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

Spanish Dagger plant interfering with walkway in Ingram TX
April 09, 2010 - I have a Spanish Dagger that is now 8 feet tall and about to fall over in a walkway. Due to the danger of these very sharp tips I need to either cut down the plant or try to root in and replant. If ...
view the full question and answer

Sunlight needs for native wildflower seedlings from Double Oaks TX
January 27, 2014 - Last December I created a flower bed for my parents' backyard and sowed native wildflower seeds (obtained from Native American Seed). The bed is in full sun most of the day, and the seeds are alread...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting Turks Cap, when and how
September 10, 2007 - Mr. Smarty Pants - We have an enormous healthy Turk's Cap - not the lily, but the one with red flowers(Malvaviscus arboreus v. drummondii) It has also produced a new plant nearby. Please tell us how...
view the full question and answer

Information about moist stratification
September 07, 2010 - I have some seeds of scarlet leatherflower I'd like to try and I read the instructions under 'Propagation' in your Native Plant Database that say "Moist stratify at 41 degrees".. What does "...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Red Yucca from Golden, CO
March 17, 2011 - I have collected the mature seeds of Hesperaloe parviflora (the red yucca). Can you tell me what steps I need to follow for successful germination? Many thanks!
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center