A member of the mint family, Monarda species include annual and perennial upright growing herbaceous plants endemic to North America. They range in height from 8—35” with equal spread. The leaves are lanceolate, opposite on the stem, smooth to slightly hairy, and have lightly serrated margins.
Monarda plants bloom brightly colored whorls with leafy bracts from mid- to late summer. Flower colors are varying shades of reds, pinks, and violets. The leaves, when crushed, exude a spicy, highly fragrant oil.
Monarda has historically been used as a medicinal plant by many Native American tribes. It has been recognized for it's antiseptic properties and was traditionally used as a poultice for skin infections and minor wounds. Monarda is the natural source of the antiseptic Thymol, the primary active ingredient in modern commercial mouthwash formulas and was traditionally used to treat mouth and throat infections. Monarda has also been used as a digestive aid for settling the stomach and relieving excessive flatulence.
Monarda is often used in beds and borders to encourage and increase the appearance of hummingbirds, pollinating insects, and predatory insects that hunt garden pests. Because of oils present in its roots is sometimes used as a companion plant around small vegetable crops susceptible to subterranean pests. Bee balm is considered a good plant to grow with tomatoes, improving both health and flavor.
Monarda pairs beautifully with Echinacea, Achillea, Salvias, and Perovskia.
We have a wonderful selection of perennials year round, but if you are looking for a specific perennial we will have the best selection when it is in bloom around town. Note: Native plant pages will take you into the Native Plant section.