Bee Balm Not Blooming: Why Won’t My Bee Balm Flower

Bee Balm Plant Flowering
bee balm
(Image credit: BSPollard)

Bee balm is a beloved plant in many flower and butterfly gardens. With its beautiful, unique looking flowers, it attracts pollinators and delights gardeners. It can even be brewed into tea. It’s for all these reasons that it can be a real downer when your bee balm doesn’t bloom. Keep reading to learn more about what to do when there are no flowers on bee balm plants in your garden.

Reasons Bee Balm Doesn’t Bloom

Why won’t my bee balm flower? It may be due to one of a number of reasons. The most common problem is a lack of sun. Bee balm thrives in full sun, and most varieties need six to eight hours of sunlight per day in order to bloom well. Bee balm that doesn’t get enough sunlight is also often leggy looking. If your bee balm is showing both of these symptoms, try relocating it to a sunnier spot. Alternatively, look for special cultivars that are designed to thrive in the shade. Another common problem is overfertilization. Bee balm plants are light feeders, and too much fertilizer (especially if it’s rich in nitrogen) can result in lots of leafy growth and very few flowers. Another common problem with bee balm is improper water or humidity. The plants like moderate irrigation-- during periods of drought, water deeply once per week. If you live in a particularly humid climate, your bee balm may have trouble blooming to its fullest potential. Your problem could also be age. Every three years or so, bee balm plants naturally start to bloom less because they get overcrowded. Try digging up and dividing your plant to rejuvenate it. You can also achieve rejuvenation within a single growing season. If your plant has bloomed a little and faded, remove all the spent blooms. Deadheading bee balm should bring about a second round of flowering later in the summer.

Liz Baessler
Senior Editor

The only child of a horticulturist and an English teacher, Liz Baessler was destined to become a gardening editor. She has been with Gardening Know how since 2015, and a Senior Editor since 2020. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University and an MA in English from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. After years of gardening in containers and community garden plots, she finally has a backyard of her own, which she is systematically filling with vegetables and flowers.