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?


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


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.


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

Propagation of Kalmia latifolia
November 19, 2007 - How easy is it to propagate Kalmia latifolia from seed?
view the full question and answer

Volunteer wax myrtles in Tuscaloosa, AL
August 26, 2009 - I have Wax Myrtles growing in my front yard. I have noticed that some shrubs have sprouted in my back yard that have leaves that are exactly like my wax myrtles. Can Wax Myrtles sprout from seed or h...
view the full question and answer

Dividing Agapanthus
October 03, 2015 - When and how do I separate Agapanthus? Should I do it?
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Prunus Mexicana in Rusk TX
July 29, 2009 - How do you scarify seeds from the Prunus Mexicana? Can the branches be made to grow roots?
view the full question and answer

Final size of a Texas mountain laurel
August 11, 2014 - I have purchased a Texas Mountain Laurel. The plant tag says it will grow 25 to 35 feet. LBWF plant data base says 10 to 15 feet. Which data should I go with? It's either plant close but not close to...
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center