En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
3 ratings

Tuesday - August 28, 2007

From: Williamsburg, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Propagation
Title: Grooming and propagation of Bee Balm
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I planted our first Bee Balm [Mornarda didyma] bush a month ago. I`ve watered it daily and it is growing well with many runners apparent. Should I be deheading or pinching regularly? Should I cut it back [how high from the ground] in the Fall? If I want to put it`s runners elsewhere in the garden, should I just pull up some runners and replant them in other areas or stick them in water for awhile before replanting? Thanks for your suggestions.

ANSWER:

Monarda didyma (scarlet beebalm) is a profilic and easily propagated plant, attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies. It is always a good idea to deadhead plants, pulling or snipping dead flowers off, before they go to seed, unless, of course, you intend to gather seed. However, if a plant is allowed to go to seed, the blooming will be reduced or stopped. Every plant has just one objective: to make more of itself. The purpose of the blooms is to permit fertilization in order to produce seeds. When there is no more need for seeds, there is no more need for flowers. So, snip away, and tidy the plant up as you go, removing dead stems or brown leaves, to help reduce insect or disease damage. This also addresses your question on cutting the plant back in the fall; just keep trimming off the stems as they die, and leave the low rosette of leaves.

Late summer is not, however, the right time of year to be doing propagation. You can take softwood cuttings in late spring and produce more plants. Another way is to divide mature clumps (those rosettes of leaves that you left to winter over) in the spring before they put up new stems. At least in Central Texas, where we are located, monardas can be almost invasive, so you'll probably find that increasing the number of plants you have is fairly simple.


Monarda didyma

 

 

More Propagation Questions

How to propagate Clematis texensis in Austin, TX?
May 14, 2012 - How do I propagate a Clematis texensis Buckl. Scarlet leatherflower from the seed pod?
view the full question and answer

Does Monarda citriodora, lemon beebalm, self-fertilize?
March 09, 2008 - Does Monarda citriodora produce its seeds from cleistogamous flowers? Thank you
view the full question and answer

Propagation and transplanting of Vernonia lindheimeri
April 10, 2007 - I have located a wooly ironweed plant and have taken some seeds to start. This is the only ironweed I have seen. Any suggestions on how to start the seed? Also, if development of the property appea...
view the full question and answer

Prosopsis velutina (velvet mesquite), Larrea tridentata (creosote bush), rain smell
October 02, 2007 - I am an El Paso native living in Plano TX. I terribly miss the smell of rain in El Paso and have learned that this smell is due to the velvet mesquite tree and also the creosote bush, among other thi...
view the full question and answer

Spreading bluebonnets in pasture from Ledbetter TX
April 29, 2013 - I've found a small patch of bluebonnets in my back pasture in Ledbetter, tx. What is the best method of encouraging their spread across the pasture? I've heard that one can pull up the plants and ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center