Bee Balm Seed Pack


Monarda fistulosa. 

Native to the prairies of North America, the aromatic leaves of bee balm have long been used by Native Americans as a spicy garnish or as a herbal tea to ward off winter colds. 

As the name suggests, bee balm is very popular with bees and other pollinating insects. It is a member of the mint family and contains many of the same essential oils (and flavours) as oregano and thyme, which gives it a characteristic sharp and spicy bite. 

Also known as ‘wild bergamot’ – not to be confused with the citrus fruit ‘bergamot’ that is used to make bergamot essential oil and flavour earl grey tea – Monarda fistulosa has evolved into many different varieties. We grow a lavender-coloured variety that does very well in the UK climate (or at least it does in Earthsong's Somerset climate). It is easy to grow and a valuable herb to add to a herbal tea or use in the kitchen. 

Sowing and Growing 

Sow indoors in early Spring into pots or trays in well draining seed compost at approx. 2mm – just enough to cover the seed. Germination occurs in 10-24 days, or faster when propagated at 20c. Seedlings can then be planted into their final growing position using organic compost in a position with full or partial sun, although we find they really thrive in full sun. Alternatively, they can be sown directly in late Spring with a 30cm spacing and will take 10–30 days to germinate. Water well until established and prepare for a beautiful and aromatic show when they start to flower at around 30cm tall from July to September. 

Monarda fistulosa are hardy perennials which will need to be divided every 3 years in order to keep it’s woody growth at bay. This will hinder the plant’s growth if left unattended. Remember to collect the seeds and share with friends or start a new bed once the seed heads go brown. 

Uses and Benefits 

Bee Balm is surprisingly potent. Its volatile oils carry powerful immune modulating compounds, such a thymol and carvacrol, that can be used for its antiseptic properties at the first sign of a sore throat or any infection in the mouth. It helps to encourage peripheral circulation and can be used to induce a sweat for seasonal chills. Its fragrant oils make it useful as a carminative to help digestion when added to food or as a herbal tea with it being renowned for ‘easing the passage of wind’ – best practiced in the garden. 

Its ability to reduce infection make it good for cleaning any wounds on the skin when made into a poultice or as a wash. 

Harvesting and Preparation 

Harvest the aerial parts just as it comes into flower and tie in bunches to dry or cut into 1 inch pieces and dry in a herb drier. Harvest a good 6 inches above the ground to avoid any old or damaged leaves. 

To make a tea you can either enjoy it fresh by popping a sprig in a cup of boiled water or use 1-2 teaspoons of the dried herb.

It’s also a very good herb when doing steam inhalation for nasal and chest congestion with a stuffy head. 

If you have a distillation ‘still’, it makes a potent essential oil. 

Minimum 50 seeds per pack.