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Growing Bee Balm

Category Perennials
A wonderful flower for attracting hummingbirds to your garden. This guide is about growing bee balm.


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3 found this helpful
April 24, 2006

Botanical Name:

Monarda didyma

Common names:

Bergamot, Bee Balm, Oswego tea


Bergamot is grown for its decorative flowers and aromatic foliage. The plants consist of tubular, crown-like flowers on top of 3 to 4 foot stems with dark green aromatic leaves. Usually bright scarlet in color, the flowers bloom in mid to late summer and also come in salmon, pink, mauve, purple or white, which, along with most gardeners, bees and hummingbirds also find attractive.

Life Cycle:



full sun or partial shade


Bergamot like moist, fertile soil so work plenty of compost into the ground before planting each spring.


seeds or cuttings; divide clumps in autumn every two years; named cultivars must be propagated by cuttings or division.

Parts Used:

leaves; sweet orange-like fragrance

Harvesting and Storage:

cut fresh leaves for use as needed

Medicinal Uses:


Culinary Uses:

use leaves in salads, fruit salads, fruit drinks, teas (flowers), pork and other meat dishes.

Other Uses:

use flowers and leaves for wreaths, posies, aromatic bath water, cut flowers, perennial border and beds, potpourri, perfumes, scented oil and candles

Editor's Note: This is not the same bergamot as is used in Earl Grey Tea. That flavoring is derived from Bergamot oranges but the scent is very similar.

Comment Was this helpful? 3

1 found this helpful
March 13, 2006

Botanical Name:

Mondarda didyma

Life Cycle:


Planting Time:



3' to 5'


full sun to light shade (hot climates)


nutrient rich, moist, well-drained soil


zones 4 to 8

Bloom Time:



variety of colors including maroon, pink, white, purple and scarlet




division in spring

Suggested Use:

beds, borders, and wildflower gardens

Growing Hints:

Purchase a young plant or sow seeds directly outdoors two weeks prior to the last spring frost date or in early fall at least two months before the first frost date. Sow seeds 1 inch apart at a depth of 1/8" to 1/16". Start seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before the last spring frost. Thin seedlings to 12" apart. Avoid powdery mildew by keeping good air circulation around plants.

Interesting Facts:

Bee Balm is a must have to attract hummingbirds. Its flower petals can be used to make tea as well as adding color and taste to green salads. Stem leaves can be made into a tincture and used as a bug repellant.
Comment Was this helpful? 1


Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

0 found this helpful
July 26, 2009

Can I grow Bee Balm in a pot for the first season?

Hardiness Zone: 6a

By PUDBON from Halifax, PA

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
July 26, 20090 found this helpful
Best Answer

I think you can. I grow everything in pots, good luck.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
August 8, 20090 found this helpful

Thank you. I did this and they look great. Pudbon

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

0 found this helpful
October 3, 2009

Are there seed pods on a bee balm plant and can I start a new plant from them? Thanks.

Hardiness Zone: 6b

By Warren from Halifax, PA

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
October 4, 20090 found this helpful

Yes, info below.

Flower Type: Perennial

Bloom Time: Summer

Height: 3'

Exposure: Full Sun, Light Shade in hot climates

When to Sow Outside: Spring, two weeks before average last frost or late summer/early fall at least 2 months before first fall frost.

When to Sow Inside: 8 - 10 weeks before last frost.

Seed Depth: 1/8" to 1/16"

Seed Spacing: 1"

Days to Emerge: 5 - 10

Thinning: 12" apart, good luck.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
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