Bee Balm

Bee BalmPhoto credit: Tryon Farm – Creative Commons

Common names: Bee Balm, cultivar: Raspberry Wine”; also called monarda, horsemint, oswego tea, or bergamot

Botanical name: Monarda dydima

General information:

Bee balm is a member of the mint family.  It is used in making herbal teas and the flowers are edible.  It attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.


Size: 30-36 inches tall

Flowers: Red to wine colored. 1 ½ – 3” heads are composed of tubular flowers. Buds resemble raspberries.

Bloom time: June thru August  

Leaves: Square stems and large opposite leaves, dark green in color

Pests and Disease Problems: Bee balm often suffers from powdery mildew. This is most prominent in overcrowded plants, those grown in partial to heavy shade and drought stressed plants. The Raspberry Wine variety is one of the least susceptible to powdery mildew.

Growing in North Texas

Plant bee balm in spring or fall in full to partial sun and provide an even supply of moisture throughout the growing season. Water every few days to a depth of 6 – 8 inches. Apply a 10-10-10 fertilizer early in the growing season. Do not over fertilize. Deadhead spent flowers to prolong bloom period.  Divide bee balms every 2-3 years in early spring as soon as they emerge from the ground.  Each section should have two or three good shoots.  Replant immediately.

Warning: Attracts bees

References: Iowa State University Extension Specialists/Horticulture and Plant Pathology

Growing Bee Balms in the Home Garden

National Gardening Association: Bee Balm

University of Vermont: Monarda

Keywords (tags) bee balm, monarda, raspberry wine, butterfly, bee, hummingbird, full sun, part sun, mint, tea, aromatic, spreading, easy to grow.

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