Monarda didyma

Monarda didyma


Monarda didyma, known by a number of different common names including bee balm, Oswego tea and bergamot, is native to eastern North America where it typically occurs in bottomlands, thickets, moist woods and along streambanks. It is a somewhat coarse, clump-forming, mint family member that features tubular, two-lipped, bright scarlet-red flowers. Leaves emit a minty fragrance when bruised or crushed. Each flowerhead is subtended by a whorl of showy, red-tinged, leafy bracts. Long summer bloom extends for about 8 weeks from early/mid-summer to late summer. Plant foliage declines after bloom, particularly if infected with mildew. Attractive to bees, hummingbirds and butterflies, particularly when massed.



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. Does best in well-draining conditions, but can tolerate heavier clay. 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). Deadhead flowers immediately after bloom to prevent self-seeding. Spreads by rhizomes and self-seeding to form colonies.


Type: Herbaceous perennial

Family: Lamiaceae

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

Maintenance: Medium

Flower: Showy, Good Cut

Leaf: Fragrant

Attracts: Hummingbirds, Butterflies

Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Clay Soil, Wet Soil, Black Walnut

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