Bee Balm

Bee Balm, also known as Monarda, is a native wildflower to the Ozarks and to many states east of the Mississippi River. Primarily a perennial species, Bee Balm is a colorful addition to gardens and is an excellent source of food for pollinators.

About Bee Balm

Bee Balm is a small, herbaceous flowering plant that is typically two to four feet high, with a single stem and growing in clumps with multiple flowers in an upright position. It has 2–3 pairs of ovate leaves, that are fragrant and sometimes toothed. Its flowers come in many colors, typically pink, purple, red and white, and the plant blooms from July to September. Appearance


The leaves of Bee Balm are fragrant, and dark green with toothed margins, often with a purplish tinge to them. The flowers are remarkable for their showy display of color, which varies from light purple to deep red. Although white and yellow colored varieties also exist. The bees and other pollinators such as butterflies, hummingbirds, and even some birds. 

red Bee Balm Flower

A Great Pollinator Attraction

This flower is a great attractant for pollinators like bumblebees and butterflies. Its brightly-colored flowers attract numerous other beneficial insects like predatory wasps and hoverflies as well as honeybees. This helps to promote a more diverse native ecosystem to help your garden thrive. Bonus for deer resistant.

garden of pinkish tinged Monarda didyma bee balm
Image by G Johansen

 Other Names For Bee Balm

The scientific name for this plant is Monarda didyma, which means scarlet beebalm.It was named after Nicholas Monardes. Monarda bradburiana is often found in Missouri. It is part of the mint family (Lamiaceae). Other names sometimes used are Oswego Tea, Indian’s Balm, Bergamot, or Scarlet Monarda.

Medicinal Uses For Bee Balm

Indian’s Balm has been used as a medicinal herb since colonial times. It is said to be effective in treating colds, fevers, stomach aches, and digestive problems. It’s also been used as a topical remedy for minor skin abrasions. The leaves contain thymol and carvacrol, which have anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and antiseptic properties. Please always consult a herbalist and your doctor before using any plants for medicinal purposes.

Bee Balm Garden Care

The bee balm plant is no stranger to Northwest Arkansas and the Ozarks. With their long growing season and moderate climate, this hardy plant thrives in these conditions. It is best grown in full, direct sunlight. Because it is a perennial, it can be planted in the same spot each year after the winter and spring freeze have passed. Gardeners are advised to cut the plant back to within 6 inches of the soil in December or January, allowing it to begin sprouting in the spring. “Deadheading” the flowers, which removes the spent blooms as they fade, also encourages more plant growth and blooms. We have some helpful tips about pruning and deadheading here. Bee Balm is an ideal addition to any garden because of the beautiful flowers it produces and its ability to attract beneficial insects like pollinators. While it will attract a wide variety of birds and butterflies, deer do not like it. This flower will make a great addition to any flower garden.