ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Pollinator Flower For Bees: Bee Balm And Its Many Uses with Photos

Updated on March 1, 2019
Maren Morgan M-T profile image

Maren gardens in Pennsylvania, specializing in earth-friendly, unconventional, creative, joyful artistry. She is committed to eco health.

Glorious Bee Balm

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

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 earth 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

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 store-bought 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

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

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.


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

Environmentally Correct For Pollinators

Bee Balm provides nectar for bees and butterflies, so it makes the "A" list for 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

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

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


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 

      15 months ago from United States

      Maybe it was all the freezing and thawing that we had last year. The white bee balm was protected from that a bit. I'm glad yours is still going strong. It's such a beneficial, beautiful plant.

    • Maren Morgan M-T profile imageAUTHOR

      Maren Elizabeth Morgan 

      15 months ago from Pennsylvania

      Hi Jill, Thank goodness no problems with my bee balm. I have moved it from berks, to Lebanon (very poor soil) and then to Lancaster counties in southeastern PA and it had flourished. In Lancaster, it is absolutely going bonkers-happy. I hope your experience was atypical and isolated.

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 

      15 months ago from United States

      Hi Maren, I love bee balm, too. Our shade-loving bee balm is still going strong, but the Jacob Kline, which looks like what you have, died out in our yard and at a community garden where I volunteer. Have you had this problem?

    • Maren Morgan M-T profile imageAUTHOR

      Maren Elizabeth Morgan 

      7 years ago from Pennsylvania

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

    • Esmeowl12 profile image

      Cindy A Johnson 

      7 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 imageAUTHOR

      Maren Elizabeth Morgan 

      7 years ago from Pennsylvania

      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.

    • MyMastiffPuppies profile image


      7 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...


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)