Full Member
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 8:04 pm
Location: Pennsylvania

Monard/Bee Balm HELP

Hi all,

I am new to the forum and hope to get some good information and share some as well. I am having some problems with my bee balm. I got them from a reputable nursery in my area. I planted them and they grew height wise and spread out a little bit. In the begining of July I started to get a few blooms and then I got the powdery mildew. They both stopped blooming and they look horrible. Is there any was to reverse this mildew? I know it is not killing the plant but I have no blooms left and it turned like whitish grey and the leaves are pretty much wilting. Do I need to cut them back in the fall and hope for a better batch next year or is there a way I can get some more time and color out of them this year ?Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


Full Member
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2007 1:40 am
Location: New Jersey

Hi, stottlar1. I've had exactly the same problem w/p.m. on the monarda I started from seed years and years ago. It differs from year to year depending on the humidity and rainfall levels. There's no cure for it. Just measures you can take to thwart its progress.

-Better air circulation. Can you prune any plants around it? Can you move the bee balm itself to a more open area?
-Improved sun exposure.
-A pre-emptive strike. An application of a cornmeal spray w/some cornmeal sprinkled at the base of the plant; some organic horticultural oil or some organic fungicide like Organicide or Serenade. (You can find them at many of the Big Box stores.) The key w/p.m. is to catch it before it manifests itself.
-Grow mildew-resistent varieties. "Marshall's Delight" for instance.

For now, what I do is to deadhead and cut back to the nearest budding axil. If the plant isn't completely defoliated by my having to remove the p.m.-riddled leaves, I don't mind leaving it if it means I can get a secondary, albeit smaller, bloom. But you can choose to cut it all back now to its basal leaves if those powdery-gray leaves are really yucky looking. Otherwise, wait till fall and do that cutting back. Then make sure you do a thorough cleanup underneath and around the plant. Remove and dispose of all mulch and the top 1" of soil. Don't compost it! Replace w/fresh, clean mulch and then in the spring apply some fresh, clean compost. Just as you'd do w/a tomato plant prone to early blight, remove the lower 7 or 8 inches of leaves to make it harder for the p.m. fungal spores to splash up on the leaves from the mulched soil.

There's always next year and p.m. or not, it's worth it to see such happy bees. :wink:

Greener Thumb
Posts: 1868
Joined: Tue May 25, 2004 10:44 pm
Location: Maryland zone 7

Hi Jay,

Some great advice from Gardenz. You can also use milk or baking soda as a spray.


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