Fun Facts About Bee Balm
There are a variety of plants in the Bee Balm family that are native to North Carolina. Most of them are aromatic and many of them are even downright tasty.
The Bee Balm plants traveled up the Atlantic coast by hitching a ride with the Native American trade routes. Its multi-purpose uses gave this little flower a large popularity.
The Native Americans gave the bloom the name Bee Balm because they would use it topically, in the same way, we might use lip balm. It has antiseptic properties that are great for wounds and substantially reduce the swelling of bee stings.
Another use for this plant is to crush it into a tea to treat lung ailments like the flu and common cold.
In fact, after the Boston Tea Party, on December 16th, 1773, Bee Balm became a very popular beverage. The reason for this was because its citrus scent is similar to the bergamot orange - the flavor showcased in the famously British Earl Grey tea that Americans had loved and stopped consuming.
Oddly enough these booming blooms can symbolize our independence from Britain by resembling fireworks. They also start to bloom right as July 4th starts to mark our calendar.
Planting Requirements For Bee Balm
Light: Bee Balm is best planted in full sun, though it will tolerate shade in hotter areas, and can benefit from afternoon shade in very warm climates, which will protect plants from heat and lengthen the flowering season.
Soil: It does best in evenly moist soil rich in organic matter. It can tolerate lighter soil, but richer soil will encourage taller, stronger specimens. Boggy conditions are not tolerated, nor are soils that are allowed to dry out for long periods of time.
Spacing: These plants should be spaced 18-24 inches apart.
Planting Time: Plant Bee Balm in spring or fall, once all chances of frost have passed.
Zones: Bee Balm grows well in hardiness zones 3-9.
Time of Bloom: This booming bloom begins in July and will continue to bloom throughout late summer.