Bee balm is a common plant in the eastern part of the United States. It’s great for people who like to grow flowers. It is called “Monarda” and comes in red, purple, pink, and white. It is related to mint.
Growing Bee Balm in Your Garden
If you don’t already have Bee Balm, you might want to plant some because of these five things:
1. Bee Balm Is Beneficial
In a world where birds, bees, and butterflies are dying out. Bee balm is a great way to deal with this problem.
Songbirds are dying because their habitats are being destroyed, temperatures are rising, carbon emissions are getting worse, and there may be other causes we don’t know about.
Bill and I love birds, so we put out food, water, and as many flowers as we can to attract them. Woodpeckers, Baltimore Orioles, cardinals, house finches, goldfinches, chickadees, wrens, sparrows, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, and blue jays come to visit us every day. We’ve even seen the rare Pileated Woodpecker more than once, and I’ve had the good fortune to watch a Great Horned Owl looking for food twice.
But the birds in our garden are a different story that I’ll tell another time.
For now, let’s say that research shows birds are dying worldwide. Thirty percent of all birds in the United States have gone extinct since 1970, and experts say that two-thirds of the remaining birds are more likely to go extinct than ever.
It hurts my heart to think that we might lose our birds.
The number of bees is also going down. Scientists have been keeping track of 66 different kinds of bumblebees for the past 120 years. Bees are essential because they pollinate our crops, so it’s a shame that they are now mentioned 50% less in places they used to be expected.
Even butterflies have to deal with problems in our environment. Over the past forty years, more than 450 butterfly species have lost 2% of their numbers yearly. That means losing a lot of beauty and the death of essential pollinators.
We need animals to spread pollen if we want our crops to live.
Bee balm in your garden will help birds, bees, and butterflies; all-natural pollinators attract and feed them.
2. Bee Balm Grows Easily
Bee Balm will grow if you plant it. As a perennial, it will grow and spread every year. It’s challenging and looks good. We have lavender Bee Balm in our garden, but next year we want to add red Bee Balm.
Some websites about gardening say that Bee Balm is prone to powdery mildew. We haven’t had this problem, but if we did, we could treat powdery mildew with products you can buy in the garden section of your store or at your local nursery. There are also many ways to treat powdery mildew at home. Don’t stop planting bee balm because someone said it MIGHT happen.
3. Bee Balm Is a Medical
Bee Balm is called many different things, but its most common name, “Bee Balm,” is pretty straightforward. Native American tribes used this plant because it was native to their area.
People used it to make teas that helped with coughs and colds. They put it on wounds to keep them from getting sick. It was made into balms that were put on wounds. But it’s best known for its many other uses: easing the pain and swelling from an insect sting. This is why it’s called “Bee Balm” in common parlance.
4. Bee Balm’s Edible
Bee balm is also called “wild bergamot,” among other names. I enjoy a nice cup of tea. My favorite is Lady Grey tea from Twinings, which has bergamot and hints of orange and lemon.
Bee balm is called “wild bergamot” because it smells like bergamot, but they are NOT the same thing. Teas use bergamot, which comes from oil made from the peels of the fruits that dwarf Seville orange trees grow. (Here’s what. The Seville orange tree has either green or yellow fruit. Not orange. Go figure.)
Bee balm is used in the kitchen by cooks and people studying herbs. It can be used as a dried herb like oregano. You can mix it with spices, put it in salads, or use it as a garnish that you can eat.
It is known to make a good tea base. In fact, “Oswego tea” is another name for Bee Balm. The Oswego Indians in upstate New York showed the first settlers how to use Bee Balm leaves to make tea.
What did all those settlers who drank tea after the Boston Tea Party did when there was no tea? They made Oswego tea, which became widely known.
5. Beebalm Makes a Great Cut Flower
The better it will grow, the more you pick it and cut off the spent flowers. That’s great if, like me, you like to cut flowers from your garden and put them in bouquets.
They have a strong stem, which helps them stand up and not break easily. The leaves smell is pleasant and a little sharp (imagine the scent of oregano blended with mint and lemon.) Bouquets made of Bee Balm flowers smell very good. Adding a couple of roses or a honeysuckle stem can make a wonderful smell.
Conclusion – Bee Balm’s Many Benefits
If you like the Victorian idea that each type of flower has a spiritual or emotional meaning, you’ll appreciate that Bee Balm protects you from evil and sickness.
If you like tattoos and want to know what they mean, you’ll know that a Bee Balm tattoo means you’ll have money and luck.
Bee balm is excellent for your garden, for you, and the world as a whole.