Bee Balm

Bee Balm, also known as Horsemint, Oswego Tea, or Bergamot, is a wonderful addition to a mid- to late-summer garden. Butterflies, bees, hummingbirds, and other nectar-loving species are attracted to this plant. Some varieties can grow as tall as 4 feet. The variety showcased here is the Petite Wonder. The plant can be invasive in the southeastern United States. The leaves, when crushed, emit a spicy, fragrant oil, in particular the Oswego Tea variety. It is considered a good companion plant for tomatoes, and it is also known to help improve the health and flavor of the tomatoes and wards off pests. Divide the plant in the spring and in the fall, cut back the plant within an inch of the ground.

Bee Balm has a long history of being used for medicinal purposes. As a poultice, it is used for skin infections, rashes, and minor wounds. Tea made from the plant has been used to treat mouth and throat infections. Pulverized leaves are used to treat bee stings (thus the common name). It is also the natural antiseptic Thymol used in modern commercial mouthwashes.

Category: Perennial

Height: 6-12 inches (15-30 cm)

Spacing: 15-18 inches (38-45 cm)

Bloom Color: Pink, red, lilac, and white

Foliage: Herbaceous

Hardiness: USDA Zone 3-9

Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade

Foliage: Herbaceous

Soil: Well-drained, moist soil

Disease: Generally resistant to disease, however, it can be susceptible to powdery mildew and rust

Propagation: Hardwood and softwood cuttings, root cuttings, and division

About Jen

Jen is owner, author, and creative mind behind Bakerette. Jen eats a vegan diet and recently converted Bakerette to a plant-based website that offers a smattering of healthful recipes! Jen is author of the cookbook Festive Feasts: Meals and Memories from Halloween to Christmas, which can be purchased online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

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