bee balm

Bee Balm: 7 Irresistible Reasons to Include It in Your Pollinator Garden

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Why Every Pollinator Garden Should Include Bee Balm

As an avid gardener and lover of all things nature, I firmly believe that creating pollinator-friendly gardens is a responsibility we should all embrace. With the alarming decline in bee populations and other pollinators, it has become crucial for us to provide them with safe havens where they can thrive. One plant that I highly recommend for every pollinator garden is bee balm (Monarda spp.). Its numerous benefits and stunning beauty make it a must-have for any garden enthusiast.

Here you can learn more about pollinator gardens and how to support pollinators: 

bee balm

1. Pollinators Love it

First and foremost, bee balm is a magnet for bees. Bees are incredibly important pollinators, playing a vital role in the reproduction of countless plant species. By including this amazing in your garden, you are effectively inviting these industrious creatures to visit and work their magic. The vibrant, tubular flowers produce nectar that is rich in sugars, attracting bees from far and wide. Watching these fuzzy insects flit from flower to flower, collecting nectar and transferring pollen, is a sight that brings me immense joy and satisfaction.

Moreover, bee balm is not just a favorite among bees; it also attracts a diverse array of other pollinators. Butterflies, hummingbirds, and even beneficial insects such as ladybugs and hover flies find bee balm irresistible. This makes it an excellent choice for creating a garden that supports a wide range of pollinators, ensuring a healthy and balanced ecosystem.

2. It adds visual appeal

Another reason why bee balm is a fantastic addition to any pollinator garden is its stunning visual appeal. With its showy, brightly colored flowers, it adds a vibrant touch to any landscape. Available in a variety of shades, including red, pink, purple, and white, bee balm creates a striking visual display that is hard to miss. Its tall, slender stems and lush, aromatic foliage add height and texture to garden beds, making it an excellent choice for both formal and informal gardens.

bee balm tea
Wild Bergamot Tea (Monarda fistulosa)

3. It has medicinal benefits

Beyond its aesthetic qualities, bee balm also boasts several practical uses. The leaves of certain bee balm species can be used to brew a flavorful and refreshing tea, often referred to as “bergamot tea.” This herbal infusion has a delightful citrusy flavor and is known for its calming and soothing properties. By growing bee balm, you not only contribute to the well-being of pollinators but also gain a valuable addition to your herbal tea collection.

Here are some of the notable medicinal qualities of bee balm:

  1. Antimicrobial Properties: It contains essential oils with potent antimicrobial properties. It has been traditionally used to combat various types of infections, including those caused by bacteria and fungi.

  2. Digestive Aid: It is known to have carminative properties, which means it can help relieve digestive discomforts such as bloating, gas, and indigestion. It has been used to promote healthy digestion and alleviate symptoms of gastrointestinal distress.

  3. Soothing Effects: The leaves contain compounds that have soothing and calming effects. Bee balm tea or extracts are often used to relax the body, ease tension, and promote a sense of well-being.

  4. Anti-inflammatory Action: It possesses anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation in the body. It has been used to alleviate symptoms associated with conditions like sore throat, bronchitis, and sinusitis.

  5. Respiratory Support: It has been used as a herbal remedy for respiratory ailments. It can help relieve congestion, soothe coughs, and support overall respiratory health.

  6. Antioxidant Benefits: Rich in antioxidants, it helps neutralize harmful free radicals in the body, which can contribute to various diseases and accelerate the aging process. Regular consumption of bee balm tea or inclusion of the herb in the diet can support overall health and well-being.

  7. Oral Health: It possesses natural antiseptic properties and has been used to promote oral health. It can help combat oral bacteria, freshen breath, and soothe mouth sores or minor gum irritations.

  8. Immune Support: The antimicrobial and antioxidant properties of this herb contribute to its immune-supportive qualities. Regular consumption can help strengthen the immune system and promote overall wellness.

It’s important to note that while bee balm has a long history of traditional use as a medicinal herb, it is always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before using it for any specific medical purposes. They can provide personalized guidance based on individual health conditions and potential interactions with medications.

4. It's Easy to grow

Furthermore, bee balm is a relatively low-maintenance plant. It is adaptable to a wide range of soil conditions and can thrive in both sun and partial shade. Once established, bee balm can tolerate periods of drought, making it a resilient addition to any garden. Regular deadheading of spent flowers will encourage the plant to produce more blooms, ensuring a prolonged blooming period and continuous food source for pollinators throughout the summer months. This extended flowering period is particularly beneficial for pollinators during times when other nectar sources may be scarce. By including bee balm in your garden, you ensure a continuous supply of food for these essential creatures, helping them thrive and fulfill their crucial role in the ecosystem.

5. It Has ecological benefits

Bee balm also has ecological benefits beyond its attractiveness to pollinators. It is a native plant in many regions, which means it is well adapted to the local climate and soil conditions. Native plants, like bee balm, have evolved alongside native pollinators, forming important relationships that support biodiversity. By incorporating native plants into our gardens, we promote the conservation of local ecosystems and create habitats that are more resilient to environmental changes. 

Interested in learning more about the benefits of planting native plants? Read more here:

6. It's a Natural Pest deterrent

Additionally, bee balm can serve as a natural pest deterrent. Its aromatic leaves contain compounds that repel certain insect pests, such as aphids and mosquitoes. By interplanting bee balm with other susceptible plants, you can help protect them from harmful infestations without resorting to chemical pesticides. This makes bee balm not only beneficial for pollinators, but also for maintaining a healthy balance in your garden ecosystem.

7. It's Just Pretty!

Beyond its practical benefits, bee balm brings a sense of joy and wonder to any garden. Observing the vibrant colors and graceful movements of pollinators as they interact with these beautiful flowers is a rewarding experience. It creates a connection with nature and reminds us of the intricate web of life that exists right outside our doorstep.

bee balm
bee balm

Concluding Thoughts

So, whether you’re an experienced gardener or just starting out, consider adding bee balm to your pollinator garden. Its appeal to a wide range of pollinators, stunning visual display, practical uses, low-maintenance nature, and ecological benefits make it an indispensable component of any thriving garden. By including bee balm, you are not only making a positive impact on pollinator populations, but also creating a haven of beauty and biodiversity in your own backyard.

Let’s embrace the buzzing wings and vibrant colors that bee balm brings, and together, let’s make every pollinator garden a sanctuary for our precious pollinators.

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