Bee Balm Companion Plants. The fragile, fast-growing bee balm (Monarda didyma) adapts to a variety of growing conditions and thrives on flowering plants, vegetables and shrubs, making it susceptible to invasion under the right conditions. It also serves as a decorative companion to a variety of herbaceous shrubs and ornamental grasses, where it attracts pollinators such as bees and butterflies. It gives the gardens at the U.S. Department of Agriculture a low-maintenance color, according to the North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension. It helps to attract useful beetles into the garden, making it an ideal companion plant for all vegetables, from pumpkin to tomatoes.
Vegetable Companion Plants for Bee Balm
Bee balm is often chosen as a vegetable companion plant because its fragrant foliage is supposed to ward off insects and pests and its showy, mouse-like flower heads attract useful insects into the garden. According to a Portland nursery, the roots of the bee balm contain a high concentration of fragrant oils that might help fight off underground pests. California Lutheran University suggests growing them with tomatoes because they could help improve their growth, quality and taste. The plant’s root could also help ward off bugs from pumpkin plants, Oregon State University says.
Choose a compact, less aggressive variety such as Petite Delight or Monarda Didyma, as it grows from 12 inches to 15 inches. Some varieties of bee balm spread well in moist, fertile soils such as vegetable beds, so it is important to take this into account when growing a companion plant for the plant. Install a root barrier at the base of the plant to limit its spread when used in raised beds.
Flower Companion Plants for Bee Balm
Lilac bring pollinators into the garden and provide shade from the hot afternoon sun. Ferns look great and are a good companion plant for blueberries, especially if you have an evergreen tree companion.
Azaleas and rhododendrons have the same acidic soil as blueberries. You also get the added bonus of shrubs that provide shade for the roots of blueberry bushes, as the summer heat tends to be hard on the roots.
What Not To Plant With Blueberries
This is due to the damage caused to the blueberry bush by roots during the annual planting and harvest and the fact that most vegetables do not tolerate well acidic soils. Most annuals bloom well, but not blueberries.
Can I plant tomatoes near blueberries?
Like tomatoes, blueberries are not good companions for plants. Blueberry bushes are too shallow and can get root damage. As with tomatoes, plants that are too close together can cause root damage to the blueberry bush.
Tomatoes don’t like the sour soil a blueberry bush needs. Due to the pH value of the soil, tomatoes should not be planted next to blueberry bushes.
Bee balm tends to dominate its space when grown as a companion plant to other self-confident varieties, as it can overwhelm and trump more sensitive varieties. New Moon Nursery recommends planting bee balm with dairy-like companion flowers such as black-eyed Susan, Rudbeckia hirta and high tick grain (Coreopsis tripteris) that are hardy within the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s winter hardiness zones 3 to 8.
Tall tick seeds tolerate a wide range of growing conditions, but without a strong bee balm they tend to spread aggressively, the Missouri Botanical Garden warns. According to the North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension, Black-Eyed Susan best grows in full sun on moist, fertile soil, but in hotter climates it must be kept in shade than bee balm. Bee balm grows well within USDA plant zones 4A to 9A and can be used in gardens to create a meadow or prairie-like appearance, according to NC State Extension. It can also be paired with ornamental grasses such as Bluestem and Andropogon gerardi, which are long-lived, rhizomatous grasses native to North America.
Growing Bee Balm
Be sure to water the soil of the plant overhead to prevent mildew, a common problem with bee balm lances. Bee balm requires little routine care and can be grown in a sunny or shady bed in fertile, well-drained soil. Give 1 inch of water per week during the hottest parts of summer.
Fertilizers tend to produce excess leaf growth and reduced flower production, so should be avoided.
If the soil is bad, patch the entire bed with a 3 cm thick layer of compost to improve the soil around the plant. Bee balm lances need to be split every three to four years to maintain their size and enliven their bloom. Dig out the whole lump and divide it into equal portions, dividing the roots and stems. Lumps that look woody or dead, cut or discard. Plant the partition in a sunny bed in good soil.