Best Bee Balm Of 2018

If you're trying to attract bees to your garden, there's no such thing as too much bee balm. You may have heard of this wildflower while looking for nectar-rich and sturdy growing plants. It's efficient at its job of attracting wanted wildlife. Its beautiful flowers bloom in red, pink, purple, and reseed readily.

Not only do bees love bee balm, but so do Eastern Ruby-throated hummingbirds, hawkmoths, and caterpillars of the raspberry moth, orange mint moth, and hermit sphinx moth. However, such a simple solution becomes more confusing with a little research. There are tons of different varieties of this plant, 15 to be exact. While picking by color may be the most fun, it may not be the best way to ensure you're drawing the maximum amount of bees to your garden. Balm, unfortunately, can cause mildew and can also grow prolifically, with its bold colors taking over your garden.

That's why we've compiled the 10 Best Bee Balm Products to guide you through navigating your local nursery, or shopping for seeds online, and ensuring your Balm needs are met. Whether you're after a fragrant smell, the maximum amount of bees, a compact plant or a huge one, this list has you covered!

Product FAQ's

1. What is Bee Balm?

Bee balm is a perennial wildflower that has been bred to come in several varieties. However, despite small differences, all of them are flowering plants, known for attracting bees. When put on a scale of 1 to 5, pollen content is a 1, while nectar content is a 2.

2. Are there other names for it?

Yes! Other names include Eastern Beebalm, Bergamot, Wild Oswego Tea, Horsemint, and Monarda.

3. Why should I invest in it?

Not only is it lovely to have wildlife occupy your garden, bees pollinating is a crucial part of keeping fruits, vegetables and flowers coming back year after year. Investing in bee balm will not only make your garden beautiful but also healthy. Investing in bee balm is also a cost-effective choice, as it reseeds incredibly easily.

4. Where can I buy it?

Bee balm can be bought at your local nursery or online.

5. How much does it cost?

Bee balm seeds can be bought for as little as $4, while small blooming plants can be bought for around ​$30.

6. When should you plant it?

Seeds should be planted in fall or spring in moist, fertile soil. Plants do not require direct sunlight at all times.

7. How can I extend the bloom time of my it?

If you cut back half the flower stalks before they set buds, bloom time can be doubled.

8. Is it edible?

Yes! Many people use them in salads or tea. We've mentioned which varieties are tastiest below!

9. What other animals will it attract?

Bee balm will also bring scores of beautiful butterflies, moths, and hummingbirds to your garden. Luckily many varieties of the plant are deer and rabbit resistant, so you'll only have to deal with wanted wildlife.

How we Reviewed

The following products were viewed based on the following parameters - features, pros & cons, price, where to buy and warranty. Additionally, we prioritized how many bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds each variety attracts; the seasons in which each variety blooms; the sun exposure it can handle; how long it blooms for; and its hardiness against disease, rabbits, and deer. For those looking for a particular garden esthetic and function, we've also considered practicality, with mentions of color, height, spread, fragrance, and taste.

Overall Price Range Of This Product

If you're looking for affordable options, seeds are the way to go with a price range of $3-$7. You'll save money by buying bee balm of one variety, but for a slight price bump, you can get yourself a mix of varieties and colors which will look beautiful in a meadow. If you're looking for a container of blooming balm, you'll have to invest a little more, but you will have the satisfaction of attracting bees nearly immediately. A one-gallon pot of bee balm costs around $20. Luckily, because bee balm easily reseeds, you won't need to invest repeatedly.

MONARDA 'BEAUTY OF COBHAM' - BEEBALM - STARTER PLANT - SEMIDORMANT

Features

Beauty of Cobham is an award-winning plant that took home the Award of Garden Merit of the Royal Horticultural Society. One look and you'll see why. The plant boasts huge flowers of light purple/pink flowers. Each flower is about two inches across. The plants are full, and the flowers are dense. The color looks gorgeous against its green stems, and the bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds swarm to it.

Beauty of Cobham is of average hardiness for bee balm and blooms in summer and fall. It is tough enough to endure partial sun. Luckily, it is deer and rabbit resistant, so the only predator you must watch out for its mildew, which effects most varieties of Bee Balm. However, as bee balms go, this plant is more resistant than most.

While the plant is surely an eye catcher, its smaller 2'-3' height and 1'-2' spread ensure that it will blend in nicely with the rest of your garden and make a beautiful bouquet of cut flowers. The bonus that solidifies Beauty of Cobham's place at the top of a list? It tastes good in a salad!

Where to Buy?

Amazon, manufacturer website, Sooner Plant Farm

Warranty

Most sellers do not have a warranty for this product.

​​Pros

  • Deer Resistant
  • Fragrant
  • Bee & Hummingbird Friendly
  • Dot Circle
    Cut Flowers

​Cons

  • Not as easy to grow as other balms
  • Dot Circle
    Grows slowly
  • Dot Circle
    Often sold out
Marshalls Delight

Features

Marshall's Delight is another award-winning variety that shares many of the same properties as the Beauty of Cobham, including its average hardiness; ability to thrive in partial sun; a typical growing season in summer and fall; and its 2'-3' height and 1'-2' spread. This hot pink flower is effective at attracting butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds while discouraging deer and rabbits.

What sets Marshall's Delight apart is its unique, ornate look. With vibrant petals set into thistle-like deep brown bracts, the Marshall's Delight will be a show piece in the rest of your elegant garden. While Beauty of Cobham appeals to everyone, Marshall's Delight will win the hearts of some, but be too extreme for others - it is slightly brighter and doesn't have the traditional flower shape. This variety has a good resistance to powdery mildew but doesn't quite compete with the Beauty of Cobham.

Where to Buy?

newgardenplants.com, manufacturer website, American Meadows Inc.

Warranty

Most sellers do not have a warranty for this product.

​​Pros

  • Deer resistant
  • Rabbit Resistant
  • Multiplies
  • Dot Circle
    Great for mass plantings

​Cons

  • Unattractive to some
  • Dot Circle
    Will spread

Gardenview Scarlet Bee Balm Perennial - Monarda - Quart Pot

Features

Gardenview Scarlet has a unique coral color which will do well in a meadow of color or amongst more neutral colors where it is highlighted. This variety thrives in partial sun and blossoms in summer and fall. Growing a little larger than Beauty of Cobham and Marshall's Delight, it is slightly more difficult to work with, but an award-winner nonetheless. While deer and rabbits will find themselves discouraged, humans will love the beautiful perfume of the Gardenview Scarlet.

Gardenview Scarlet takes number three with its unique coloring and its slightly above average ability to resist mildew.

Where to Buy?

Amazon, manufacturer website, soonerplantfarm.com

Warranty

Most sellers do not have a warranty for this product.

​​Pros

  • Perennial borders
  • Longer summer bloom period
  • Fragrant

​Cons

  • Must prevent overcrowding to control spreading
  • Dot Circle
    Needs good air circulation
balmy pink

Features

With a name like Balmy Pink, it's easy to tell that this variety will be a crowd pleaser. The beautiful pink petals are planted equally upon beautiful leaves that keep your plant looking gorgeous through multiple seasons and as cut flowers. The variety is tough; it can thrive in partial sun and blossoms in spring and summer. This variety sets itself apart with how well it resists mildew, perhaps better even than more award-winning varieties.

Unlike many other varieties, it is slightly more compact, and considered a dwarf variety, growing just under a foot in height and spread. Balmy Pink is a great all around plant!

Where to Buy?

growjoy.com, manufacturer website, Greener Earth Nursery

Warranty

Most sellers do not have a warranty for this product.

​​Pros

​Cons

  • Needs good air circulation

Jacob Cline BeeBalm Plant - Monarda/Bergamot - Gallon Pot

Features

Jacob Cline may not be an award-winner like our first three picks, but it is a standout in disease resistance. If you've had trouble with mildew in the past, this one is worth a try, especially if you are looking for a red variety of bee balm. Not only can it combat disease, but it is also deer and rabbit resistant, hardy, thrives in partial sun, and it blossoms in summer and fall. Be prepared, as this variety grows quite tall - up to four feet high and two feet wide, which can make for an incredible perennial border. If you are more concerned with a sturdy plant than one that blends in, look no further.

Where to Buy?

Amazon, manufacturer website, location 3 High Country Gardens.

Warranty

Most sellers do not have a warranty for this product.

​​Pros

  • Easy to grow
  • Deer and Rabbit Resistant
  • Good for Containers
  • Dot Circle
    Mildew Resistant

​Cons

  • Not attractive to everyone
  • Grows very tall

75 seeds 15 + Squaw Carpet seeds (Ceanothus prostratus)Groundcover Plant CombSH

Features

The Squaw spreads 1'-2' like the Marshall's Delight, but it grows about an inch taller. It blooms in summer and fall, has average hardiness and can be planted in partial sun. Another Royal Cultural Society Award of Garden Merit winner, this plant will ensure that butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees frequent your garden. This variety falls in the middle of the pack for being reliable while also having a distinct bright red color that is not to everyone's taste.

Where to Buy?

Amazon, manufacturer website, Bluebell Cottage

Warranty

Most sellers do not have a warranty for this product.

​​Pros

  • Cut flowers
  • Meadows
  • Deer and Rabbit Resistant

​Cons

  • Should be kept moist
  • Grows vigorously
  • Dot Circle
    Fungi
cherry pops

Features

Cherry Pops scores points for its marvelous globular heads, which are dense and have a beautiful base of leaves. Look, and you'll see that there truly couldn't be a better name for this perennial than 'Cherry Pops.' Butterflies and bees love it, but more interestingly, this plant has a delicious minty smell and can even be used to make tea. It is slightly less hardy than other varieties but resists powdery mildew better than most bee balms.

Sadly, this variety only blooms in summer, but its compact one-foot height and two-foot spread make it a winner in the garden. If you're looking for a lovely summer edition to your garden, look no further. However, if your main priority is bees, another variety might be a stronger choice.

Where to Buy?

Amazon, manufacturer website, Jackson, and Perkins.

Warranty

Most sellers do not have a warranty for this product.

​​Pros

  • Deer and Rabbit Resistant
  • Cut Flowers
  • Great for containers and small gardens

​Cons

  • Keep moist
  • Good air circulation

Proven Winners Pardon My Purple Bee-Balm - Monarda Pardon My Purple - 19cm

Features

While this variety falls somewhere in the middle, Purple Lace is our pick for a vibrant purple flower. Many bee balm plants are light pink or a vibrant pink or red. Purple Lace has a strong mildew resistance and is petite at 1-foot height and 1 foot wide. It will do its job and attract loads of bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. It thrives in the during the summer and fall.

Where to Buy?

Amazon, manufacturer website, American Meadows

Warranty

Most sellers do not have a warranty for this product.

​​Pros

  • Purple
  • Deer and rabbit resistant
  • Accent plant

​Cons

  • Too showy for some
  • Spread vigorously

MONARDA 'CAMBRIDGE SCARLET' - BEEBALM - STARTER PLANT

Features

Perhaps the showiest of the bunch, the Cambridge Scarlet, can grow as high as three feet. This can be gorgeous if you know how to arrange its large, wide-faced dark red flowers in your garden. This variety is of average hardiness, blooms in summer and fall, and does well in partial sun. This pleasant smelling flower also earns points for being deer and rabbit resistant while also tasting good on a salad. 

Where to Buy?

Amazon, manufacturer website, Bluestone Perennials

Warranty

Most sellers do not have a warranty for this product.

​​Pros

  • Deer and Rabbit Resistant
  • Scented

​Cons

  • Mildew
Kardinal

Features

While there's nothing wrong with the Kardinal variety, it doesn't stand out in any huge way. This can be good because it is reliable and has many qualities we've come to expect in a bee balm plant. It can handle partial sun exposure, blossoms in summer and fall, and has an average hardiness. It is a tall variety - growing 4 feet high and 2 feet wide and is a slight raspberry red color, which some gardeners may especially enjoy.

Jacob Cline is perhaps the least disease prone choice if you like a red flower, but Kardinal will resist deer and rabbits.

Where to Buy?

Amazon, manufacturer website, irishplants.com

Warranty

Most sellers do not have a warranty for this product. 

​​Pros

  • Deer and Rabbit Resistant
  • Great in meadows

​Cons

  • Very fast growing
  • Needs good air circulation
  • Hard to find for purchase

Our Final Thoughts

While we've ranked these varieties from 1 to 10, it is important to take your own priorities into consideration. These plants will do an above average job of bringing bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds to your garden. They all thrive in similar climates and seasons as well. However, some are stronger than others and can resist dreaded mildew better than others.

There are also hungry rabbits and deer to consider. If you are planting at your home, consider the color and other added benefits such as using your bee balm for tea or to create a beautifully fragrant garden. Ultimately, the award-winning Beauty of Cobham takes the number one spot for being a hearty, crowd-pleasing plant. It will surely make its gardener happy no matter his or her ultimate aim.

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