Bee Balm

Monarda didyma

Family: Bee Balm

Type: Perennial

Other Common Name: Bergamot, Oswego Tea

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Bee Balm, known for its vibrant flowers and aromatic foliage, is a favorite in gardens. Its blooms, in shades of red, pink, purple, or white, attract pollinators like bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.

This perennial herb is part of the mint family and is recognized by its tubular flowers and fragrant leaves. It’s not only ornamental but also has culinary and medicinal uses.

Bee Balm is easy to grow and care for, thriving in a variety of conditions. It’s a great plant for adding color and fragrance to any garden setting.

Needs & Preferences

Hardiness Zone: 4a-9b

Moisture Preference: Moist to wet

Sun Needs: Full sun to partial shade


Growth Rate: Fast

Average Height (feet): 2

Average Spread (feet): 2

Average Life Span (years): 15

Form: Mounded


Flower Color: Pink

Bloom Season: From early to late summer

Foliage Color: Green

Foliage Shape: Pointy

Landscaping Your Yard With Bee Balm

Bee Balm is perfect for creating eye-catching borders and beds. Its bright flowers and lush foliage create a stunning visual impact.

Plant in groups for a bold, dramatic effect in the garden. Its tall, striking flowers stand out against lower-growing plants.

Use Bee Balm in a butterfly or hummingbird garden. Its nectar-rich flowers are excellent for attracting and supporting wildlife.


Suitable Garden Styles

Cottage Gardens

In cottage gardens, Bee Balm's informal growth and vibrant colors fit perfectly. It adds a touch of whimsy and charm among mixed plantings.

Native Plant Gardens

Bee Balm is a great addition to native plant gardens. Its natural hardiness and ability to attract pollinators make it a valuable native species.

Herbal and Medicinal Gardens

In herbal gardens, Bee Balm is valued for its aromatic leaves and medicinal properties. It's a must-have for those interested in herbal remedies.

Bee Balm Landscaping Ideas

Mix Bee Balm with other perennials for a dynamic, colorful display. Its flowers blend well with various textures and colors.

Plant along walkways or seating areas to enjoy its fragrance. The scent of Bee Balm is especially noticeable on warm, sunny days.

Include in cutting gardens for unique, fragrant bouquets. Its long-lasting blooms are perfect for indoor floral arrangements.

Seasonal Interest


In spring, Bee Balm starts to show new growth. Its foliage begins to emerge, setting the stage for the summer bloom.


Summer is when Bee Balm shines. Its vibrant flowers are in full bloom, creating a stunning display and attracting numerous pollinators.


In fall, Bee Balm's foliage continues to add interest even as the blooms fade. Some varieties may have a second, though less vigorous, bloom.


During winter, Bee Balm dies back to the ground in colder climates. The plant's dormant phase prepares it for the next growing season.

Planting Tips

Where to Plant

Bee Balm thrives in areas that receive full sun to partial shade. It prefers locations with good air circulation to reduce the risk of powdery mildew.


This plant loves sunlight and performs best in full sun but can tolerate partial shade. In hotter climates, afternoon shade is beneficial.


Bee Balm prefers moist, well-draining soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH. It can adapt to different soil types but doesn't tolerate wet feet.


Space plants about 18 to 24 inches apart. Proper spacing helps improve air circulation and reduces the risk of fungal diseases.

When to Plant

The ideal time to plant Bee Balm is in the spring after the last frost or in the early fall. This allows time for establishment before extreme weather.

How to Plant

Plant Bee Balm at the same depth it was growing in the pot. Water well after planting to settle the soil around the roots.

Plant Care Tips


Regular watering is important, especially in dry conditions. Water at the base of the plant to keep the foliage dry and prevent mildew.


Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in the spring. Over-fertilizing can lead to excessive foliage at the expense of blooms.


Deadhead spent blooms to encourage a second flowering. Cut back to the ground in late fall or early winter to prevent disease.

By Season


Spring Care

In spring, remove any dead or damaged stems and apply fertilizer. Mulch to retain moisture and suppress weeds.

Summer Care

Water consistently during dry spells. Monitor for powdery mildew and treat as necessary.

Fall Care

Cut plants back after flowering, leaving about 6 inches of stem. Clean up any fallen debris to reduce disease risk.

Winter Care

In winter, Bee Balm is dormant. Mulch for root protection in colder zones, but avoid heavy mulching which can lead to rot.


How can I prevent powdery mildew on Bee Balm?

Ensure good air circulation, water at the base, and avoid overcrowding. Choose mildew-resistant varieties for best results.

Does Bee Balm spread?

Yes, Bee Balm can spread through underground rhizomes. It’s manageable but can be aggressive in ideal conditions.

Is Bee Balm deer resistant?

Bee Balm is generally considered deer resistant. Its fragrant foliage is not a favorite among deer.

Products That Feature This Plant

Cottage Blooms

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