The Bee Balm plant, also called monarda, is an aromatic eastern North American herb that belongs to the mint family. It grows into bushy, vertical stalks and produces brightly colored flowers in the spring and summer. This plant develops colorful, spider-shape flower blossoms in the early to late summer months. These flowers are red, pink, or lilac bloom in large heads or whorls of about 20-50 flowers at the top of the stem. The stem is supported by leafy bracts with leaflets that are a pale-green color. Growing two to three feet tall, depending on the variety, it has a stem that is square, grooved and hard. Fine dense hairs cover much of the stem and leaves, and the Bee Balm roots are short, slender, creeping rhizomes.
Bee Balm is easily grown in ordinary garden soil as well as in heavy clay soil; requires a part shade to sunny place to grow. It will thrive in any moist soil that is rich in organic matter such as manure, compost, or leaf mold, and it prefers alkaline soil conditions. In the fall, prune your Monarda plants to within an inch of the ground. Like other members of the Mint Family, Bee Balm can become invasive, but you can keep the plant contained by dividing it in either spring or fall.