Bee Balm Monarda 'Squaw'

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


Monarda 'Squaw', also known as Bee Balm, is a vibrant perennial plant that is recognized for its striking flowers. The blooms are a fiery red color and resemble a burst of fireworks with their shaggy, tubular petals that flare out from a central cone. These flowers are clustered together at the top of sturdy stems, creating a showy display that is both bold and inviting. The foliage of Bee Balm is equally attractive, with lance-shaped leaves that are a bright green color. These leaves are slightly serrated at the edges and emit a pleasant fragrance when crushed, often reminiscent of mint or citrus, as the plant is a member of the mint family. Bee Balm 'Squaw' tends to form clumps with the stems and leaves creating a dense, bushy appearance. The combination of its fragrant leaves and eye-catching flowers makes it a popular choice for gardeners looking to add both visual interest and aromatic allure to their garden spaces. This variety of Bee Balm is particularly popular with pollinators such as hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees, which are attracted to its vivid color and rich nectar. The plant's ability to draw in such wildlife adds an additional layer of dynamism to its already vivid presentation.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Bee Balm, Scarlet Beebalm, Oswego Tea, Bergamot

    • Common names

      Monarda didyma 'Squaw'.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Bee balm is generally considered non-toxic to humans. There are no commonly reported adverse effects from ingesting the leaves or flowers of the plant, and it is often used as a culinary herb or tea. However, as with any plant, individual allergies or sensitivities could occur.

    • To pets

      Bee balm is also considered non-toxic to pets such as dogs and cats. It is not known to cause any significant toxicity if pets were to ingest it. That said, ingestion of plant material could potentially lead to mild gastrointestinal upset in some animals due to the novelty and fiber content.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      2-3 feet (60-90 cm)

    • Spread

      2-3 feet (60-90 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area

      North America


  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Attracts Pollinators: Monarda 'Squaw', commonly known as Bee Balm, is highly attractive to bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, aiding in the pollination of gardens.
    • Aesthetic Appeal: It adds vibrant color, with its deep red flowers, and texture to garden beds and borders.
    • Fragrant Foliage: Bee Balm emits a pleasant fragrance that can be enjoyed in the garden or from foliage used in cut-flower arrangements.
    • Naturalizes Easily: It can spread and naturalize in the landscape, but is not overly aggressive, making it a good choice for ecological gardens.
    • Herbal Uses: The leaves of Bee Balm are often used for herbal tea and culinary purposes, though you've requested to exclude medical properties.
    • Drought Tolerant: Once established, Monarda 'Squaw' is relatively drought-tolerant, making it suitable for xeriscaping or low-water gardens.
    • Easy to Care For: It is generally easy to grow and requires minimal maintenance, making it suitable for novice gardeners.
    • Deer Resistant: Its scent and taste are often unappealing to deer, reducing the likelihood of damage in areas with high deer populations.
    • Provides Seasonal Interest: Bee Balm has a long blooming season from mid to late summer, providing extended visual interest in the landscape.
    • Supports Ecosystem: It plays a role in the ecosystem by providing nectar and habitat for various species of wildlife.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Antimicrobial: Monarda 'Squaw', also known as Bee Balm, contains thymol, which is known for its antimicrobial properties.
    • Antiseptic: The plant has been used traditionally for its antiseptic qualities, often in treating minor wounds and skin infections.
    • Carminative: Bee Balm is sometimes used to relieve digestive issues such as bloating and gas due to its carminative effects.
    • Antifungal: Compounds in Monarda 'Squaw' exhibit antifungal properties which can be beneficial for certain skin conditions.
    • Expectorant: It is believed to have expectorant effects, helping to clear congestion in the respiratory tract.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Bee Balm can be used as a natural fabric dye, imparting a range of colors from soft pink to purple, depending on the mordant used.
    • The fragrant leaves of Bee Balm can be placed in drawers or closets as a natural moth repellent.
    • Leaves of Bee Balm can be infused in oil to create aromatic natural candles with a subtle, relaxing fragrance.
    • Bee Balm flowers are edible; they can add a colorful zing to salads, or serve as an eye-catching garnish on dishes and desserts.
    • The essential oil from Bee Balm can be mixed with other ingredients to make a natural insect repellent.
    • Dried Bee Balm can be used in potpourri mixtures, contributing to the mix with its strong and pleasant aroma.
    • Bee Balm can be used as a natural flavoring agent in jellies and syrups, giving them a unique, minty taste.
    • The flowers can be used in crafts, such as pressed flower art, due to their distinct shape and vivid color.
    • Whole Bee Balm plants can be used in landscaping to create a habitat for pollinators like bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.
    • Bee Balm leaves can be incorporated into compost as a nitrogen-rich material, helping to accelerate the composting process.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Bee Balm is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Bee Balm is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Attraction: Monarda, commonly known as Bee Balm, is known to attract pollinators like bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, symbolizing allure and attraction.
    • Healing: Historically used by Native Americans for its medicinal properties, Bee Balm represents healing and the treatment of ailments.
    • Prosperity: With its abundant growth and spread, Bee Balm can symbolize prosperity and proliferation.
    • Happiness: The bright, colorful flowers of Bee Balm are often associated with cheer and happiness, lifting the spirits of those who behold them.
    • Protection: Bee Balm has been considered a plant of protection, warding off disease and illness due to its antiseptic qualities.

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

    Bee balm requires regular watering, especially during hot and dry periods, to maintain moisture in the soil. It's best to water it deeply once a week, providing about 1 to 1.5 inches of water each time. You can measure this by using a rain gauge or by applying about 0.62 gallons per square foot. To avoid fungal diseases, water at the base of the plant rather than from above to keep the foliage dry. During the growing season, particularly in dry spells, you might need to increase the frequency to twice a week.

  • sunLight

    Bee balm thrives in full sun where it receives at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight daily, but it can also tolerate partial shade. The ideal spot for bee balm would be in a location that gets morning sun and some afternoon shade, particularly in hotter climates, to avoid scorching the leaves. Ensure the spot has good air circulation to help prevent powdery mildew.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Bee balm prefers temperatures between 60°F and 70°F but can tolerate a range much wider than that. It is hardy enough to withstand winter temperatures down to -20°F, making it suitable for many climates. During the growing season, maintain the temperature above 40°F for optimal growth and flowering. Bee balm can typically survive the summer heat as long as it's well-watered.

  • scissorsPruning

    Prune bee balm to promote bushier growth, remove spent flowers, and prevent disease. Deadheading the spent blooms encourages a second round of flowers. Prune in the late winter or early spring before new growth begins. Cut the stems back to about 12 to 15 inches to tidy up the plant and stimulate new growth. Additionally, thinning out some stems can improve air circulation.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Bee Balm (Monarda 'Squaw') thrives in a rich, moist, well-draining soil with a pH range of 6.0 to 7.0. A good soil mix contains equal parts of garden soil, compost, and peat moss or coco coir to retain moisture. Mulching helps to maintain consistent soil moisture.

  • plantRepotting

    Bee Balm does not typically require frequent repotting as it is usually grown as a perennial outdoor plant. Repotting or dividing may be done every 2 to 3 years in spring to manage its spread and rejuvenate the plant.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Bee Balm prefers moderate to high humidity levels but is adaptable to typical outdoor humidity. It thrives in an environment that mirrors its native humid prairies and woodlands.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Ensure bright light, moist soil, and good airflow for indoor Bee Balm.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in full sun to part shade, moist soil, allow for air circulation.

    • Hardiness zone

      4-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    The Bee Balm 'Squaw' begins its life cycle as a seed, which can be sown in the ground in early spring. Upon germination, which occurs when conditions of soil, temperature, and moisture are favorable, seedlings emerge and develop into young plants. These juvenile plants grow throughout the spring and summer, establishing root systems and producing characteristic fragrant leaves and square stems. By mid to late summer, the Bee Balm 'Squaw' reaches maturity and blooms, displaying vibrant red flowers that attract pollinators like bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. After pollination, flowers produce seeds that mature by late summer or fall and can be dispersed to create new plants. In winter, the Bee Balm 'Squaw' dies back to the ground, with its roots remaining dormant until the next spring, thus completing its perennial life cycle.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • Propogation: The most popular method of propagation for Monarda 'Squaw', commonly known as Bee Balm, is via division. This is typically done in either early spring or fall when the plant is not in active bloom. To propagate by division, dig up an established clump of Bee Balm, making sure to lift a substantial amount of the root system. Then, gently pull apart the clump into smaller sections, each with a portion of the roots attached. Replant these divisions at the same depth they were originally growing, spacing them about 18 to 24 inches apart (45 to 60 centimeters) to ensure adequate room for growth. Water the new divisions thoroughly to settle the soil around the roots and help establish them in their new locations.