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How to Trim Bee Balm

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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

Care For Bee Balm

Plant bee balm in a garden bed with rich soil that retains moisture well. Select a site that receives full sun or partial afternoon shade to encourage the best flowering. Trim out leaves affected by powdery growth on their surface and dispose of them to prevent any mildew problems from spreading. Keep the soil moist at all times and don't allow it to dry out completely. Spread a 2-inch layer of mulch around the base of the bee balm plant to help suppress weeds and retain the moisture in the soil.

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