Although bee balm is usually found in herb gardens, its bright pink and red blooms make it a standout in the flower garden as well. Hummingbirds and butterflies are attracted to bee balm. Pick the flowers frequently and they'll continue to bloom for weeks. Snip a few blooms and add them to a fruit salad or tossed salad, or dry the leaves for a hot cup of bee balm tea.
Choose a dry, sunny location to plant bee balm. Although bee balm can grow in partial shade, sunlight will encourage brighter, bigger blooms and will help prevent powdery mildew. Bee balm roots can be invasive, so if this is a concern, keep it separate from other plants or give it plenty of growing space.
Work some compost or manure into the top of the soil. Plant the bee balm seeds 2 to 3 inches deep and water them well. After the seedlings sprout, cut back on water; bee balm should be kept moist but not soggy.
Gather bee balm for cut flowers, or snip the blooms for garnish as often as you like. Doing so will encourage more blooms throughout midsummer.
Dry bee balm by clipping a few stems, then gather them loosely with a rubber band. Hang them upside down in a ventilated space or put them in a brown paper bag until they're completely dry. To preserve the dried bee balm, crush the blooms and leaves with your fingers and store them in an airtight container.