Bee Balm


Bee Balm in the garden

Bee Balm harvesting and drying

Bee Balm is native to North America and was traditionally used by Native Americans to treat skin wounds, bee stings, and throat infections. The petals also make an aromatic tea, and is wonderful for attracting pollinators into a garden.

Bee Balm can be sown directly into the soil after the last frost, and plants should be thinned to 18 to 24 inches apart after germination. Bee balm prefers full sun, but in extremely hot and arid places, afternoon shade will keep the plants producing flowers for longer rather than drying them out. Fertile soil and regular water keeps them blooming from the late spring through the early fall.

Look for bee balm that produces scarlet or dark pink petals. Use gardening shears to harvest the heads of the blooms for dying.

Fabric should be mordanted before dyeing with bee balm.

The fresh or dried plants work well with bundle dyeing as well.

Dye concentrate recipe:

7 grams dried bee balm

24 ounces water

Simmer mordanted fabric in dyestuff for 1 hour at 140° Fahrenheit.

Let fabric soak in dye bath for 24 hours at room temperature, then strain and rinse.