Bee Balm (Monarda) Plant's Many Uses with 7 Photos

Bee Balm in the Garden

Monarda comes in several shades of red and in violet.
Monarda comes in several shades of red and in violet. | Source
Easy to grow bee balm.
Easy to grow bee balm. | Source

Easy to Grow

Monarda, commonly known as bee balm, is a joy to grow. First, it is a perrennial, which means you plant it once and let it return and propagate as it will. Next, it tolerates partial sun and dry-ish soil. This is not a fussy flower. If you deadhead it, you'll have the bonus of another set of blooms.

I find it dramatic and gorgeous.

Deadhead for Second Blooming

Source
Source

Smells Heavenly

As you brush the leaves on the plant, it releases the Bergamot oil fragrance. This is the same fragrance in Earl Grey tea. I love it.

Edible Leaves and Flowers

After I photographed it, I ate it.  Yum!
After I photographed it, I ate it. Yum! | Source

Drying

I had always been taught to start herbs drying in an upside down position.
I had always been taught to start herbs drying in an upside down position. | Source

Eye Candy and Belly Filler

When it comes to ingesting plants not normally found in the grocery store or farmers' market, I am a chicken. Or, shall we say prudently cautious? In any case, I have eaten the leaves and flowers of fresh Monarda as salad ingredients and lived to report it. :D The photo above also includes smaller, darker leaves of spearmint from our garden and store-bought baby spinach leaves. The very large leaves and red bits are from bee balm. Supposedly everything above the ground on bee balm is edible for humans, but I am not interested in trying the stem.

Drying for Tea or Sachets

The uses of Bee Balm abound. Dried, crushed leaves are part of the notable Earl Grey tea. Alternatively, history texts indicate that native Americans and colonists used these leaves alone for tea. The dried leaves can also be used in pot pourris or sachets. Additionally, many claim that dried Monarda has medicinal properties, but i am not qualified to comment on that aspect.

Environmentally Correct

In eastern Pennsylvania, this flower is considered to be ecologically sound. It provides nectar for bees and butterflies, so it makes the "A" list for gardens.

Recommended

If you have a square foot or so of space which cries out for sprucing, I suggest you try Bee Balm. After the initial investment (very reasonable) and planting, it's a breeze!

Monarda for all

A blossom peeks out from the foliage.
A blossom peeks out from the foliage. | Source

Photos and text copyright 2011 Maren E. Morgan

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Comments 4 comments

MyMastiffPuppies profile image

MyMastiffPuppies 5 years ago

Beautiful hub, I love my Bee Balm. I had not seen it in the red, I will have to add that to my garden. Mine is violet and it is so easy to care for. Great info, voted up, useful, awesome and beautiful...


Maren Morgan M-T profile image

Maren Morgan M-T 5 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

Thanks. This is the first year I have used it in salads. This is a money saver, too. You use less greens from the store because you are adding greens from your garden.


Esmeowl12 profile image

Esmeowl12 5 years ago from Sevierville, TN

I have no recollection of it but I must have planted bee balm seeds last year because I now have beautiful blooms right by my front porch. I have noticed that when I brush by the leaves, they smell wonderful. Thanks for the additional info. Voted up and useful.


Maren Morgan M-T profile image

Maren Morgan M-T 5 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

Esmeowl12, lucky you, having bee balm as a pleasant surprise!

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