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Monarda

Basic Facts:

Common Names: Bergamot, Bee Balm.

Aromatic plants with whirls of flowers on stems reaching 45-75cm tall. The flowers are rich in nectar and attract bees and hoverflies, hence the other common name. The aroma of the leaves is reminiscent of oil of bergamot orange; the flavouring in Earl Grey tea.

Please note, our plants are not suitable for eating, infusing nor medicinal use.

Garden Use:

Monardas work well mixed with both cool and hot colours. The heads are large and showy making a great focal point in a border.

Their running habit makes them ideal for both prairie and naturalistic plantings.

There are lots of varieties out there and to be frank a lot are similar to each other. All our photos are taken here in our garden and as always we haven't fiddled with the colouring!

Wildlife Interest:

The flowers are rich in nectar and attract bees and hoverflies, hence the other common name. The aroma of the leaves is reminiscent of oil of bergamot orange; the flavouring in Earl Grey tea. This aroma is said to deter rabbits but I can't vouch for this.

Monarda in our garden in July foreground Beauty of Cobham, back left Vintage Wine, back centre Gardenview Scarlet

Read about making the most of Monarda for winter interest in our Garden Notebooks for September 2009 and December 2010.

Cut Flower Use:

They make good cut flowers lasting well in water.

Cultivation:

Most Monardas prefer moist soil in sun or light shade.

The plants need regular division and a refresh of the soil with compost and fertiliser in spring.

Propagation:

They spread by running stems on or just under the soil to form clumps up to 2ft 6in across in 2 years. Propagate by division in autumn or spring. Cut back hard after flowering to encourage more blooms.

Pests and Diseases:

 Some may be affected by mildew in dry conditions, but most will adapt to dry conditions and perform very well. We find freshly planted specimens are prone but once established they are less prone. We also sell the newer mildew resistant (slightly affected) and mildew free varieties. The latter seem to be free of mildew in the ground, although in pots as nursery stock it is well nigh impossible to keep them free in late summer. Squaw has never been affected by mildew in our garden.

History:

A member of the Lamiaceae family (Dead Nettles).

Monarda Pink Supreme

Normally mildew free. 3ft tall. Flowers July - September.

Price 4.50 (9cm pot)

Monarda Squaw

One of the best reds and always free from mildew in our garden. 3ft tall. Flowers July - September.

RHS Award of Garden Merit.

Price 4.50 (9cm pot)

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