Bee Balm (Monarda) Planting & Growing Guide

Bee Balm, also known by its botanical name Monarda, is loved by gardeners everywhere for its numerous medical applications, easy maintenance, and of course, brilliant blossoms. These cheerful flowers arrive in a stunning firework display of bright pinks, reds, and purples. Plus, every pollinator around, including bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, will come by to indulge in the sweet nectar of these beauties. So, are you ready to grow your own? Read on to get all the dirt on growing gorgeous Bee Balm!

  • Planting Depth
    Potted: At Soil Line
  • Planting Proximity
    Varies; 18" Apart
  • Planting Season
  • Plant Benefits
    Monarda is loved by pollinators! The foliage smells good too.
  • Water Quantity
  • Bloom Season
  • Sunlight Quantity
    Full Sun to Partial Shade
  • Hardiness Zones
    Zones 4-9

Where to Plant

Plant your Bee Balm in a spot where it will receive plenty of sunlight and evenly moist soil rich in organic matter. While these plants will tolerate lighter soils and partial shade (particularly in hotter regions), they tend to become leggy with fewer flowers. Additionally, boggy conditions or arid soils are not tolerated over extended periods.

When to Plant

Bee Balm can be planted in the spring or fall, as both times yield outstanding results. However, it's wise to trim back the foliage to send energy down to the roots when planting in the fall. Clusters of tubular flowers will emerge from mid to late summer.

How to Plant

  • Find a location with evenly moist, rich soil where your Bee Balm will receive plenty of sunlight.
  • Remove the plant from its starter pot and shake off any loose soil from the root.
  • Dig holes 18 to 24" apart and plant, ensuring the surrounding soil is level with the starter pot soil.
  • Water thoroughly after planting to settle the soil around the plants.

How to Grow

  • Water regularly to keep the soil evenly moist during active growth.
  • Apply mulch around the plants to lock in moisture and control weed growth.
  • Introduce an organic fertilizer if your plants do not appear to be thriving.
  • Deadhead faded flowers throughout the growing season to encourage more blooms.
  • Cut the stems back after the first frost in the fall.

Bee Balm Tips & Tricks

  • Promote a new flush of blooms by deadheading or removing spent flowers during active growth.
  • Expect butterflies, bees, and other happy pollinators to visit the flowers in droves.
  • Feel free to snip the flower stems when in bloom for stunning bouquets, as doing so will not hurt the plants.
  • Pair Bee Balm with other colorful plants that fancy the same conditions, such as Echinacea, Daylilies, or Phlox.
  • Reduce watering if you notice powdery mildew on the foliage, which commonly occurs when the humidity is too high.
  • Leave the last seed heads on the plants over the winter if you wish to give surrounding birds a snack.
  • Divide your plants every 2 to 3 years in the spring to keep them healthy, as Bee Balm spreads rapidly, and this will help maintain its vigor.
  • Provide stakes for taller varieties in areas with high winds.