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Bee Balm is a tall summer-blooming perennial with brilliant red flowers subtended by a whorl of showy, red-tinged, leafy bracts. The aromatic leaves can be used for tea, but are susceptible to mildew, so this plant needs good air circulation. A member of the mint family, bee balm spreads readily by rhizomes and self-seeding to form large colonies, so be prepared to divide it every few years.

Latin Name

Monarda didyma



Also Known As

Monarda Bergamot Oswego tea

Type of Plant

Perennials Perennials
Herbs Herbs

Bloom Season

July - August


Summer Summer


Max height Max Height: 4'
Max spread Max Spread: 3'


  • Flower Border
  • Edible
  • Naturalize
  • Rain Garden

  • Sunlight Exposure

    Full Sun Full Sun
    Part Shade Part Shade


  • Black Walnut
  • Clay Soil
  • Deer
  • Rabbit
  • Wet Soil

  • Attracted Wildlife

    Butterflies Butterflies
    Hummingbirds Hummingbirds


    Native Range

    Canada, United States


    William Faris referred to this plant as "Bergamot Balm" and kept it in his Annapolis garden.

    Other Details

    Pollinator Pollinator

    Planted at Mount Vernon

    Planted at Mount Vernon Upper Garden

  • Upper Garden

  • Hardiness Zones

    4a 4b 5a 5b 6a 6b 7a 7b 8a 8b 9a 9b USDA basemap

    Average annual extreme minimum temperature 1976-2005

    map legend 4a 4b 5a 5b 6a 6b 7a 7b 8a 8b 9a 9b

    Bartlett Tree Expert Company has been working with Mount Vernon Estate since 2011 providing expert arboricultural care and GPS mapping for the estate’s historic trees, as well as support from their research facility.   Mount Vernon is proud to partner with Bartlett Tree Experts and appreciates their sponsorship of George Washington’s Mount Vernon Plant Finder App.

    Bring Washington's Garden Home

    Purchase our historic seeds, collected from plants grown at Mount Vernon and plant them in your own garden.

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