Bee Balm

Monarda, or bee balm, is a member of the mint family with a delicate beauty but rugged longevity. The whorled flowers come in lavender, red, or pink. Give it room to multiply and share the divisions with friends. Because it is perennial, the flower show only gets better in the second and later years. You may also hear bee balm called bergamot and Oswego tea. This is a great, all-round, tough plant for flower and vegetable gardeners as well as hummingbird watchers.

  • Type Perennial in zones 4 to 9
  • Planting time Spring or fall
  • Features Showy whorled blooms; leaves have aroma of orange and spice
  • Light Full sun
  • Soil Rich, moist, pH 6.0 to 6.7
  • Spacing 18 to 24 inches apart
  • Plant Size 3 to 4 feet tall, 18 to 36 inches wide
  • Uses Flower borders, teas

Some Bonnie Plants varieties may not be available in your local area, due to different variables in certain regions. Also, if any variety is a limited, regional variety it will be noted on the pertinent variety page.

Categories: , , SKU: 715339012111
At a glance
Nutrition Information

Light requirements: Full sun is ideal, but plants benefit from afternoon shade in hottest regions.

Planting: Space 18 to 24 inches apart.

Soil requirements: Plants grow best in rich, moist but well-drained soil with a pH of 6.0 to 6.7. Work organic matter into soil before planting to add fertility and improve moisture retention.

Water requirements: Keep soil consistently moist through the growing season. Add a mulch layer to slow water evaporation from soil. Water when leaves wilt in dry weather.

Frost-fighting plan: Bee balm is perennial in zones 4 to 9. Use a frost blanket to protect newly planted seedlings from late spring frosts.

Common issues: Bee balm can get powdery mildew. Protect plants from poor drainage, especially in winter.

Growing tip: Pinch plants in spring to promote branching and bushiness. Remove dead flowers after the first flush of bloom to promote a second flush of flowers.

Harvesting: Pick flowers and leaves at any point in the growing season. Pinch off individual leaves or blooms, or snip leafy stems to the length you desire. Pick flowers for drying just before they open. Flower petals (not the entire flowerhead) are edible.

Storage: Cut bee balm stems and place in water like a fresh bouquet. They’ll last for at least a week, provided you remove any leaves below the water line and change water regularly.

To save fresh leaves and flowers for mealtime, wrap them in a barely damp paper towel and tuck into a closed plastic bag or container. Store in the refrigerator. Use flowers within 2 days, leaves within 2 to 4 days. Dry for use in teas, potpourri and sachets.

For more information, visit the Bee Balm page in our How to Grow section.


Nutrition Facts

2 tablespoons, fresh:
  • Calories: 2
  • Carbohydrates: 0g
  • Dietary fiber: 0g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 0g
  • Vitamin A: 3% DV
  • Vitamin C: 2%
  • Vitamin K: 0%
  • Vitamin B6: 0%
  • Folate: 1%
  • Potassium: 1%
  • Manganese: 2%

Nutritional Information

Commonly used as a flavoring in beverages and foods, mint is also believed to have medicinal purposes—both as a leaf and as an oil. Peppermint oil is often applied to the skin as a treatment for headaches, muscle and nerve pain, inflammation, and even for repelling mosquitoes. A good source of Vitamins A and C, mint helps with vision and immune functions. The herb is also packed with antioxidants that protect against cell damage, boost the immune system, and form collagen in the body.