Bee balm is that charismatic cousin at the family reunion, always buzzing with bees and butterflies, making every garden gathering a lively affair.
But just like any party pro, bee balm knows it’s all about the company it keeps.
Yep, pair it with the right buddies, and your garden’s gonna pop like a 4th of July firework.
Don’t fret if you’re unsure about the who’s who of the plant world.
Cause I’ve got the down-low on which plants make the best companions for our beloved bee balm.
By the end of this green-thumbed guide, you’ll be pairing plants like a pro, crafting a garden that’s a veritable Eden for your bee balm and its besties.
Table of Contents
Best Companion Plants for Bee Balm
Bee balm is a versatile and attractive plant that offers many benefits in your garden.
By selecting suitable companion plants, you can enhance both the visual appeal and health of your garden.
Let’s check out the best companion plants for bee balm, focusing on flowering plant companions and vegetable and herb companions.
Flowering Plant Companions
Here’s a look at some of our favorite flowering plants that pair well with bee balm.
Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia Hirta): This short-lived perennial with striking yellow, orange, and red blooms makes an excellent companion for bee balm.
Both plants attract beneficial insects and share similar growing conditions, such as full sun and well-drained soil.
Phlox: Phlox shares the same preferred growing conditions as bee balm.
Their bright, colorful flowers complement the appearance of bee balm, making them a great partner in flower beds.
Additionally, they serve as a magnet for pollinators.
Echinacea (Coneflower): Echinacea purpurea, or coneflowers, pair well with bee balm as they both attract beneficial insects and share similar growing needs.
These perennials also provide a striking visual contrast, with their large, daisy-like flowers.
Peonies: Peonies are another flowering plant that shares similar growing conditions with bee balm.
Their luxurious blooms and lush foliage make for a visually appealing combination in the garden.
Coral Bells: These plants offer beautiful foliage color and delicate blooms that contrast nicely with bee balm’s vibrant flowers.
They both enjoy well-drained soil and moderate sun exposure.
Vegetable and Herb Companions
Here’s a look at some of our favorite veggie and herb plants that pair well with bee balm.
Tomatoes (Solanum Lycopersicum): Planting tomatoes near bee balm can bring excellent benefits to both plants.
Bee balm helps attract bees for pollination, improving the quality and flavor of your tomatoes.
Additionally, bee balm’s minty scent repels pests that may harm tomato plants.
Squash: The Three Sisters Garden method, used by Native American tribes, demonstrates the effectiveness of companion planting with corn, beans, and squash.
Bee balm can be integrated into this system, resulting in healthier and more productive plants for all.
Roses: Planting bee balm near roses can help attract pollinators to your rose bushes, promoting better blossoms.
Bee balm’s fragrant foliage also discourages pests that may otherwise bother your rose plants.
Oswego Tea (Monarda Didyma): This herb, which is in the same genus as bee balm, shares similar growing conditions and can be planted as a companion for a harmonious, attractive garden.
Benefits of Companion Planting with Bee Balms
Companion planting with bee balms offers numerous advantages for your garden.
By choosing the right companion plants, you’ll end up enhancing the visual appeal of your garden and promote a healthy, thriving ecosystem.
One of the key benefits of companion planting with bee balms is the attraction of pollinators.
Bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies are all drawn to the vibrant colors and sweet nectar of bee balms.
These pollinators will help increase the productivity of your garden by pollinating flowers and improving overall plant health.
Incorporating bee balm companion plants also helps attract beneficial insects to your garden.
Carnivorous insects like lady beetles, green lacewings, and paper wasps will naturally come to the garden when they sense the fragrant bergamot aroma of the bee balm.
These insects are essential for controlling common garden pests, reducing the need for chemical insecticides, and promoting a balanced ecosystem.
Another advantage of planting bee balms with compatible plants is their ability to create aesthetically pleasing combinations. Bee balms come in various colors, including pink, purple, and red, and blending them with other flowering plants can produce stunning visual effects.
For instance, the bright yellow flowers of black-eyed Susans complement the vivid hues of bee balms, creating a captivating display in your garden.
By choosing the right companions for your bee balms, you can foster an environment that promotes healthy plant growth and creates a visually appealing garden.
Not only will you be rewarded with an enchanting landscape, but you’ll also enjoy the benefits brought about by the increased activity of pollinators and beneficial insects.
Growing Conditions for Bee Balm and Companions
Bee balm (Monarda), also known as wild bergamot or horsemint, is a fragrant, low-maintenance herbaceous perennial native to North America.
It thrives in well-draining, acidic to neutral pH soil with a preference for full sun or partial shade.
With proper planting and care, bee balm and its companions, such as black-eyed Susans, phlox paniculata, and lilac, can offer a beautiful and fragrant addition to your garden.
To start, prepare a planting area in early spring by incorporating compost or other organic matter to improve soil fertility.
This helps bee balm and its companions establish strong root systems and promotes healthy blooming throughout the growing season.
Once your soil is prepared, plant bee balm and its companions, ensuring they have enough space to grow without overcrowding.
Bee balm enjoys full sun to light shade, allowing at least six hours of sunlight daily for optimal growth.
Its companions, like phlox paniculata and black-eyed Susans, also appreciate similar lighting conditions.
Keep in mind that when placed in partial shade, they may require additional care to prevent powdery mildew and aphids.
Water your bee balm and companions regularly, ensuring well-draining soil to avoid root rot and other issues caused by excess moisture.
Allow the soil to dry slightly between waterings, and keep an eye out for common pests like aphids.
For aphid control, you can use natural remedies or attract beneficial insects like lady beetles.
Fertilize bee balm and its companions with a balanced fertilizer or compost during the growing season to support their growth and flowering.
However, be careful not to over-fertilize, as excessive nitrogen can lead to lush foliage with fewer blooms.
When it comes to perennials like bee balm, regular pruning throughout the growing season is essential.
Deadhead spent blooms to encourage continuous blooming, and trim back any dead or damaged foliage to maintain the plant’s health and appearance.
Pruning also helps increase air circulation, reducing potential for diseases like powdery mildew.
In addition to bee balm’s traditional companions, like black-eyed Susans and phlox paniculata, consider incorporating drought-tolerant grasses or other native perennials for a more diverse and resilient garden design.
Planting bee balm in a vegetable garden can also be beneficial, as its fragrant oils can repel certain pests and attract pollinators to ensure successful yields.
Additional Companion Planting Tips
Here’s a few more tips for ya on bee balm companion plants.
Plant Compatibility and Nutrients
When planning your garden with bee balm (Monarda didyma) and its companion plants, it’s important to consider factors like plant compatibility and nutrient requirements.
As an herbaceous perennial, bee balm thrives in direct sunlight, well-draining soil, and consistent moisture. Companion plants ideally should have similar preferences.
A few of our favorite suitable companion plants for bee balm include:
- Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum): Tomato plants pair well with bee balm, since both share similar nutrient needs and growing conditions. Cultivating bee balm also helps deter insect pests and attract pollinators.
- Peony: These ornamental plants are compatible with bee balm due to their complementary colors and shared preferences for sunlight and soil conditions.
- Yarrow (Achillea) and Lavender: These herbaceous perennials feature attractive, daisy-like flowers and make excellent companions for bee balm. They provide additional interest and support pollinator activity.
Remember that it’s crucial to space plants appropriately to avoid competition for nutrients.
Considerations for Ornamental and Functional Gardens
Companion planting with bee balm goes beyond just aesthetics to provide other benefits.
Some companion plants such as cucurbita species (squash, cucumbers, zucchini), and peppers help create a functional, edible garden.
Besides, they benefit from bee balm’s pest-repelling properties and pollinator attraction.
For an ornamental garden, balance bee balm’s vibrant colors with complementary plants such as:
- Buddleia: Also known as butterfly bush, it’s an excellent choice for adding visual interest and supporting pollinator activity.
- Oregano: This herb provides a pleasant aroma and texture contrast to bee balm, further enhancing the garden’s appearance.
Consider utilizing plants with varying heights, such as bee balm, cut flowers, and seed heads, for an appealing layered look.
Cluster plants with similar nutrient requirements and sunlight preferences for optimal growth.
Divide and replant bee balms every 3-4 years, ensuring they have enough room to grow and preventing overcrowding.
By carefully considering plant compatibility, nutrients, and style preferences, you can create a beautiful, functional, and harmonious bee balm companion garden.