Bee Balm Monarda 'Fishes'

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
bergamot 'Fishes'


Monarda 'Fishes' is a vibrant and eye-catching plant commonly known as Bee Balm. It features unique flowers that are typically a brilliant shade of pink, with tubular petals that flare out at the ends, resembling a firework display. These blossoms are clustered together in a dense, pompom-like formation at the top of each stem. The plant has a distinctively minty aroma, as it belongs to the mint family, which contributes to its attractiveness to pollinators like bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. The leaves of Bee Balm are lance-shaped and can have a slightly serrated edge, giving them a somewhat textured appearance. They are arranged oppositely along the square stems, a characteristic feature of plants in the mint family. The foliage is typically bright green, forming a striking contrast against the colorful flowers, which makes this plant highly decorative and a favored choice for gardens and landscapes aiming for visual impact. Overall, Monarda 'Fishes' is valued for its distinctive flowers and its ability to attract wildlife, creating a lively and dynamic environment in any garden setting where it is planted.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Synonyms

      Beebalm, Bergamot, Oswego Tea, Horsemint.

    • Common names

      Monarda didyma 'Fishes'

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Bee balm is not typically considered toxic to humans. There are no well-documented adverse effects from ingesting bee balm, and it is sometimes used in herbal teas and traditional medicine.

    • To pets

      Bee balm is not typically considered toxic to pets, including cats and dogs. It is not known to cause poisoning in animals and is sometimes used in gardens that pets frequent without any reported issues.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      2-4 feet (0.6-1.2 meters)

    • Spread

      2-3 feet (0.6-0.9 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area

      North America


  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Attracts Pollinators: Monarda 'Fishes', commonly known as Bee Balm, is known for its ability to attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, contributing to pollination in the garden.
    • Aesthetic Appeal: With its vibrant and colorful flowers, Bee Balm adds beauty and visual interest to garden landscapes.
    • Fragrance: Bee Balm emits a pleasant fragrance that can enhance the sensory experience of any garden or outdoor space.
    • Drought Tolerance: Once established, Bee Balm has a degree of drought tolerance, making it suitable for gardens with lower water availability.
    • Culinary Use: The leaves of Bee Balm can be used in teas and as a flavoring in various dishes, providing a culinary benefit.
    • Ease of Care: Bee Balm is generally easy to grow and maintain, requiring minimal care once it is established in the right conditions.
    • Naturalizing: Bee Balm has the ability to spread and naturalize over time, filling in garden spaces and creating a lush landscape.
    • Companion Planting: Bee Balm can benefit other plants by attracting beneficial insects that aid in plant health and pollination.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Culinary flavoring: Bee Balm can impart a strong minty flavor with hints of oregano to various dishes, and its leaves can be used fresh or dried to season meat, sauces, and desserts.
    • Aromatic sachets: Dried Bee Balm flowers and leaves can be placed in sachets to provide a pleasant aroma to drawers and closets.
    • Natural dye: The flowers of the Bee Balm can be used to make a natural dye for fabrics or paper, giving a range of colors from pink to purple, depending on the mordant used.
    • Companion planting: Bee Balm can be planted in the vegetable garden to attract pollinators, which are essential for the production of crops like tomatoes, peppers, and squash.
    • Floral arrangements: Fresh or dried flowers of Bee Balm can be used to create attractive and colorful flower arrangements.
    • Garden aesthetics: With its vibrant red flowers, Bee Balm can add a splash of color to garden borders or as part of a themed garden focusing on red hues.
    • Art and craft: Pressed flowers from Bee Balm can be used in various art and craft projects like making bookmarks, greeting cards, or decoupage.
    • Edible landscapes: Bee Balm's edible flowers can be incorporated into edible landscape designs, providing both visual interest and a food source.
    • Cooking herb blend: Dried leaves can be mixed with other herbs to create a unique blend that can be given as a homemade gift to culinary enthusiasts.
    • Photography: Bee Balm’s vivid flowers can provide an attractive subject for photography enthusiasts, especially when attracting wildlife such as hummingbirds and butterflies.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    Bee Balm is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    Bee Balm is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Balance - Monarda, commonly known as Bee Balm, is believed to symbolize balance in nature due to its ability to attract a variety of pollinators, thus maintaining biodiversity.
    • Prosperity - Because Bee Balm flowers abundantly, they are often associated with prosperity and the idea of plenty.
    • Health - Historically, Bee Balm has been used for its medicinal properties, signifying health and healing.
    • Sympathy - With its bright, open flowers, Bee Balm can represent an open heart and sympathy towards others.
    • Protection - Some cultures view Bee Balm as a protective plant, particularly in terms of guarding one's wellness and warding off illness.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring-Early Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    The Bee Balm 'Fishes' should be watered deeply and the soil allowed to dry slightly between waterings. Aim to provide about 1 inch of water weekly, which translates to approximately 0.6 gallons per square yard of soil. In hot, dry climates, or during the peak of summer, the plant may require additional water, but always check the top inch of soil for moisture before adding more water. Overhead watering can promote disease, so it is best to water at the base of the plants to keep the foliage dry.

  • sunLight

    Bee Balm 'Fishes' prefers full sun conditions to thrive, which means the plant should receive at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. An ideal spot would be in a garden area that is exposed to unhindered sunlight for the majority of the day. However, in extremely hot climates, some afternoon shade can be beneficial to prevent scorching.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Bee Balm 'Fishes' is hardy and can tolerate a range of temperatures, but it thrives best when daytime temperatures are between 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It can survive minimum temperatures down to 0 degrees Fahrenheit, making it suitable for many temperate climates. Ideally, prevent exposure to temperatures consistently above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, as extreme heat can stress the plant.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning Bee Balm 'Fishes' promotes healthy growth and helps to prevent disease by increasing air circulation. Cut the plant back by one-third in early summer to encourage a second round of blooms, and deadhead spent flowers regularly. Pruning is also necessary after the first frost in fall or in early spring to remove any dead or damaged stems and to maintain the plant's shape.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Bee Balm 'Fishes' thrives in loamy, well-draining soil with a pH ranging from 6.0 to 7.0. The best soil mix can be created using equal parts garden soil, compost, and peat moss to ensure good fertility and moisture retention.

  • plantRepotting

    Bee Balm 'Fishes' is typically not a houseplant and doesn't require repotting. In gardens, dividing the plant every 2-3 years to manage growth is suggested rather than repotting.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Bee Balm 'Fishes' prefers outdoor conditions and doesn't require specific humidity levels but enjoys a moderate climate.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Provide bright light, consistent moisture, and good air circulation.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in full sun, rich soil, with good drainage and space.

    • Hardiness zone

      4-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    The common name for Monarda 'Fishes' is Bee Balm. The life cycle starts with seed germination, occurring in warm, moist soil typically in early spring. Following germination, seedlings emerge and establish a root system, with foliage growth being rapid under suitable light, moisture, and soil conditions. The vegetative stage is marked by the proliferation of distinctive, fragrant leaves and sturdy stems throughout the spring and early summer. Bee Balm then enters the flowering stage mid to late summer, producing vibrant red, pink, or purple flowers that attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. After flowering, the plant sets seed in late summer or early fall, which can be collected for propagation or left to self-sow; the plant then becomes dormant in winter, withstanding cold by dying back to the ground if not evergreen in the specific climate.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • The most popular method of propagation for Monarda 'Fishes', commonly known as Bee Balm, is by division. Division is typically carried out in the spring or fall when the plant is not in active bloom. To propagate by division, carefully dig up the Bee Balm plant, ensuring a good amount of roots are intact with each clump. Use your hands or a sharp, clean knife to separate the plant into smaller sections, each with several shoots and a portion of the root system. Replant the divisions immediately at the same depth they were growing at originally, spacing them about 18 to 24 inches (45 to 60 centimeters) apart to allow for ample growth. Water the new divisions well to help establish them. This method not only helps to propagate new plants but also invigorates older clumps that may have become too dense, improving their health and flowering.