Bee Balm Not Blooming: Why Won’t My Bee Balm Flower
By: Liz Baessler
Bee balm is a beloved plant in many flower and butterfly gardens. With its beautiful, unique looking flowers, it attracts pollinators and delights gardeners. It’s for all these reasons that it can be a real downer when your bee balm doesn’t bloom. Keep reading to learn more about what to do when there are no flowers on bee balm plants in your garden.
Reasons Bee Balm Doesn’t Bloom
Why won’t my bee balm flower? It may be due to one of a number of reasons. The most common problem is a lack of sun. Bee balm thrives in full sun, and most varieties need 6 to 8 hours of sunlight per day in order to bloom well. Bee balm that doesn’t get enough sunlight is also often leggy looking. If your bee balm is showing both of these symptoms, try relocating it to a sunnier spot. Alternatively, look for special cultivars that are designed to thrive in the shade.
Another common problem is over fertilization. Bee balm plants are light feeders, and too much fertilizer (especially if it’s rich in nitrogen) can result in lots of leafy growth and very few flowers.
Another common problem with bee balm is improper water or humidity. The plants like moderate irrigation – during periods of drought, water deeply once per week. If you live in a particularly humid climate, your bee balm may have trouble blooming to its fullest potential.
Your problem could also be age. Every three years or so, bee balm plants naturally start to bloom less because they get overcrowded. Try digging up and dividing your plant to rejuvenate it. You can also achieve rejuvenation within a single growing season.
If your plant has bloomed a little and faded, remove all the spent blooms. Deadheading bee balm should bring about a second round of flowering later in the summer.
This article was last updated on
How long does it take for bee balm to grow?
You can grow bee balm from seed, but it establishes quicker when planted from divisions from a friend's garden or purchased plants from your local garden center. Like other herbs in the mint family, bee balm is considered to be a bit invasive. It will easily self-sow and also spreads by underground rhizomes.
Additionally, does bee balm spread? Bee balms spread rapidly via underground stems or stolons. In addition, the centers of the clumps often die out within a few years. To control their spread and rejuvenate the plants, it's usually necessary to dig and divide bee balms every 2 to 3 years. Dig up the plants as soon as they emerge from the ground.
In this manner, does bee balm come back every year?
The bee balm plant is a North American native, thriving in woodland areas. Also known by its botanical name of Monarda, bee balm is very attractive to bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Bee balm plants are perennial, coming back year after year to add cheerful color to your garden.
How do you keep bee balm blooming?
Cut back the flowering stems to within 1/4-inch of a leaf or leaf bud near the top of the stem. After deadheading, rake up and dispose of or compost the removed flowers. Bee balm begins flowering in midsummer and each flower cluster can persist for several weeks.
Bee Balm Varieties
Bee balm flowers in pink, red and white and bloom in early to late summer. You can find compact or miniature versions, as well as big, rangy, bold varieties.
Eastern Bee Balm
Eastern bee balm is a lovely purple variety that produces a lot of nectar. Like all bee balm, it will attract bees, butterflies, and if you’re lucky, hummingbirds. It’s common in the central and southeast United States.
Lemon Bee Balm
This annual is a wildflower but it’s also cultivated by bee balm lovers. When you crush the foliage, a pleasant lemon aroma fills the garden. Lemon bee balm has thin, grass-like leaves and is a compact grower.
Crimson Bee Balm
The perennial ornamental produces red, white, purple, or pink flowers. It’s native to the eastern half of the U.S. and features a delicious orange scent.
Spotted Bee Balm
This type is an annual and perennial depending on where it’s planted. Spotted bee balm has a pleasant thyme aroma and attracts beneficial insects that get rid of other pests.
Other varieties include:
- Petite Wonder (Pink flowers)
- Petite Delight (Pink flowers)
- Marshall’s Delight (Powdery mildew resistant)
- Jacob Cline (Powdery mildew resistant)
- Raspberry Wine (Deep red flowers)
Bee balm won't bloom
i have planted bee balm 3 years in a row. the first year it bloomed a little but didn't come back the next year so i planted it again. it neither bloomed nor came back again. this is the 3rd year and it isn't blooming. what's up with that? it gets morning sun and some light shade in the afternoon. i keep it watered. it is with daisies and they are beautiful. what am i doing wrong?
Well, I can say is if they are getting full sun, watered correctly then you might want to take a soil sample to your ag extension office and see whats up with the soil makeup. Sometimes the Ph can be too high/low, or the nutrients in the soil can be off. I would start there if your sure you water them and they don't go through a dry then water then dry again phase. Because that will stress a plant out and makw it not want to flower and/or die.
I wonder if it needs more sun? I've never grown bee balm anywhere except in full sun, so I wonder if your AM sun isn't quite enough for it?
They need full sun, I'd say at least 6-8 hours or more a day. Mine never fail me.
Mine are not in full sun. I have this one and I bought it because it said it was for half sun/shade.
They flowered wonderfully.
Flower I clicked on your link and I think by reading I have found out why I have never had luck with bee balm. It says they do not tolerate humidity. We are like the 'humidity capitol' here in my area. Guess that's why I don't have any luck. sigh
It's pretty humid in Nebraska,too.Mine are 'Raspberry Wine',on the east side of the house,so not full sun.They bloom like crazy and I always have to cut down or dig up extras.Humidity can cause a mildew problem,but it hasn't happened to me.
I am in zone 6 and mine bloom too well . They only get morning sun and then mostly shade in the afternoon.
I have "Marshalls Delight" and some of it is planted on the east side of the house with morning sun. It grows, and blooms, but it is not as vigorous as the ones planted in full sun. It is humid here too, but I have never had mildew.
I am guessing that your bee balm needs more sun.
Perhaps more sun would counteract the high humidity!