Monarda 'Mahogany'
Common Name: bee balm 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Lamiaceae
Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to August
Bloom Description: Wine red
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Herb, Naturalize, Rain Garden
Flower: Showy, Good Cut
Leaf: Fragrant
Attracts: Hummingbirds, Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer, Wet Soil


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.

Also spreads by self-seeding.

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.

'Mahogany' features tubular, two-lipped, deep wine red flowers borne in dense, globular, terminal heads (like unkempt mop-heads) atop square stems rising to 40" tall. Each flower head is subtended by (rests upon) a whorl of showy, red-tinged, leafy bracts. Long summer bloom period. Toothed, aromatic leaves are used for tea and in salads. Attractive to hummingbirds, butterflies and bees, particularly when massed.


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.

This cultivar is reported to have resistance to powdery mildew.


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

A good plant for attracting hummingbirds to a bird garden.