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Monarda didyma

Common Name(s):
Bee balm, Bee-balm, Crimson bee-balm
Categories:
Edible Plants, Herbs, Native Plants, Perennials, Wildflowers
Comment:

Native perennial in the Lamiaceae family.  It has the characteristic square stems found in the mint family.  Dried flowers in crafts; bee-balm is native to the North Carolina mountains and may be seen along the Blue Ridge Parkway flowering in summer.  It tolerates wet and clay soil as well as being planted near black walnut trees.

Wildlife Value: Attracts bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Members of the genus Monarda support the following specialized bees: Dufourea monardaePerdita (Perdita) gerhardiand Protandrena abdominalisThis plant is resistant to damage by deer and rabbits.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: Plants are susceptible to powdery mildew, espeically in crowded gardens, but it is usually in the late season after flowering.  Prune stems to increase air flow.  Severe cases may require fungicidal sprays. In addition, if the soil is allowed to dry out, the stressed plants become increasingly susceptible to disease. Rust can also be a problem.

Season:
Summer to early fall
Light:
Sun, partial shade
Height:
2-5 ft.
Space:
12 to 15 in.
Flower Color:
Red, rose, pink, violet, white
Hardiness:
USDA Hardiness Zone 4-9
Foliage:
Opposite 3-6 in. dark green, coarsely toothed leaves on square stem
Flower:
Fragrant ragged cluster of red tubular flowers borne on showy heads; reddish bracts
Zones:
4-9
Habit:
Upright
Site:
Rich, moist, acidic soil; stream banks, thickets, ditches
Propagation:
Division in spring, cuttings, seed
Exposure:
full sun to partial shade
Soil:
moist soil
Regions:
Mountains, Piedmont, Coastal Plain
Origin:
Eastern North America, North Carolina
Edibility:
Teas, flavor jellies, soups, stews, and fruit salads; edible flowers.
Life Cycle:
Perennial
Tags:
fall, wet sites, bees, purple, nectar, hummingbirds, red, black walnut, white, deer resistant, pink, sun, rabbits, perennial, butterflies, pollinators, clay soil, herb, wildflower, specialized bees, partial shade, wet, summer, wet soil

NCCES plant id: 409

Monarda didyma Tubular flowers are attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies.
John Bandauer, CC BY-NC-ND - 2.0
Monarda didyma Monarda didyma
Kerry Woods, CC BY-NC-ND - 2.0
Monarda didyma Monarda didyma
SwamprOse, CC BY-ND-2.0
Monarda didyma Monarda didyma
Patrick Standish, CC BY - 2.0
Monarda didyma Opposite leaves
Bill Barder, CC BY-NC-2.0