Monarda (Bee Balm) moh-NAR-da
Monarda, also known as the bee balm plant, is a North American native, thriving in woodland areas. The bee balm flower has an open, daisy-like shape, with tubular petals in shades of red, pink, purple and white. Bee balm plants are perennial, coming back year after year to add cheerful color to your garden.
Bee balm’s attractive colors and minty orange scent is favorite for hummingbirds, bees and butterflies. It is also a tasty edible addition for people. All above ground parts of the plant are edible. The leaves and flowers can be eaten raw or cooked. Bee balm has a minty taste and a flavor similar to oregano. It also has a citrusy aroma. If you sip on Earl Grey tea, then bee balm tea will seem very familiar. Bee balm flowers bloom from mid to late summer. For better flower production, it’s best not to harvest the plant during the first year of planting. Beginning the second season of growth, harvest the flowers often to encourage more bloom production.
Bee balm is edible for humans and is considered safe for dogs, cats and other animals to ingest.