Bee Balm is a member of the mint herb family and is also known as oswego tea, horsemint, and bergamot. This perennial flower is a multi-tasker in the garden and will add fragrance, color, texture, and height while attracting hummingbirds, butterflies, and other pollinators.
If you have a low-lying landscape area that tends to stay damp, bee balm is the ideal plant for that area. The entire plant is also edible and is said to provide some health benefits when ingested.
Use these tips for planting and growing bee balm in your garden!
Bee Balm is a native woodland plant that grows close to a water source. Select a planting location that will receive plenty of moisture and full sun.
The plants are not heat or drought-tolerant and will not grow well under either extreme condition. If your climate has extremely hot and/or dry summer conditions plant bee balm in an area that will be shaded from the afternoon sun. Provide plants with plenty of water throughout the summer.
Planting and Growing
Plant bee balm 18-inches (45 cm) apart and 3-inches (7 cm) deep. Plants reproduce rapidly through underground stems so it won’t take long for gaps to be filled in and the individual plants will look like one huge flowering plant when in full bloom.
Bee balm will reach their mature height of 3-4 feet (90 – 120 cm) in a single growing season. Bloom time is from late spring through the end of summer. Bloom colors are red, purple, pink, and white.
Keep soil moist and don’t feed plants.
Thin plants out every few years to prevent overcrowding and improve air circulation.
You can prevent leaf mold by thinning out the plants every few years. It is caused by the moist soil and rapid reproduction.
Removed plants are hardy and can be transplanted.
If overgrowing moss is an issue in your garden, here is my article on How to Kill Moss in Lawns Without Chemicals.
Bee balm is edible from flower tip to root tip and gives off a spicy orange fragrance when touched. The plant contains microbial properties and is used for several medicinal purposes.
The flower petals are typically dried and used to make tea that is said to help digestion, relieve stomach cramps, calm nerves, reduce stress, alleviate nausea, and to treat cold and flu symptoms.
To make bee balm tea, steep the dried flower petals in boiling water for 15 minutes. The tea will be the color of the petals.
You can make jelly, syrup and marinades. Blooms are used as edible plate garnishes.
Did you know that Earl Grey tea contains bergamot oil too.
I have a couple of other articles about making tea from plants!
How to Grow Camomile to Make Tea
How To Make Roasted Dandelion Tea From Your Garden
Let’s grow some Bee Balm!
|Common name||bee balm, horsemint, oswego tea, bergamot|
|Light||full sun, part shade|
|Soil type||clay, loam, sand, chalk|
|Soil drainage||moist but well-drained|
|Height x Width||1 – 4 x 1- 3 feet (30 – 120 x 30 – 90 cm )|
|Flowering seasons||spring, summer|
|Plant hardiness zones||3 – 9|
*This article is not intended to be medical advice, so please do not rely solely on the information provided in this article for your health.