Growing Bee Balm


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April 24, 2006
Bergamot (Bee Balm)

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.

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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 858 Posts
March 13, 2006

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.

two colors of bee balm

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5 Questions

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July 26, 2009

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

Hardiness Zone: 6a

By WARREN from Halifax, PA


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July 26, 20090 found this helpful
Best Answer

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

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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


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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.

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April 17, 2017

This variety of Monarda has the common name, 'Eastern Bee Balm'. Its typical range covers the central and southeastern U.S. The blooms are said to be fragrant. Mine are not. However, the leaves when crushed do have a rather strong medicinal scent. Not unpleasant, though.

Eastern Bee Balm (Monarda Bradburiana) - plant with several light purple blooms

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