Alphabetical Plant Listing

Monarda (Bee Balm)

Bee Balm, Bergamot, Horsemint (Monarda)


One of the showiest summer-blooming perennials, Monarda (Bee Balm) has very distinctive, brightly colored flower-heads that create captivating border displays and provide a great impact when used in mass plantings. The blooms consist of asymmetrical, two-lipped tubular flowers borne in dense, globular terminal heads, which rest upon a whorl of decorative bracts. Exuberant, they spice up summer borders and it is difficult to resist their floral charm, despite the susceptibility of some varieties to powdery mildew.

  • Members of the mint family (Lamiaceae), Monarda didyma (Bee Balm) and Monarda fistulosa (Wild Bergamot) are the most commonly cultivated of the 16 species native to North America. Monarda didyma produces scarlet-red flowers collared by red-tinged bracts, whereas Monarda fistulosa features light lavender to pinkish-white flowers surrounded by bracts that are often tinted with pink. Both species have tall, sturdy square stems and a spreading habit. They gave way to many cultivars and hybrids, which come in a wide array of colors including brilliant shades of red, violet, purple, pink and white.

Guide Information

Hardiness 3 - 9
Heat Zones 1 - 9
Climate Zones 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 3A, 3B, A2, A3
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Monarda - Bee Balms
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring
Summer
Fall
Height 1' - 4' (30cm - 120cm)
Spread 1' - 3' (30cm - 90cm)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Average
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Cut Flowers, Fragrant, Showy
Tolerance Deer, Rabbit
Attracts Birds, Butterflies, Hummingbirds
Landscaping Ideas Beds and Borders
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow

Photos: GAP Photos/Elke Borkowski, Botanik Foto, 123RF Stock Photo

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.

Guide Information

Hardiness 3 - 9
Heat Zones 1 - 9
Climate Zones 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 3A, 3B, A2, A3
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Monarda - Bee Balms
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring
Summer
Fall
Height 1' - 4' (30cm - 120cm)
Spread 1' - 3' (30cm - 90cm)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Average
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Cut Flowers, Fragrant, Showy
Tolerance Deer, Rabbit
Attracts Birds, Butterflies, Hummingbirds
Landscaping Ideas Beds and Borders
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow
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