Monarda, also known as bee balm, is a native American plant that produces colorful masses of fluffy-looking flowers. They provide many cut flowers for summer arrangements, and attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.
Sow outdoors in a cold frame or protected seedbed, in spring to early summer in the North, fall in the South. Sow evenly and thinly and cover with 1/4" of fine soil. Keep evenly moist.
How to Grow
Seedlings emerge in 22-30 days at 64-80°F. Transplant seedlings about 18" apart when 2" high. Monarda thrives in rich, moisture-retentive, well-drained soil in full sun. The plants tolerate light shade and actually prefer dry soil. Give plants plenty of room (or thin out crowded stems) to promote good air circulation and prevent powdery mildew. The stems are strong and normally do not need to be staked. Divide the plants in spring when they begin to crowd each other. Pull out wandering plants that show up where you do not want them.
Monarda is useful for the middle or back of the border and wonderful for naturalizing in a wildflower meadow. The cut flowers are attractive in fresh arrangements. This perennial also makes a colorful addition to heb gardens. Use the leaves to make a pleasant-tasting tea.