Bee Balm, A Beautiful And Useful Plant For Your Garden


By: Monica Resinger

Description and Growing Information

Bee Balm is a very pretty herb with a wonderful fruity, minty aroma. The gorgeous tubular flowers, held like a crown at the top of the 3-4 foot stems in mid and late summer come in a lot of colors including red, pink and purple. On top of all these qualities, it is a hardy perennial herb that will grow in all zones. Bee Balm requires full sun or light shade and fertile, light and moist soil. It is best propagated by division or cuttings rather than seed because the seed isn't always true to the parent plant.

In the Garden

Bee Balm is so pretty it should be included in your flower beds. It will attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden. I know it's hard to welcome bees into the garden, but remember that we need them to pollinate our plants. Good partners for Bee Balm are Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), Black Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia), and Lavender (Lavandula).

Uses

Tea. This is a wonderful tea herb. To make a cup of tea, simply place tablespoon of fresh or one teaspoon of dried Bee Balm leaves and/or flowers in a tea strainer or tea spoon and pour one cup of boiling water over it. Allow it to steep for ten minutes and bring the tea out. Sweeten if you wish and enjoy.

Cut Flowers. The flowers make excellent cut flowers. Be sure to cut the stems at an angle so they can take up water.

Culinary. Chop the leaves and flowers and add to fruit salads for extra flavor. Garnish any type of salad with the leaves and flowers.

Preserving

The leaves and flowers of Bee Balm can be dried and used for potpourri or tea. To dry, bundle 8-10 stems with a rubber band at the cut end and hang upside down until crisp to the touch. Crush and store in airtight containers out of direct sunlight.

Monica Resinger publishes an e-mail newsletter for homemakers that poses fun questions to readers about organizing, crafting, gardening, frugal living and other homemaking subjects; readers can respond to the questions and receive the resulting, very informative 'tip sheet'.  If you'd like to join the fun, send a blank e-mail to: HomemakersJournal-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.

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