Transplanting Bee Balm

april_wine(z7 Tennessee)April 3, 2011

I have a lot of bee balm seedlings coming up around the parent plant. I read that the seedlings sometimes come from runners of parent plant. Is it ok to cut the runners and transplant seedlings elsewhere?

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

newbie.. eh april ...

runners.. are roots that run just under the surface.. until the come up again ... and form another piece of the SAME PLANT .... that would be called a clone of the mother plant ...

in early spring.. just cut them closer to mom ... and gently dig them ... and move them ...

or.. dig up mother.. separate it up... including all the runners.. and make a couple hundred new plants ... thats what is probably there ...

with this type of aggressive spreader.. it would simple be a waste of time.. to deal with seeds.. and seed starting ...

so.. do whatever you want.. with just a little water after.. you can barely kill it.. and please dont call them seedlings ... since no seed was most likely involved ...

good luck

come back often.. we like to teach .. or is that.. enable.. lol


    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 8:16PM
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quilt_mommy(5/6 Northeast Ohio)

Bee balm isn't agressive everywhere, and as a matter of fact I've been trying for the last few years just to get it going in my garden. It most certainly will produce seedling babies, and you will be fine to dig them up and move them. I would treat your lil' baby plants like any other transplant and give them some attention after transplanting until established. The seedlings are from the seeds that the parent plant dropped, and runners as Ken pointed out are shoots off of the plant itself. If you want to control where your bee balm spreads you should be fine to cut the runners, although like roses, sometimes you have to find where those runners originate from and cut them off there because I have chopped many a runner that grew right back! :) Good luck! These are one of my favorite plants!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 6:04AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i didnt mean aggressive as in.. it will work its way down the block .. bad choice of words for me ...

i just meant.. once established.. you can beat it back with a shovel or the truck.. and it usually wont care ...

if you are a newbie ... and want to really learn.. dig up the whole thing.. and pull it apart ... and replant it all ... as long as you dont do it in july/august ... [unless you have clay.. then you might need a little TLC]

mildew is the issue that made me move away from it .... look for resistant varieties if possible... and if yours doesnt have it.. dont worry about it ...

the seedling thing still mystifies me .... i had it at my first house for 10 years ... un-named.. never saw a seedling ever.. go figure ....

BTW.. seedlings may or may not end up being duplicates of mom .... that is left to the genetics .... but i always liked diversity of color ... so it didnt bother me ... on other plants ...

since i really had no love for the plant.. the only thing that made me keep it around.. was to show on garden tours.. that crushed leaves of monarda .. aka bergamot .. is that it is the key fragrance in earl grey tea .. go figure .. verify it.. but dried.. it probably makes a nice tea ....


Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 11:51AM
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april_wine(z7 Tennessee)

Thanks for the info. I didn't know if severing the runners would damage the mother plant. Sounds like it is a tough plant. Last year was the first year that I tried bee balm and I loved it! Marshall's Delight, I believe. I hope it does become aggressive in the bed it is in. I will try to transplant some of the "children"!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2011 at 6:56PM
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Hey ken, you are an enabler here too?!?

I really like bee balm/monarda - I like both the smell and the flowers and the fact that it attracts bees is a plus. It has both culinary and medicinal uses and is, all in all, a great herb, but the mildew thing mentioned by ken is definitely a problem in my garden, even for the supposedly resistant types. I still grow it and continue to look for a cultivar that won't mildew.

Have fun with it, april_wine! It is a nice plant and if your bee balm hasn't had the ugly mildew problem, then you have a winner on your hands.


    Bookmark   April 9, 2011 at 8:30PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

yes an enabler extraordinaire ... lol ...

but mostly.. i want to get newbies over the fear of it all ..

JUST DIG IT UP... and break it apart.. and replant it ... 90% of the time.. it works..

we can tell you the other plants that it wont work on ...

have no fear ...

APRIL .//... the whole point of runners.. is that they are made.. to be severed from momma ... its Gods design of that plant .... if you can find a runner.. and ease it out of the soil.. and it has a single root .... it will most likely not mind being cut off mom.. and mom will encapsulate the cut.. and move on with making a couple hundred more runners ... have no fear ...

the only caveat ... do not do it in august ... and water properly for a week or two.. to give it a head start ...


    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 9:20AM
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hawkeye_wx(z5 east-central IA)

Last year I planted two types of red monarda, gardenview scarlet and jacob cline. Both spread quite a bit and I will have significantly bigger and thicker patches this year. I was going to buy another small pot of gardenview scarlet to further expand the patch into an empty spot nearby, but I might be able to chop/dig up part of the expanded original patch and transplant it to the new spot. I love the red monarda. The first young hummers to arrive in July also used them quite a bit.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 11:41AM
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jayco(5b NY)

I chop off the runners of mine all the time because they're always invading the other plants. No problem, they do fine even when chop-chop-chopped!

I have also successfully transplanted large patches of it simply by severing the roots of the clump I want to transplant, then lifting it with about two inches of the soil beneath, and dumping it into a shallow hole. If you do it in spring and water it in well, it barely blinks.

I didn't used to love my monarda, but, as Hawkeye above states, it's a real magnet for hummingbirds and that earns it a permanent, prominent place in my garden!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 2:18PM
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nancyd(5/Rochester, NY)

Grab a shovel and go at it. You won't kill bee balm. The thing I love about this plant is that it attracts hummingbirds. They work well in the right situation, but you need to control them in tight spots. The other thing I love about monarda is that you can share them with friends...who can share them with friends...who can share them with friends... ;o)

    Bookmark   April 16, 2011 at 12:44PM
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yardenman(z7 MD)

Yeah, I had to completely remove bee balm that I had planted in the middle of my garden. I figured the bees would be very helpful. Yes, except the bees were so thick I had to harvest the garden at night. So I dug them up rather brutally in the middle of summer and left them sitting on the ground a few days before I spied a spot away from my regular activity ares. I ripped them apart and shoved them in poor holes (hey, I was BUSY). They are thriving, the bees are happy, and I'm happy!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2011 at 5:35PM
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I am wanting to cut mine back more this year, to kind of control them. How much and how often can I so this? Some of them are already about 10 inches high.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 6:12PM
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There's a wonderful book to get called "The Well TEnded Perennial Garden: Planting and Pruning Techniques" by Tracey Desabto Aust.

She used (uses) her own garden to experiment with timing pruning, pinching, dividing perennials to.... and what the results will be.

jUst to whet your curiosity I'll mention a few things. However, I suggest you buy this book. Over the years it has been one of the most recommended books on perennials on GW.
"Cut back once or twice before flowering to encourage compact growth and delayed flowering. Plants cut back 1/2 in early May when about 12 tall will flower about 1.5 to 2 weeks later than unpruned plants,
If plants pruned in early look spindly by mid may, cutting back again by 1/3 can delay flowering about 3 weeks and reduce height to 2.5 feet.
There may be fewer flowers on twice pruned plants, but you will probably get fresh flowers in August, instead on none."

I'll add that I keep on top of the deadheading. First the faded flowers are really kind of ugly and def. detract from the garden.

Second, the \plant sends out new flower buds and foliage in the leaf axils of the flower stems. You can see them cominng right along on the growing plant. So you will get two smaller flowers to replace the one you removed.

When you dead head, cut the flower stem right close to main stem. Leave no stubs....ugly.

If all the foliage gets mildewy cut back to where the leaves are unaffected.

Get the book and have fun!

She also suggests planting them singularly rather than in groups instead of in groups. She has more ....


    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 10:40PM
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Ken is there anything I can do for the mildew?

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 11:39PM
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....sniff....I'm not Ken, but I can suggest a couple of things: first, mildew resistent varieties; second, good spacing=good air circulation= less mildew;third, turn a blind eye unless the plant is melting into a white-gray mess.

Some people use a home made spray but I don't know anything about it.

I don't think mildew is worth big guns purchased for the specific purpose.


    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 2:25PM
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