Pollinator Flower for Bees: Bee Balm and Its Many Uses
Glorious Bee Balm Flowers
Perennial, Easy To Grow, And Earth Friendly
Monarda, commonly known as bee balm, is a joy to grow for three reasons.
First, it is a perennial, which means you plant it once and let it return and propagate as it will.
Second, it is not a fussy flower - it tolerates partial sun and dry-ish soil. And, if you deadhead spent blossoms, you'll have the bonus of another set of blooms.
Third, it provides nectar for bees (earning its name: Bee Balm) and other pollinators. We need these pollinators in our farming and food production.
I find the plant to be dramatic and gorgeous. And, I love that I am helping Mother Gaia at the same time that I enjoy the aesthetics and human uses of the Monarda plant.
Deadhead Fading Flowers For A Second Blooming
Bee Balm's Bergamot Scent in Earl Grey Tea
As you brush the leaves on the bee balm plant, it releases the Bergamot oil fragrance. This is the same fragrance in Earl Grey tea. It smells heavenly.
Bee Balm Is Edible
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.
The photo below also includes smaller, darker leaves of spearmint from my garden and baby spinach leaves. The very large leaves and red blossoms 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.
Bee Balm Has Edible Leaves And Flowers
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. Among the Amish of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, it is still prepared as a tea.
The dried leaves can also be used in a pot pourri or in sachets. Additionally, some herbalists claim that dried bee balm has medicinal properties.
Drying Bee Balm
Environmentally Correct: Helping Pollinators
Bee Balm provides nectar for bees and butterflies, so it makes the "A" list for including in pollinator friendly gardens.
If you have a square foot or so of garden sunny 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 Also Known As Bee Balm
- Front Yard Vegetable Flower Combo Garden
If you enjoyed the Bee Balm hub, you may like this account of mixing flowers and vegetables every which way.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2011 Maren Elizabeth Morgan