Plant types and subtypes: Perennials
Light Requirements: sun, part-sun, part-shade
Water Use: medium
Soil Moisture: moist
Soil Description: acid, rich, loam, clay, sand
Bloom Time: May, June, July, August, September
Bloom Color: red
Leaf Color: green
Hardiness Zone: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Additional Tags: attracts bees, attracts butterflies, attracts hummingbirds, clumping, cottage garden plant, culinary herb, cut flowers, deer resistant, edible, fragrant plant, medicinal, naturalizing, pond margin plant, stream margin plant
Pricing & Availability
Monarda didymaAlso known as:
This showy member of the mint family carries dense, rounded, terminal clusters of bright red, tubular flowers. Monarda didyma is a tall plant that will grow to 4 feet in height or more. The green, coarsely toothed leaves of the scarlet beebalm are fragrant,and borne on tall, square stems.
Scarlet beebalm, or Oswego tea, can be found along streams, in moist, open woods and thickets. It prefers acidic, rich soil, but will tolerate a variety of soils, so long as it is not allowed to dry out. This species does best under bright light, but will tolerate part-shade where summers are hot. To prevent self-seeding, and to encourage an extended bloom time, beebalm can be dead-headed after flowering. Clumps should be divided every 3 to 4 years to avoid over crowding. Good air circulation is important because this species can be prone to powdery mildew. Monarda didyma has a long bloom period starting in late spring and extending into early fall in the cooler areas, May through September. Zones 4-8
Propagate by division in early spring or from seed.
Stunning in cottage gardens, scarlet beebalm can also be used in cut flower arrangements. The Oswegos of New York, as well as early settlers, used the leaves of this beebalm as an herbal tea. It has a delicate, lightly minty flavor. Young greens may be used in salads. It has been used medicinally to relieve a variety of ailments. A balm made from the crushed leaves has been used traditionally to soothe bee stings, hence the genus common name.
Native Range & Classification
Recorded County Distribution: USDA data
CT, DE, GA, IA, IL, IN, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OR, PA, SC, TN, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV
USDA Endangered Status:
- Exploitably Vulnerable: NY
|Species||Monarda didyma||scarlet beebalm|