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Growing Bee Balm from Seed

Bee balm is a perennial flowering herb in the mint family, growing well in zones 3-9. It’s tall stalks and colorful flowers attract butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. Bee balm spreads easily on its own. Oftentimes, gardeners choose to divide and transplant it, but bee balm can also be grown from seeds.

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Bee Balm Planting Area

Selecting an optimal garden area for bee balm is important for the plant’s health. Choose an area that gets full sun for most of the day. Bee balm like soil that has a pH level between 6.0 and 6.7. Bee balms thrive in soil that is well drained. If your soil is hard and compacted, adding compost will improve the drainage. Avoid soggy soil as the roots can become waterlogged.

Gathering Bee Balm Seeds

You can purchase bee balm seeds or harvest seeds from your own bee balm plant. Wait until fall, when the growing season is completed. Instead of deadheading the plant, allow the flowers and stalks to dry out and turn brown. Once dry, cover the plant with a bag. Cut the plant ensuring that the entire stalk falls into the bag. Shake the contents of the bag and the seeds will fall off. Allow the seeds to dry completely and store in a plastic bag or container.

How to Plant Bee balm Seeds

Sowing Indoors

The indoor germination process should begin in the early spring. A general rule is to start 8 weeks before that last frost happens. You can start the seeds in small pots or seedling trays. Using a rich fertile potting mix, sow 4-5 seeds in a pot or 2 seeds per seedling slot. Do not cover the seeds with a lot of soil. The seeds will need light to germinate. If possible, provide direct light above the seedling. Water the seedlings daily with a spray bottle. The temperature in the room should not go below 55 degrees. Once the root system forms, the last frost has happened, and the weather is warm, plant the bee balm outdoors.

Sowing Outdoors

Prepare the garden area by removing weeds, debris, and other plant life. MIx the soil with organic matter and/or new garden soil. Bee balm can grow 2-4 feet tall with a spread of 1-2 feet. Plant the seeds 12-18 inches apart from other plants. Sow the seeds on the surface of the soil. Do not cover with top soil. 4-5 seeds will produce one bee balm plant. Water often so that the seeds can set and not blow away. Once the plants grow taller, you can add mulch around the base of each plant.

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What You Need to Plant Bee Balm Seeds

  • Small pots or seedling trays
  • Spray bottle of water
  • Small garden spade
  • Shovel
  • Potting soil
  • Compost
  • Direct lighting