Native to eastern North America. Bushy, leafy clumps to 24 feet high spread rapidly; can be invasive. Dark green leaves grow 46 inches long, have strong, pleasant odor like a blend of mint and basil. In summer, upright stems are topped by tight clusters of long-tubed flowers much visited by hummingbirds. Plant 10 inches apart. Divide every 3 or 4 years. Not long lived. Prone to mildew and other leaf diseases in dry, humid weather. Deer resistant.
eastern bee balm
- Native perennial blooming white to pink to purple in late spring.
- Drought and disease tolerant.
bee balm, oswego tea
- An old Southern favorite.
- Basic species has scarlet flowers surrounded by reddish bracts.
- Numerous garden selections and hybrids provide a choice of flower color, plant size, and disease resistance.
- If spent flowers are removed, all selections bloom over a period of 2 months or more.
- Don't let soil dry out.
Shorter selections include 'Petite Delight', 1112 feet tall, lavender-rose, some disease resistance; 'Fireball', 2 feet tall, red; and 'Grand Parade', just over 1 feet tall, lavender-purple flowers.
Standard-sized selections are 'Adam', 34 feet tall, scarlet; 'Cambridge Scarlet', 34 feet tall, red; 'Croftway Pink', 34 feet tall, pink; 'Dark Ponticum', 3 feet., violet-purple; 'Gardenview Scarlet', 3124 feet tall, red, good disease resistance; 'Granite Pink', 24 feet tall, purplish pink; 'Jacob Cline', 3 feet tall, deep rosy red, good disease resistance; 'Mahogany', 34 feet tall, dark red; 'Marshall's Delight', 2124 feet tall, purplish pink, good disease resistance; 'Raspberry Wine', 34 feet tall, purplish red, good disease resistance; 'Snow White', over 4 feet tall, white; and 'Violet Queen', 34 feet tall, purple, good disease resistance.
- Lavender to light pink flowers encircled by whitish bracts are less showy than those of Monarda didyma.
- Best suited to wild gardens.
- This is not the source of the oil of bergamot used to flavor Earl Grey tea; that comes from the fruit of a type of citrus.
- Look for 'Claire Grace', 3 feet tall, soft lavender; and 'Peter's Purple', 34 feet tall, lavender-purple flowers.
- Both are highly mildew resistant.
spotted horsemint, dotted mint
- Usually smaller than the other species listed here.
- Blooms in midsummer, bearing two or more whorled clusters of purple-spotted yellow or pink blossoms per stem.
- Good plant for wildflower meadows and naturalized areas.