Did you know Monarda spp., also commonly known as beebalm, is a magnet for bumble bees, Bombus spp., in our ecoregion 231? Read on.
Name: Monarda spp.
Common: Bee Balm
Zones: Reseeding annual
Size: 4 feet tall
Conditions: Sun to part shade, average to dry
Attracts: In ecoregion 231, the lavender-flowered wild bergamot, Monarda fistulas and the red-flowered, Monarda didyma.
You can’t have enough bee balm in your garden, and given how readily it reseeds, you will never be without! One trick we found in the Bee Better Teaching garden for a longer lasting floral show is to cut back about half of the flower stalks before they set buds. This will extend their bloom time so the show will last for twice as long.
Each year, we try growing various colors and sizes, but found Monarda didyma to be the most prolific. It’s also the most mildew resistant. This is important since Monarda’s are prone to mildew. Common name of bee balm is in reference to a former use of plant resins to soothe bee stings.
Common name of Oswego tea is in reference to a former use of plants leaves for tea by the Oswego Indians of New York State.
Wild bergamot and the red-flowering monarda attracts bumble bees, Bombus impatiens.
Did you know bees can’t see the color red? So how is it, bumblebees are able to see red beebalm? Check here to find out. Click to Tweet! @BeeBetter
As an added bonus, Monarda is also a nectar source for the Eastern Ruby-throated hummingbird, Archilochus colubris, and hawk moths, Sphingidae spp. Plus various beebalms are host plants for caterpillars of raspberry moth, Pyrusta signatalis, orange mint moth, Pyrausta orphisalis, and hermit sphinx moth, Lintneria eremites.
Easily grown, and self-seeds readily.
On the scale of 0 to 5, pollen and nectar content is 1 and 2, respectively.