Bee Balm

Also known as Scarlet Bergamot, Bee Balm, Scarlet Beebalm and Oswego Tea

Scientific Name:  Monarda didyma

Light: Sun to part sun

Zone:  4 to 9

Height:  2 to 5 feet

Width:  2 to 3 feet

Flowers:  July to September, red

Fruit/Seed:  nut-like

Fall Color:

Butterflies:  Attracts


Hummingbird:  Attracts

Deer Resistant:  Yes

Insects/Pollinators:  Monarda didyma is an important plant for pollinators including hummingbirds, butterflies and, to a lesser extent, moths, bees and other pollinating insects. Because of the structure of the flower tubes, long proboscises are needed to be able to reach the nectar.

Native:  Scarlet Bergamot is native to Garrett County and the Ridge and Valley area of Maryland. All other documented sightings in the piedmont and coastal plain are of naturalized non-native populations.

Idea Garden:

Propagation:  surface sow, needs light to germinate, at 60ºF to 68ºF in light.  Germination should occur in 7-14d.


A butterfly magnet, beebalm provides color and contrast for the perennial border, cottage garden, native plant garden, meadow, herb garden, naturalized planting or along ponds or streams.  Hummingbirds also visit beebalm.

Powdery mildew can be a serious problem, particularly in crowded gardens with poor air circulation. In addition, if the soil is allowed to dry out, the stressed plants become increasingly susceptible to disease. Rust can also be a problem.

Cultivars / Varieties

Over 50 cultivars of scarlet beebalm are readily available from commercial sources. These cultivars have been developed for flower color, bloom period, plant height, disease resistance, flavor (teas), essential oil production, winter injury and deer resistance.

You can find more information about many cultivars from Mt. Cuba’s Monarda trials or the Penn States Flower Trials

Only a few of the many varieties are listed below

Jacob Cline – very large frilly red flowers. Possibly the best monarda to attract hummingbirds

Panorama Mix – 30″; Mix of scarlet, bright red, pink, salmon & crimson.



Milano Mix – 32″; Mix of colors from soft pink to deep rose and burgundy.  Aromatic, tea scented foliage.


Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping: Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Scarlett Beebalm – USDA Plant Fact Sheet

Bee Balm – Missouri Botanical Garden

Scarlet Bergamot – Maryland Biodiversity Project

Recommended for Wildlife by

Creating a Wild Backyard – Hummingbirds, Butterflies & Bees – Maryland DNR

Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping: Chesapeake Bay Watershed

HG120 Native Plants of Maryland

Attracting Wildlife – HGIC

Photos by:

Wikicommons, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported


Additional information


Zone 5, Zone 6, Zone 7, Zone 8


Part Sun, Sun


Loam, Moist, Wet

Flower Color

Pink, Red

Flower Season

Fall, Summer

Wildlife Value

Beneficial Insects, Deer Resistant, Hummingbird, Nectar

Notable Features

Cut Flowers, Fragrant, Long Blooming, Rabbit Resistant, Rain Garden, Salt Tolerant, Winter Interest



Local Availability

Available, Widely Available


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