University of Maryland Extension

Featured Plants - Bee Balm

bee balm - monarda

Monarda didyma
Named in honor of 16th century Spanish physician and botanist, Nicolas Bautista Monardes, monarda has long been a popular perennial, with rays of unusual bright tubular flowers borne June-August. Spreading by rhizomes, bee balm makes broad swathes of color in the garden. As its name implies, it attracts pollinators, butterflies, and hummingbirds.  Square stems and a fragrant scent when bruised place it in the mint family. Because native Americans and colonists brewed it for tea, it is sometimes called ‘Oswego Tea’. Monarda’s cultivars work well as a cut flower, too. It grows best in full sun with rich well-drained soil.  Choose cultivars with mildew resistance. Monarda benefits from dividing (and sharing with friends!)
(March 2013)
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