May 21, 2024

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Bee Balm Will Attract Hummingbirds, Butterflies to Your New Garden

Bee Balm Will Attract Hummingbirds, Butterflies to Your New Garden

For me one of the added benefits of gardening is being able to attract hummingbirds and butterflies. I love watching the hummingbirds cavort outside my window as they jockey for position at my feeder. The first task, however, is to get them to my garden and keep them coming back.

With that in mind, last season I decided to add bee balm (monarda) to the border closest to my windows and the feeder. Close by is my lovely wine and rose weigela, which also is a hummingbird magnet.

I bought several quart-sized pots of “Gardenview Scarlet Bee Balm,” though there are many other types one can choose from. I had terrific scarlet blossoms throughout the summer with very little maintenance besides watering and cutting back the spent blooms. And, of course, the hummingbirds enjoyed this new garden treat as well.

The bee balm I grew likes full sun exposure and is hardy to zone 3. It prefers moist, well-drained soil and should be cut back to prolong blooming. Growers advise dividing mature bee balm every three years.

If you are considering planting bee balm, keep in mind that most varieties grow anywhere from two to three feet tall and need to be planted about 24 to 30 inches apart. So, for most of us they work best towards the back of the border.

Check out the many varieties here. You’re sure to find one that is perfect for your new garden! You can find more information about bee balm at NewGardener.com.

Gardenview Scarlet Monarda — The Monarda ‘Gardenview Scarlet’, Monarda didyma, also known as Bee Balm, Bergamont, Horsemint, Oswego Tea, is a clump-forming perennial that has tubular, two-lipped, red rose flowers with dark green aromatic foliage. ‘Gardenview Scarlet’ stands at 3′ high and has a plant spread of 24-30″ and blooms from July to August. If deadheaded, (remove old flowers from plant) longer bloom times will be encouraged. Monarda needs to be planted in full sun, but will tolerate afternoon shade.Grandview Scarlets are best grown in rich soil in a well-drained area, not being allowed to dry out. The leaves of Monarda can be used for teas and in salads. Attracting hummingbirds, butterflies and bees, particularly when massed, Monarda provides color and contrast for the perennial border, wild garden, meadow, and herb garden or along ponds or streams.

Petite Delight Monarda — The Monarda ‘Petite Delight’, Monarda didyma, also known as Bee Balm, Bergamont, Horsemint, Oswego Tea, is a clump-forming perennial that has tubular, two-lipped, light red to purple flowers with dark green aromatic foliage.

Petite Wonder Monarda — The Monarda ‘Petite Wonder’, Monarda didyma, also known as Bee Balm, Bergamont, Horsemint, Oswego Tea, is a clump-forming perennial that has tubular, two-lipped, light pink flowers with dark green aromatic foliage.

Raspberry Wine Monarda — The Monarda ‘Raspberry Wine’, Monarda didyma, also known as Bee Balm, Bergamont, Horsemint, Oswego Tea, is a clump-forming perennial that has tubular, two-lipped, raspberry flowers with dark green aromatic foliage. ‘Raspberry Wine’ stands at 36′ high and has a plant spread of 24-36″ and blooms from July to August. If deadheaded, (removal of dead flowers from plant) longer bloom times will be encouraged. Monarda needs to be planted in full sun, but will tolerate afternoon shade. Raspberry Wines are best grown in rich soil in a well-drained area, not being allowed to dry out. The leaves of Monarda can be used for teas and in salads. Attracting hummingbirds, butterflies and bees, particularly when massed, Monarda provides color and contrast for the perennial border, wild garden, meadow, herb garden or along ponds or streams.

Bee Balm Dotted Mint — The Bee Balm Dotted Mint, ‘Monarda lambada’, is a variety of Bee Balm that has a unique and dramatic flower cluster. To protest tea taxes, the original colonists drank Bee Balm tea. It is native to the eastern United States.

Grand Marshall Monarda — Bee Balm Grand Marshall, Monarda ‘Grand Marshall’, has longer bloom times than other bee balms. Monarda are best grown in rich soil in a well-drained area, not being allowed to dry out. The leaves of monarda can be used for teas and in salads. Attracting hummingbirds, butterflies and bees, particularly when massed, monarda provides color and contrast for the perennial border, wild garden, meadow, and herb garden or along ponds or streams.

Grand Parade Monarda — Bee Balm Grand Parade, Monarda ‘Grand Parade’, is an exceptionally hardy hybrid from the Morden Breeding Program in Manitoba. In mid to late summer, the compact bushy plants are covered with fun looking 2.5″ lavender purple flowers. Hummingbirds and butterflies cannot resist the sweet nectar of these fragrant flowers! The shiny dark green foliage has a delightful fragrance of mint that deer dislike. Monarda ‘Grand Parade’ also exhibits very good mildew resistance! Monarda are best grown in rich soil in a well-drained area, not being allowed to dry out. The leaves of monarda can be used for teas and in salads. Attracting hummingbirds, butterflies and bees, particularly when massed, monarda provides color and contrast for the perennial border, wild garden, meadow, and herb garden or along ponds or streams.