Common Name: bee balm
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 2.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to August
Bloom Description: Red
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Suggested Use: Herb, Naturalize, Rain Garden
Flower: Showy, Good Cut
Attracts: Hummingbirds, Butterflies
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Clay Soil, Wet Soil, Black Walnut
Best grown in rich, medium to wet, moisture-retentive soils in full sun to part shade. Prefers rich, humusy soils in full sun, although some afternoon shade is appreciated in hot summer climates. Soil should not be allowed to dry out. Deadhead flowers to prolong summer bloom. Divide clumps every 3-4 years to prevent overcrowding and to control spread of the plant. Provide plants with good air circulation to help combat fungal leaf diseases (see Problems section below). Spreads by rhizomes and self-seeding.
Monarda didyma known as beebalm is native to eastern North America and typically occurs in bottomlands, thickets, moist woods and especially along streambanks. A somewhat coarse, clump-forming, mint family member that features tubular, bright scarlet-red flowers borne in dense, globular, terminal heads (like unkempt mop-heads) atop square stems rising 2-4' tall. Each flower head is subtended by (rests upon) a whorl of showy, red-tinged, leafy bracts. Long summer bloom. Attractive to bees, hummingbirds and butterflies, particularly when massed.
Sometimes also commonly called Oswego tea because the Oswego Indians of New York State formerly used the plant leaves for tea. The toothed, aromatic leaves (3-5" long) are still used today for teas and in salads.
Powdery mildew can be a serious problem, particularly in crowded gardens with poor air circulation. In addition, if the soil is allowed to dry out, the stressed plants become increasingly susceptible to disease. Rust can also be a problem.
Provides color and contrast for the perennial border, wild garden, native plant garden, meadow, herb garden, naturalized planting or along ponds or streams. Good plant for attracting hummingbirds to a bird garden.