How to Trim Bee Balm

Overview

Bee balms have much to offer the gardener. Single or double flowers bloom profusely from early to late summer in reds, whites and pinks. Even the hummingbirds and butterflies adore them. Aside from their pleasing aesthetic properties, bee balms offer herbs and flavorings for culinary enthusiasts. They tolerate a wide range of living conditions, and some will even thrive in bog gardens. These plants multiply easily and are practically carefree. With a little productive trimming, even the novice can enjoy the maximum benefits of growing bee balms.

Step 1

Shorten very tall bee balm plants by pruning before they bloom, if you wish. Use clean, sharp scissors or shears to cut them back by about 3 to 6 inches when the flower buds are just beginning to form during the spring. It makes taller, more top-heavy bee balms easier to manage and less likely to fall over due to excessive bulk. The only downside of this technique is that it will reduce the number of blooms the plant will produce during the season.

Step 2

Cut bee balm blooms freely throughout the growing season. These tall flowers are impressive in arrangements.

Step 3

Harvest bee balm flowers and leaves as desired throughout the season for culinary use.

Step 4

Deadhead bee balms as soon as blooms fade and die. Trim the stem to just above the first bud below the spent flower. This will encourage increased bud formation and extend the blooming period.

Step 5

Cut bee balm flower stems back to ground level following the last flush of bloom in late summer. This will produce lush foliar growth from the base of the plant until frost.

Step 6

Cut plants back to about 1 to 2 inches above ground following the first killing frost of the year.

Things You'll Need

  • Clean, sharp scissors or shears

References

  • National Gardening Association: Plant Care Guides -- Bee Balm
  • The Master Gardeners: Tips on Summer Care of Perennial Gardens
  • Brooklyn Botanic Garden: Herbs for a Tea Garden
Keywords: bee balm, bergamot, how to trim bee balm

About this Author

Axl J. Amistaadt began as a part-time amateur freelance writer in 1985, turned professional in 2005, and became a full-time writer in 2007. Amistaadt’s major focus is publishing material for GardenGuides. Areas of expertise include home gardening, horticulture, alternative and home remedies, pets, wildlife, handcrafts, cooking, and juvenile science experiments.