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 Beauty of Cobham

Good old variety with pink flowers and showy purple bracts. One of our favourites. Mildew resistance is variable from year to year.

RHS Award of Garden Merit.

Price: 4.50 (9cm pot) Available to order for spring delivery

Perfect Partners: Monarda Beauty of Cobham with Phlox Franz Schubert.

Monarda Croftway Pink

Up to 4ft tall with bright pink flowers and pinkish bracts. Flowers July - September.

Price 4.50 (9cm pot)

Monarda Earl Grey

Clever choice of name since the leaves of all Monardas smell of Earl Grey Tea. Short variety and slower to spread. 2ft tall Flowers July - September. The colour is a dusky red and not bright scarlet.

Price 4.50 (9cm pot)

Monarda Fireball

A really velvety, rich wine red Monarda. 2ft 6in - 3ft tall. Flowers July - September

Price 4.50 (9cm pot)

Monarda Jacob Cline

Brilliant scarlet flowers on tall, mildew resistant plants getting to 4ft - 5ft tall. Flowers June - September

Price: 4.50 (9cm pot) Available to order for spring delivery

Perfect Partners: Jacob Cline heads a sizzling hot display with Helenium Sophie and Achillea Cloth of Gold in our long border from July to September.

Monarda Mahogany

Rich, wine red (not scarlet). 2t 9in tall. Flowers July - September.

Price: 4.50 (9cm pot)

Perfect Partners: Monarda Mahogany looks fresh and bright partnering yellow Hemerocallis in our front garden in July. The spiky blue heads of Echinops ritro are about to join the song whilst Helenium Luc and Lythrum Feuerkerze sing out in a neighbouring bed.

Monarda Mohawk

Pale violet flowers with darker bracts. 4ft tall in normal seasons but can get to 5ft in wet years.

Flowers July - September.

Price 4.50 (9cm pot) Available to order for spring delivery

Monarda Pink Supreme

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

Price 4.50 (9cm pot) Available to order for spring delivery

Monarda Pisces ("Fishes")

Mildew resistant. 3ft tall. Flowers July - September.

Price 4.50 (9cm pot) Available to order for spring delivery

Monarda Sagittarius

Mildew resistant. 3ft tall. Flowers July - September.

Price 4.50 (9cm pot) Available to order for spring delivery

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)

Monarda Violet Queen

Hairy, soft leaves. 3ft tall. Flowers July - September.

RHS Award of Garden Merit.

Price 4.50 (9cm pot) Available to order for spring delivery