Monarda 'Raspberry Wine'

Common Name: bee balm 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Lamiaceae
Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to August
Bloom Description: Raspberry red
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Herb, Naturalize, Rain Garden
Flower: Showy, Fragrant, Good Cut
Leaf: Fragrant
Attracts: Hummingbirds, Butterflies
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Clay Soil, Wet Soil, Black Walnut


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. 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.

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.

'Raspberry Wine' was hybridized by Darrell R. Probst of Hubbardston, Massachusetts and introduced by White Flower Farms in 1992. Its erect square stems have opposite, ovate to ovate-lanceolate, serrated, deep green leaves (3-6” long). The leaves have an aroma of mint and basil and can be used to flavor teas. Its tubular, two-lipped, raspberry-red, fragrant flowers are crowded into dense, globular, terminal flowerheads (to 3-4” across) somewhat resembling unkempt mop-heads. The flower buds resemble raspberries. 'Raspberry Wine' grows 3 to 4 ft. tall and 2 to 3 ft. wide. Reputed to have good resistance to powdery mildew, it may also be sold as Monarda didyma 'Raspberry Wine'.


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

This cultivar is reputed to have good resistance to powdery mildew.


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