- Monarda bradburiana (Eastern Beebalm)
- Monarda didyma (Beebalm)
- Monarda didyma ‘Jacob Cline’ (Red Beebalm)
- Monarda fistulosa (Bergamot)
- Monarda fistulosa ‘Claire Grace’ (a mildew resistant selection)
- Monarda fistulosa var brevis (Smokehole Bergamot)
Monarda bradburiana (Above)
Known as Eastern bee balm, this plant is a short, clumping, and late-spring/early-summer-blooming species that’s ideal for any size garden! While other Monarda species tend to grow 3-5’ tall and spread by underground runners, this species only grows 18-24” tall and stays in a clump (no runners!). Perfect for smaller gardens or borders. The earlier blooms are a musthave for all lovers of bee balm, so the unique blossoms can be enjoyed even sooner. Bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds will also be thrilled for the earlier blooms! Eastern beebalm prefers full sun to light shade, in dry to moist but well-drained soils. This species will not thrive in heavy clay or poorly drained soils.
Scarlet Bee Balm (above) — 24 to 48 inches tall , 24 to 36 inches spread. Full sun to part shade, Average to wet, well drained soils. Brilliant red flowers in summer are a magnet for hummingbirds! Tolerates clay soil and is deer resistant. Pictured above with nodding onion. The selection Jacob Cline has slightly larger, redder flowers and is mildew resistant. Truly a hummingbird magnet!
Also known as Wild Bergamot (above). 24 to 48 inches tall, 24 to 36 inches spread. Full sun to part shade. Moist to dry, well drained soil. Lavender to pink flowers in summer. The selection ‘Claire Grace’ is slightly more compact and mildew resistant.
These are other monarda species are well known to attract hummingbirds — but did you know they’re also very inviting to hummingbird moths (Also known as Snowberry Clearwing)?
The larval host plants for this whimsical little, fairy-like critter are snowberry, coral berry (Symphoricarpos albus and S. orbiculatus), coral honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) and dwarf bush honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera) [not to be confused with the invasive bush honeysuckles — different plant!] Create a haven for these special insects in your garden by including both larval and nectar native food plants!
(The Clouded Sulphur Butterfly is shown on the coneflower in front of the monarda. It was flitting from plant to plant!)
Monarda fistulosa var brevis (Smokehole Bergamot)
(Above) 10 to 18 inches tall, 18 to 36 inches spread. Full sun to light shade, Average to dry, well drained soil. Rare, diminutive natural variation from the Appalachian shale-barrens. Light lavender/nearly white flowers in late spring; earlier than other Monarda. Valuable source of nectar for butterflies and bees!