Monarda - Growing Guide

Growing Monarda

Bergamot, Beebalm

The varieties of this plant which we offer are rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plants which all grow to around 3ft in the herbaceous border. They are fully hardy and the original plants of this species grow in the prairies of North America. The varieties offered today have been bred for their colourfulness as border plants.

From midsummer to early autumn these plants produce sage-like whorls of flowers at the end of their upright flowering stems. Each flower has two lips: the upper one hooded and erect and the lower one three lobed and spreading.

It would be normal to plant Monarda as groups of plants in the border rather than as individuals. The individual clumps will spread to about 18in so it is easy to create a broad mass of colour. The flowering stems are sturdy enough not to need plant supports.

The only real difficulty with growing Monarda which applies to pot grown plants as much as those in the garden is powdery mildew attacks on their foliage (not flowers) which can make then unsightly. This is caused by the plants being put under stress in hot dry periods where the soil gets too dry to support all the growth. Some varieties are more mildew resistant than others but the solution is perhaps to try to grow them in damper spots which will not dry out.

Propagation is easiest by division but basal root cuttings also work well.

M. ‘Cambridge Scarlet’ – scarlet bergamot. Rich scarlet flowers and brownish-red flower bracts.

M. ‘Croftway Pink’ – striking bright pink flowers and pink tinged bracts.

M. ‘Fireball’ – reddish-purple flowers.

M. ‘Prairie Night’ – purple-lilac flowers with green-tinged red flower bracts.


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