Herb Profile: Bee Balm - Monarda Didyma

A large bumblebee feeding on a pink bee balm plant blooming in the summer garden.
Debra Wiseberg/E+/Getty Images

Bee balm is a striking flowering herb that is multi-purpose. It is also known as Oswego tea. Like its name, this herb lends a tasty addition to your tea mix.

Latin Name

Monarda Didyma

USDA Hardiness Zone

Zone 4-9


Full sun to partial shade


Leaves are harvested to use fresh in salads and summer drinks, while dried they make a delicious tea.


Bee balm is a fantastic example of a multi-purpose herb. For landscaping, it offers one of the most stunning flowers, in a variety of colors. Bees and hummingbirds are highly attracted to it.

Culinary herb growers will love the refreshing, unique taste of bee balm in tea. Simple dry the leaves and use them alone, or in your favorite herb tea blends.

Medicinally, Bee balm is used as a skin wash for rashes and other irritations. A rinse for mouth sores and throat problems.

If you would like an all-purpose herb, that can stand out in a landscaping design, Bee balm is the answer.