Monarda flowers

Decorative annuals, herbs and herbaceous perennials, suitable for the mixed border. Long cultivated by herbalists and attractive to bees and butterflies.

Family: Lamiaceae
Botanical Name: Monarda
Common Names: Bergamot, horsemint, bee balm, Oswego tea.

Foliage: Deciduous, ovate, aromatic green leaves.

Flowers: Terminal flower-heads made up of whorls of dual-lipped tubular flowers.

Flowering Period: Summer to early autumn (June to September).

Soil: Moist but well-drained, fertile soil (sand or loam). Acid, alkaline or neutral pH.

Conditions: Best in full sun. Plant in an east, west or south facing aspect.

Habit: Clump forming.

Type: Herbaceous perennial.

Origin: North America and Mexico.

Hardiness: Hardy in the UK.

Planting and Growing Monarda

Easy to grow. Plant in the spring, in a heavy moisture-retentive loam, in full sun. Sandy soils will require the addition of lots of compost or well rotted organic matter.

Suitable for flower beds or front/middle of the border.

Taking Care of Monarda

Water well in dry weather. Apply a mulch of well rotted garden compost in early spring.

To keep the plants vigorous, lift and divide every few years in late autumn or early spring.

Pruning Monarda

Cut down to ground level in autumn.

Pests and Diseases

Young growth can be attacked by slugs. Leaves can be affected by powdery mildew.

Propagating Monarda

Sow seed under glass in March. Pot up once large enough handle. Grown on, harden off and plant out in late summer. Alternatively, divide established clumps in spring.

Popular Varieties of Monarda

Monarda Balmy Rose a compact form with vivid pink spider-like flowers. Long flowering period. For sale at Suttons.

Monarda Beauty of Cobham pale pink blooms above a rosette of broad, purple-pink bracts and mid green foliage, often with a purple flush. Long flowering period. For sale at Crocus.

Monarda didyma is a bushy perennial with fragrant foliage and whorls of bright red flowers in June-September. Height 2-3ft (60-90cm), spread to 3ft (90cm). Varieties include:

  • 'Cambridge Scarlet' rich red flowers.
  • 'Cranberry Lace' masses of bright cerise-red blooms from mid summer to early autumn. Height 3ft (90cm), spread 20in (50cm). For sale at Van Meuwen.
  • 'Croftway Pink' pale pink flowers. For sale at Crocus.
  • 'Mahogany' brownish red flowers.
  • 'Snow Queen' pure white flowers.
  • 'Blue Stocking' violet blue flowers.

Monarda Electric Neon Pink bears eye-catching neon pink flowers above dark green aromatic foliage. Height: 20in (50cm), spread: 18in (45cm). For sale at Suttons.

Monarda 'Fireball' is a free flowering compact variety with bright scarlet flowers. Height 2ft (60cm), spread 16in (40cm). For sale at Thompson & Morgan.

Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot) similar to didyma but with less foliage and lavender-purple flowers in June-September. Height 2-3ft (60-90cm), spread to 3ft (90cm).

Monarda Gardenview Scarlet bears bright red, long-lasting, tufted flowers. Mildew resistant. Height to 3ft (90cm). For sale at Crocus.