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Jacob Cline Bee Balm
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Red, radiant red! The magnificent, shaggy blooms of Jacob Cline Beebalm—red as lasers—glow in the sunshine on sweet summer days. Wherever you find Beebalm, hummingbirds are never far away, so be sure to plant a patch near your deck or patio. You and your family will get a kick out of watching their aerial maneuvers as the tiny birds fight over the nectar. You may need to plant a few feeding stations, so there’s enough to go around. And luckily, deer don’t like the pungent leaves—Jacob Cline only attracts the kind of wildlife you want in your garden!
- Hardiness Zone: 4-9
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Did you know? Beebalm contains thymol, which is the active ingredient in many mouthwashes! Beebalm is a native Spirit found all over the eastern U.S. One of its aliases is Oswego Tea, because the Oswego Indians (and later the English settlers) made an herbal tea from its minty leaves. A plantsman and garden designer by the name of Jean Cline found Jacob Cline Beebalm growing wild in the Blue Ridge Parkway of Georgia. He was impressed not only with its red color but with how clean the foliage was, a trait which holds up in the landscape. He named the plant after his son.
Hummingbirds aren’t the only ones that will be crazy about your Jacob Cline Beebalm. Butterflies, too, will be frequent visitors. Large, showy monarchs and swallowtails are especially fond of its sweet nectar. Look also for the fascinating little hummingbird moth to come zooming by for a drink.
How to Grow
Jacob Cline Beebalm prefers a site in morning sun and afternoon shade or in light, dappled shade all day. In cool-summer climates, full sun is acceptable. In any case, it appreciates regular moisture and doesn’t like to dry out. One common problem with Beebalm is powdery mildew, a cosmetic disease that can coat the leaves with a whitish film. Jacob Cline shows a natural resistance to powdery mildew, and good air circulation and plenty of water (but no overhead irrigation) will help ward off the disease as well. Plants can spread enthusiastically, but extras are easily pulled up. Cut old stems back in late winter, before new growth emerges in early spring.
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