Monarda 'Claire Grace'
Common Name: wild bergamot
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Lamiaceae
Zone: 3 to 9
Height: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to September
Bloom Description: Lavender
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Herb, Naturalize, Rain Garden
Flower: Showy, Fragrant, Good Cut, Good Dried
Leaf: Fragrant
Attracts: Hummingbirds, Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Clay Soil, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil, Black Walnut

Culture

Most hybrids are of Monarda didyma parentage and are easily grown in average, medium to wet, moisture retentive soils in full sun to part shade. Those of Monarda fistulosa parentage are more tolerant of drier soils. Prefers rich, humusy soils in full sun, but appreciates some afternoon shade in hot summer climates such as the St. Louis area. Soils must not be allowed to dry out. Remove spent flowers to improve plant appearance and possibly to prolong bloom. Divide clumps every 3-4 years to prevent overcrowding and to control mildly spreading tendencies (slowly spreads by rhizomes). Provide plants with good air circulation to help combat fungal leaf diseases.

'Claire Grace' is reputed to tolerate both wet and dry soils.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Monarda is a genus of about 15 species of annuals and herbaceous perennials from prairies and woodlands in North America. They flower from mid-summer to early fall and are loved by bees, hummingbirds and other pollinators.

Genus name honors Nicholas Monardes (1493-1588), physician and botanist of Seville.

Some monardas are commonly called beebalm in reference to a prior use of the leaves as a balm for bee stings.

'Claire Grace' was discovered in Tylertown, Mississippi by Barb and Michael Bridges of Southern Perennials and Herbs and named for their daughter. It has soft to deep lavender, 3 in. wide, tubular, pin cushion-like flowers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds. The toothed, aromatic, oblong, grayish-green leaves (to 4") may be used in teas. It is reputed to have some resistance to powdery mildew and to be tolerant of both wet and dry soil. 'Claire Grace' grows 3 to 4 ft. tall and 2 to 3 ft. wide. It may also be sold as Monarda fistulosa 'Claire Grace'.

Problems

Powdery mildew can be a serious problem with some of the monardas. Susceptibility to foliar diseases in general increases if plants are grown in dry soils or are allowed to dry out. Rust is also an occasional problem.

'Claire Grace' is reputed to have some resistance to powdery mildew. Wet soils could result in root rots.

Garden Uses

Perennial borders, cottage gardens, herb gardens, moist sunny areas along streams or ponds. Also effective in containers.