So, you’ve caught wind of the bee balm buzz and are thinking of inviting this blooming beauty into your garden party.
But hold up, there’s a whisper going around the gardening grapevine: Is bee balm the life of the party or is it that guest that overstays its welcome?
In simpler terms — is this stunner invasive? Yes it is!
Now, as someone who’s spent more time among plants than Netflix binges (and trust me, that’s saying something!), I’ve seen how plants can play nice… and how some can play not-so-nice.
And bee balm? Well, let’s just say it’s got a rep.
Stick with me, fellow plant aficionados, as we dive deep into the world of bee balm, unpack its habits, and answer that burning question: Is bee balm the garden guest you’ve been waiting for or the crasher you didn’t see coming?
Table of Contents
Is Bee Balm An Invasive Plant?
Before planting bee balm in your garden, this is what you need to know.
Invasiveness in North America
Bee balm, also known as Monarda, is a popular and attractive flower that is well-known throughout North America.
The plant is beloved by many pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.
Although bee balm has positive attributes, it can be invasive under certain conditions, especially in North America.
The invasiveness of bee balm can be attributed to its growth habit, which includes spreading through underground rhizomes and creating new runners.
These runners allow the plant to spread quickly, sometimes becoming a nuisance in gardens or wild areas.
Controlling the Spread of Bee Balm
Luckily, bee balm is a forgiving plant, and you can effectively control its spread.
To manage bee balm plants, try dividing them periodically.
You can achieve this by:
- Digging: Carefully dig between the mother plant and its new shoots, severing the roots connecting them.
- Root Barriers: Installing root barriers in the soil can help prevent the underground rhizomes from spreading too far.
- Container Planting: Contain the growth of bee balm by planting it in individual containers or compartments in the garden. This method can help keep invasive characteristics in check.
By taking steps to control its growth and spread, you can still enjoy the beautiful and vibrant flowers of bee balm without letting it become a problem in your garden or natural areas.
How Long Does It Take for Monarda to Spread?
Bee balm, or Monarda, is a popular perennial plant known for its vibrant flowers that attract pollinators.
While it is a beautiful addition to your garden, you might be concerned about its potential to spread.
Let’s discuss how long it takes for Monarda to spread and how you can manage its growth.
The rate at which Monarda spreads depends on factors like its growing conditions and the particular species planted.
In general, it can spread reasonably quickly due to its rhizomatous roots.
Within a couple of growing seasons, Monarda can establish itself and spread to fill empty spaces in your garden.
To prevent unwanted spreading, you can take several steps.
First, consider planting Monarda in a container or designated area where its growth will be limited.
Another option is to regularly check for and remove new shoots that come from its rhizomes.
By doing this, you can maintain control over the plant’s growth and enjoy its beauty without worrying about it taking over your garden.
Additionally, ensure that you provide Monarda with optimal growing conditions, such as adequate sunlight, well-draining soil, and proper spacing.
This will help the plant focus on growing healthy foliage and flowers rather than aggressively spreading.
So, while Monarda can spread relatively quickly, you can manage its growth with proper care and maintenance.
By following these tips, you can enjoy the vibrant blooms of Monarda in your garden without concern about it becoming invasive.
Tips for Controlling Monarda From Spreading
While bee balm can easily spread and become invasive, controlling its growth is manageable by following these tips.
First, consider using rhizome barriers.
These barriers prevent the roots from spreading and help to keep your bee balm contained within the desired area.
Simply install the barrier around the plant to restrict its growth.
- Made in the USA from Durable High Density Polyethylene (HDPE), available in 3 sizes:
- Cold climates use 24-inch depth by 60-mil thick.
- Warm climates use 30-inch depth by 80-mil thick.
- Tropical climates use 36-inch depth by 100-mil thick.
Another approach is planting bee balm in pots.
By growing Monarda in a pot, you can effectively restrict its growth and manage its invasion.
This passive method is convenient and also makes it easy for you to propagate the plant if necessary.
When it comes to providing optimal care for your bee balm, ensure that the soil is consistently moist but not waterlogged.
This promotes healthy growth without encouraging excessive spreading.
Proper air circulation is also critical for maintaining the plant’s health and addressing potential issues like powdery mildew.
Additionally, during the growing season, support your bee balm with a balanced fertilizer once a month.
This will keep the plant healthy and ensure an abundant supply of nectar for your visiting pollinators, such as bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.
- PGF Balanced 10-10-10 is a professional grade fertilizer with extremely fine particle size ensuring every square inch of your lawn/garden receives the same amount of nutrients
- Can be used any time during the growing season but is ideal for spring and fall applications on lawns, gardens and flower beds
- Contains all quick-release nitrogen to provide the plant with immediate nutrition
- Includes micronutrients and 2% iron for extra-deep greening - Blow off sidewalks and driveways after application to avoid staining
By following these tips, you can successfully control Monarda’s spreading in your garden, making it a sustainable and attractive addition for both you and the pollinators it serves.