creates a buzz in the garden. Butterflies, hummingbirds and bees
are drawn to this aromatic perennial and its nectar rich flowers
- hence its common name, Bee Balm. Plants have a very strong
mint like fragrance and where once used as a tea substitute. The
vibrant, tubular shaped flowers come in shades of red, pink, purple
and white and plant sizes range from a dwarfed 10 inches to as tall
as 3 feet. Monarda plants begin blooming just as summer begins
and with regular deadheading will bloom all summer long. These
perennial plants are very easy to grow, being a member of the mint
family it is a considered to be a very vigorous grower.
Plants prefer to grow in consistently moist soil receiving full
sun or afternoon shade. Monarda will grow in partial shade
but at the expense of flowering. Soil should be amended heavily
with organic materials such as compost and well rotted manure. One
mistake we often see is overcrowding new plants - space the taller
varieties at least 30 inches apart and the smaller dwarf types (Petite
Delight) 12 inches apart in order to create good air flow. Feed
plants in early spring with a top dressing of composted manure and
bone meal, feed again in mid summer with a compost tea or fish emulsion
drench. After plants have finished flowering an foliage begins to
decline cut the plants all the way back to the ground - this hard
pruning will often result in a second round of flowering. Monarda
plants are very vigorous growers and will need to be divided every three years
to keep them looking their best.
Propagation: division and stem stem cuttings
Problems: Powdery mildew can be a problem see notes
Notes: In hot humid conditions powdery mildew
can become a problem. Plants that stay consistently moist and are
never allowed to wilt are less susceptible to this fungus.
If you must spray the plants we recommend the organic approach:
spray all parts of plant including
underside of leaves with a diluted milk mixture = 1 part milk to
4 parts water.