Monarda Bee Balm has many other names including Oswego Tea, Bergamot and simply Monarda or Bee Balm.
From the Lamiaceae family, Monarda has 15 species of annuals and clump forming herbaceous rhizomaous. Available in pinks, white, blues, purples, violets, reds and deep scarlets, these plants grow anywhere from ten inches to three feet.
Flower heads look like a raggedy mop and are great flowers to attract butterflies but they are also terrific hummingbird plants as well.
Why so many names?
Monarda fistulosa - 'Fistulosa' is Latin which translates to 'hollow'. This is horsemint, also known as Wild Bergamot and Wild Bee Balm. Found in planting zones 3-9, plants grow two to three feet high and seeds in spring and summer. When planting space them 12 - 18 inches apart. Germinate in about fifteen days. Cut back after flowering and plants bloom again. Examples are:
Monarda didyma - Also known as Bee Balm, Bergamot, Oswego Tea grows in wet soils like ditches. Monarda didyma is prone to rust, leaf spot and especially powdery mildew. Examples are:
Hybrids are the cross between Monarda fistulosa and Monarda didyma. The wild 'fistulosa' offers resistance to powdery mildew while the bee balm 'didyma' offers the great variety of colors.
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