Grow bee balm from seed for a beautiful addition to your flower garden.
image by Reenie-Just Reenie: flickr.com (http://www.flickr.com/photos/flickrchickr/899785974/)
Many gardeners enjoy the beauty and scent of scarlet bee balm in a flower garden. These perennial plants bloom in mid to late summer with fuzzy, deep pink blossoms. Bee balm is a native North American plant with many uses. Not only is bee balm a beautiful addition to any flowerbed, but the plant also is used in making potpourris and lotions. Additionally, the flowers are edible and you may use the leaves for tea.
Work a sunny growing area in the spring when frost threat is over. Add approximately 1 inch of compost to the top of the soil and work it in well. Rake the soil surface smooth.
Plant the seeds under 1/8-inch of soil. Space each seed 1 foot apart. Water the newly planted seeds lightly.
Watch for the seeds to sprout within approximately two weeks. Keep the soil evenly moist during the germination process.
Wait until the seedlings are several inches tall and apply the humus around the edges of the planting area to add nutrients to the soil.
Add the shredded mulch over the roots during the summer heat to protect the roots from high temperatures. Give the plants additional water if rainfall is less than 1 inch per week.
Stake the stems if they seem like they need support. Gently tie the stems to the stakes with twine.
Harvest bee balm for tea or potpourri by cutting between eight and 10 stems from the plant. Tie the stems together and hang them upside down until they are completely dry and brittle to the touch. Crush the dried stems, leaves and blossoms and store in a sealed container until you are ready to use.