If you are into bees, butterflies and hummingbirds, then by all means put the monarda or beebalm species at the top of your must-plant list. I find it amusing that in more than 20 years of garden writing, I’ve never touted a beebalm.
Let’s do a little homework first. While scarlet beebalm, Monarada didyma, is native to much of the eastern half of the United States and into Canada, the wild bergamont, Monarda fistulosa, is native to nearly the entire U.S.
The spotted beebalm, known as Monarda punctate, is also native to a large area and a true champion in the world of pollinators. The spotted beebalm is not as showy as the others, but still will attract numberous bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. It come in a range of colors – pink, green, beige and maroon.
I have seen very few plants bring in pollinators in such numbers. The flowers are sweetly fragrant and reach about 3 feet tall. The spotted beebalm is perennial and cold hardy from zones 3-9. It may be easier to find online or mail order than at your garden center. If you have a garden center specializing in natives, then you may be in luck.
Like most monarda the best performance will be in well-drained soil. Though they will thrive in full sun, a little afternoon shade is certainly tolerated. After you plant, apply a good layer of mulch to help conserve your moisture. You will relish the fact that it is another plant that is deer resistant.
You’ll love it at the woodlands-edge-type bed, backyard wildlife habitat or in just an old-fashioned perennial garden. Try combining with other silver- to gray-foliaged plants such as rose campion, Lychnis coronaria, blue mealy cup salvias like Victoria Blue or the new indigo spires selection Mystic Spires Blue.
Like the other monardas, this one, too, can be used to make herbal teas.