Balm grow in pots at all?? I saw one picture and it was mentioned at being 6 feet tall, so I imagine it has a pretty extensive root system. If it would grow in pots, I'm thinking I could set pots of it on the walls that run between my garden beds. That way I wouldn't have to sacrifice valuable bed space, and I could move them closer to whatever fruit or vegetable is on bloom and needs the bees.


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Re: Bee Balm

Post  quiltbea on 7/22/2012, 11:24 am

@Ericka........You could probably plant some in a larger pot. Remember, they are terribly tall, at least 6 feet. Their roots can't be too extensive because they pull out easily when given a good tug. That's how I removed enough to clear a path to my window.

This is after thinning enough to clear a window so I could get some nice cool breezes in the night. They were litterly covering that window completely and no air could circulate in and out of the house.

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Re: Bee Balm

Post  Ericka2385 on 7/22/2012, 11:34 am

I think I'll give it a try. If nothing else it might not grow the full 6 feet within the confines of a smaller space. It can always be transplanted elsewhere, from the sounds of it. I think I might actually have a spot for them... thinking

The flowers are just beautiful. I wish I had flower beds around my windows to see them from inside. Maybe I'll have to do that...

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Re: Bee Balm

Post  greatgranny on 7/22/2012, 12:49 pm

I know that there are different varieties. Not all of them get that tall. (2-4 feet)Also in this article it talks about not over fertilizing because that will cause them to be prone to powdery mildew.

There are dwarf varieties which only get 10 - 15 inches.

http://www.ipm.iastate.edu/ipm/hortnews/2006/4-5/beebalm.html

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Re: Bee Balm

Post  AvaDGardner on 7/22/2012, 8:52 pm

That's so pretty! I wish mine looked like that.

I planted a starter this year, and it has produced flowers but they are brown and long and thin, kinda like a tiny immature corn cob. I'm very disappointed. Nothing to interest a bee.

Mine would be counted among the dwarf's, and it did not like the 87 degree heat we had the last two days. It's all sprawled out like it fainted.

It was in the herb section at Home Depot. Anyone know how to use it as an herb?

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Re: Bee Balm

Post  greatgranny on 7/22/2012, 9:12 pm

@AvaDGardner wrote:That's so pretty! I wish mine looked like that.

I planted a starter this year, and it has produced flowers but they are brown and long and thin, kinda like a tiny immature corn cob. I'm very disappointed. Nothing to interest a bee.

Mine would be counted among the dwarf's, and it did not like the 87 degree heat we had the last two days. It's all sprawled out like it fainted.

It was in the herb section at Home Depot. Anyone know how to use it as an herb?

Ava

Here are a couple of sites that make reference of the uses:

http://www.naturalnews.com/036237_bee_balm_healing_cooking.html

http://www.altnature.com/gallery/beebalm.htm

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Re: Bee Balm

Post  nycquilter on 7/23/2012, 8:05 am

I love love love my bee balm. In addition to attracting bees, hummingbirds love her too. I have devoted an entire area of my yard to bee balm and love her taste and smell. You can dry her leaves and make teas.

From the SusunWeed.com website comes: Medicinal Uses: Indians made a decoction of the leaves and treated chills by bathing the patient with it; the dried herb was boiled and the vapors were inhaled for bronchial ailments; a decoction of the root was drunk for stomach disorders; and a tea of leaves and flowers was used for bronchial problems. The pioneers made a lotion of boiled leaves for treating pimples and skin eruptions. A plant infusion has been used to reduce fever and treat headaches, colds, and sore throats. Some Indians in New Mexico dry and pulverize the plant and rub it on the forehead to relieve headache. It is still sometimes used in modern herbalism. An infusion is used internally in the treatment of colds, catarrh, headaches, gastric disorders, aching kidneys, to reduce low fevers and soothe sore throats. Externally, it is applied as a poultice to skin eruptions, cuts etc and as a wash for sore eyes. The leaves can be harvested before the plant flowers, or they can be harvested with the flowering stems. They can be used fresh or dried. The leaves also contain 'thymol', an essential oil that can be used to expel gas from the digestive tract.

for more medicinal benefits, check out Matthew Woods' website, also. Both Susun and Matthew are herbalists par excellence.

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Re: Bee Balm

Post  greatgranny on 7/20/2013, 2:39 pm

Where is my camera when I need it?  Yesterday the bees were having a party over all of my bee balm.  Along comes male hummingbird.  He was going from blossom to blossom and the bees just kept doing what they were doing.  A bit later a female humming bird came and the male came diving in and made a noise like he was scolding her.  She took off and he came back to the bee balm.  I just had to laugh because I have never heard the sound of a hummingbird before.  He then went and sat on the top of my trellis.  When I decided to head to the house to get the camera, he took off and didn't return.

By the way, I divided my original and planted one in each square this spring.  They are loaded with blooms.  I wish I knew more about bees because there are many varieties busy.  As a result, my melons, squash and cukes are all making fruit.  

Do eggplant and peppers need pollinators?  If so, that could explain why my eggplant are loaded this year.

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Re: Bee Balm

Post  Marc Iverson on 7/20/2013, 3:22 pm

I went to the nursery and saw a beautiful plant that to my inexperienced eye looked like a lavender with very dark purple flowers. The gardener there told me it was a veronica. I said I loved its looks and how the bees were swarming it. She said it seems to attract even more bees than the bees balm, and took me to see that.

The bees balm plants had bees on them too, but not as many. Cool looking flower, tall plant.

She did warn me that bees balm can spread through your garden and be hard to control. Like mint, I asked? Yep. She then pointed out that the veronica I was looking at isn't hard to keep in control.

So that decided it for me. I got the veronica. But I wouldn't mind getting the bees balm sometime too. I've got many many tomato flowers but comparatively few tomatoes, and not all that many bees. Maybe a double dose of veronica and bee balm would be just the ticket.

One more thing I liked about the veronica -- it's a perennial. So you can plant it and have a big-time bee attractor permanently. Not sure if bee balm is perennial or not.

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Re: Bee Balm

Post  CapeCoddess on 7/20/2013, 3:26 pm

Marc, I allow the clover to grow in my lawn each year. Result: tons of bees, tons of toms!

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Re: Bee Balm

Post  sanderson on 7/20/2013, 4:02 pm

Can you plant the bees balm and veronica in permanent pots? You could move them around if you rotate planting. ??

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Re: Bee Balm

Post  nycquilter on 7/20/2013, 4:11 pm

bee balm is, indeed, a perennial. She is in the mint family so that would explain it. To know if something is in the mint family, check out the stem. If it is square, with four 90* corners, it is a mint family member. I went to pick flowers today to put in a vase but there were so many busy, working bees that I couldn't cut any!

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Re: Bee Balm

Post  camprn on 7/20/2013, 4:39 pm

I love the flavor too, one reason I prefer Earl Grey tea. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monarda_didyma

That is a funny story about the hummingbirds. They are VERY territorial about a juicy food source.

The bees seem to love all blue flowers. I need to get some types of veronica too. My bee balm is slowly spreading. I have 5 different varieties fro light pink to the deepest red. My white clover is almost all done in the yard/meadow. I am sure the grumpy, mute, scowling neighbor will be happy when I finally mow the lawn/meadow.

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Re: Bee Balm

Post  nycquilter on 7/20/2013, 4:47 pm

Monarda, though called bergamot, is not the same as bergamot oil used in Earl Grey tea. I checked my recall of this and found the following from Wikipedia:

Citrus bergamia, the [b style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: sans-serif; line-height: 19.1875px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"]Bergamot orange[/b] (pronounced standard English: /ˈbɜːɡəˌmɒt/ orGenAm /ˈbɝɡəˌmɑt/), is a fragrant fruit the size of an orange, with a yellow colour similar to a lemon.


Later, it says "The bergamot orange is unrelated to the herbs known as bergamot or wild bergamot,Monarda didyma and Monarda fistulosa, which are in the mint family. The active ingredients in bergamot juice are neoeriocitrinnaringinneohesperidinponceritinmelitidin, andbrutieridin. Melitidin and brutieridin, only recently discovered, exist only in citrus bergamot, and exhibit statin-like properties.[10] Synephrine is not present in citrus bergamot."


However, the Monarda we grow and love has many medicinal virtues of her own. Plus, she is delicious. All parts are edible--leaves, flowers and stems. 

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Re: Bee Balm

Post  camprn on 7/20/2013, 4:53 pm

Yes, it said that right in the wikipedia entry, flavor similar.

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Re: Bee Balm

Post  Marc Iverson on 7/20/2013, 6:01 pm

@sanderson wrote:Can you plant the bees balm and veronica in permanent pots? You could move them around if you rotate planting. ??

I was thinking of doing that myself! Moving a few pots to wherever the most blossoms are ... GMTA!

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