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Monarda (moh-NAR-duh)

Common Name:  Bee balm

Light:  - Part sun to part shade

Soil:  Average to rich, moist but well-drained

Moisture:  Average to slightly moist, never too dry

Blooms:  Summer

Zones:  (3) 4 - 8 (9)


Monarda 'Gardenview Scarlet'

Monarda 'Petite Delight' PP#10784

Monarda Description and Cultural Information

Monarda didyma, bee balm, Oswego tea. 2 - 4'. Like all Monardas, this relative of the mint family has aromatic foliage, round flower heads with tightly packed tubular flowers above colorful, leafy bracts, and square, hairy stems. It grows from fast-spreading runners with fibrous roots. 'Gardenview Scarlet' is a mildew resistant scarlet red that the hummingbirds adore. 'Blue Stocking' has violet-blue flowers and is also quite mildew resistant. 'Jacob Cline' is another mildew resistant red. 'Raspberry Wine' has wine-red flowers and dark green foliage. 'Marshall's Delight' is a mildew resistant bright pink. 'Snow White' is a white flowered form that unfortunately is highly susceptible to mildew. 'Petite Delight' PP#10784 is a dwarf variety with mildew resistant foliage and lavender-rose flowers and 'Petite Wonder' PP#13149 is another dwarf variety with soft, light pink flowers. Zones 4 - 8.

Monarda fistulosa, wild bergamot. 2 - 4'. These plants have soft pink to lilac blooms on thin, wiry stems. They grow wild in meadows and forest edges. Zones 3 - 9.

Monarda punctata, horsemint. 1 - 3'. Horsemint is another meadow native with wiry, hairy stems and pale yellow-green flower heads over whitish or purplish bracts. Zones 3 - 9.

How to Grow:  Monarda didyma prefers evenly moist, humus-rich soil in part sun to part shade. Plants will not tolerate dry conditions and if they are in a location that is too hot and dry they will die out over time. Give them a site with good soil moisture and air circulation to help prevent powdery mildew, plus when they are very happy, give them plenty of room to spread. Wild bergamot and horsemint are easy to grow meadow plants and these are quite drought tolerant. Divide plants regularly to control their spread, if needed.

Landscape uses:  Plant Monarda in the partially shaded border with garden phlox, hardy geraniums, daylilies and lilies. Corral them with tough or otherwise aggressive perennials such as daylilies and helianthus to help control their spread. It is also a hummingbird magnet, especially the red shades, so is a must for the hummingbird garden.

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