Bee balm, known botanically as Monarda fistulosa and commonly as wild bergamot, is a flowering perennial herb belonging to the mint family. It has a long flowering season from late spring through early fall and is naturalized in prairies, pastures and open fields, according to Butler University. Bee balm is also grown as a cultivated garden plant for its decorative lavender to rose blooms, sweet fragrance and edible leaves as well as to attract bees and butterflies. Pruning throughout the growing season spurs new flower development.
Deadhead spent flowers as they wilt and fade. Cut each stem back to its base in the crown of the plant. Pull each cut flower stem from the bee balm plant mass and compost or discard it.
Prune damaged, discolored, diseased, bent or otherwise compromised stems, foliage and flower tissues as needed throughout the growing season. Grooming and eradication of problem tissues ensure that disease and damage does not spread and stunt growth or bloom performance in your bee balm.
Allow a number of flower heads to remain on the plant and develop seed heads each year. The flower petals will die back and a seed head will form, mature and release the seeds, self-sowing them into the soil and developing into new flowering plants later in the season and in the following years.
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