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Bee balm

Monarda spp.

Bee balm

Bee balm is a wonderful plant for attracting butterflies and helpful bees. This prairie native has fascinating-shape flowers in jewel tones of red, pink, purple, and white, surrounded by dark bracts. They grow atop substantial clumps of dark foliage.

The aromatic foliage is sometimes used for making tea, and bee balm is often grown in herb gardens. Established plants tend to spread, especially in damp soil. This plant is extremely prone to mildew problems, so be sure to plant in full sun and seek out cultivars touted as resistant to mildew diseases.

Sun,Part Sun
Plant Type:
Plant Height:
1-4 feet tall
Plant Width:
To 2 feet wide
Bloom Time:
Blooms mid- to late summer and into fall, depending on variety
Landscape Uses:
Containers,Beds & Borders
Special Features:
Flowers,Attractive Foliage,Fragrant,Cut Flowers,Attracts Hummingbirds,Attracts Butterflies,Drought Tolerant,Tolerates Wet Soil,Deer Resistant,Easy to Grow
Top Varieties

Monarda 'Cambridge Scarlet' has leafy clumps of 3-foot stems clothed with aromatic oval leaves. The terminal whorls of bright red two-lipped flowers are surrounded by brownish-red bracts. Zones 3-9
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Monarda 'Raspberry Wine' grows about 2-1/2 feet tall and is topped with rounded clusters of rose red two-lipped flowers that are surrounded by wine red bracts. Zones 3-9
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Plant It With

'Blue Charm' veronica bears spikes of light blue flowers at the same time as bee balm. The habit and flower shape contrast well.


Masses of small, pale blue flowers appear in summer on heart-leaf aster and provide an airy contrast to bee balm.


The large daisy flowers of purple coneflower mix well with those of bee balm, especially in sunny wildflower gardens.

Evening primrose

Blooming in summer, the clusters of yellow goblet flowers of common sundrops mix well with bee balm, especially the mahogany-color varieties.