How to Care for Bee Balm Flowers


If you're looking for a brightly blooming plant that will grow all summer long with little attention, bee balm is an excellent choice. Bee balm (Monarda didyma) can often be seen growing along roadsides, on prairies, and in flower beds, where the blooms attract honeybees, hummingbirds and butterflies. Bee balm flowers are available in a range of hues, including purple, white, red, lavender and pink.

Step 1

Plant bee balm in full sunlight and well-drained soil. Although bee balm can be grown in partial shade, blooming will be diminished.

Step 2

Water bee balm once every week, wetting the soil to a depth of 8 inches. Apply a 1- to 2-inch layer of mulch such as shredded bark around the plants to conserve moisture and control weeds. Don't allow the mulch to pile up on the plants.

Step 3

Fertilize bee balm once a year, in early spring. Use an all-purpose granular fertilizer sprinkled on the soil around the plant. Bee balm is a light feeder and won't do well with heavy, frequent fertilizing.

Step 4

Deadhead, or pinch off, wilted blooms to encourage the plant to continue blooming as long as possible.

Step 5

Divide bee balm in early spring every two to three years. Dig the clump of bee balm with a garden fork or shovel. Discard the old, woody center of the plant and divide the clump into three or four sections. Replant the sections immediately.

Things You'll Need

  • Mulch
  • All-purpose granular fertilizer
  • Garden fork or shovel


  • Iowa State University: Growing Bee Balms in the Home Garden
  • Cornell University: Bee Balm
Keywords: fertilize bee balm, plant bee balm, water bee balm

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.