Bee Balm: Scarlet (Monarda Didyma)
Also Known As: Oswego Tea, Beebalm, Bergamont, Firecracker Plant, Scarlet Beebalm, Scarlet Monarda, Crimson Beebalm
Ease of Growing: Easy
Grown as: Perennial
Habitat: It can often be found along stream banks, thickets, road edges and at the borders to woodland openings.
Maturity (Blooms): July to August
Light: Full sun to partial shade. It preforms best in full sunlight but is very adaptable to partial shade conditions.
Soil Moisture: Wet to Medium. Scarlet beebalm prefers moist but well drained soils. Although it can tolerate drought, scarlet beebalm performs better with adequate soil moisture.
Growing Conditions: It grows best in a moist, rich loamy soil with high organic matter content but can tolerate almost any well-drained soil. Scarlet beebalm prefers a pH in the 6.0 – 7.0 range.
Attracts Beneficial Insects: Yes. Scarlet beebalm is an important plant for pollinators including hummingbirds, butterflies and, to a lesser extent, moths, bees and other pollinating insects. Because of the structure of the flower tubes, long proboscises are needed to be able to reach the nectar.
USDA Zone: 4a-9b.
Produces: beautiful clusters of scarlet red flowers that are solitary, terminal and rounded on the end of the branching stems, supported by leafy bracts.
Garden Uses: Butterfly magnet for border fronts. Provides color and contrast for the perennial border, cottage garden, wild garden, native plant garden, meadow, herb garden, naturalized planting or along ponds or streams. Good plant for butterfly gardens and bird gardens.
Bee balm attracts hummingbirds with its red and pink blossoms and its tubular flowers that are naturally suited for a hummingbird's long beak. Other similar flowers include Western columbine (Aquilegia formosa), with red and yellow flowers, or silver sage (Salvia argentea), with white flowers tinged with red. Both companions also thrive in full sun or partial shade in USDA plant hardiness zones 5b through 10b.
As a member of the mint family, bee balm leaves have a minty smell and make a pleasant, herbal tea. Bee balm adds color and height to an herb garden and should be planted near the center of the garden surrounded by your preference of shorter herbs grown as annuals, such as basil, thyme, chives and parsley. Add a perennial herb such as rosemary in USDA plant hardiness zones 7a through 11 for year-round interest in the garden bed.
Also grown in full sun in USDA plant hardiness zones 4 through 11, bright yellow daylilies would work well planted in the same garden bed with the warm colors of bee balm. For a contrasting accent, midnight blue agapanthus (Agapanthus x "Monmid") adds the cool-blue color in USDA plant hardiness zones 7b through 11.
As a 6- to 8-inch ground cover growing around the base of bee balm, the light green leaves and multiple flowers of dwarf annual phlox (Phlox drummondii) thrive in USDA plant hardiness zones 5a through 11 and come in a variety of colors. The blue-gray leaves of the perennial blue oat grass (Helictotrichon sempervirens) contrast nicely in both shape and color with bee balm. Blue oat grass thrives in USDA plant hardiness zones 5b through 10b.
Strawflower (Helichrysum bracteatum)
The original strawflower comes from Australia, where it still grows wild as a native species. The first botanical records of the strawflower date back to 1803, with the publication of a work called Jardin de Malmaison. this book, a catalog of the species grown at the Chateau de Malmaison, was completed by French botanist Etienne Pierre Ventenat at the request of Napoleon's wife Josephine, who had an avid interest in rare plants. Hybrid forms of this flower first became popular in mid 19th century Europe as a result of the horticultural research of expert botanist Herren Ebritsch.
Penstemon: Scarlet Queen (Penstemon Hartwegii)
Camilia Balsam is a sun loving tender annual flower that is native to India and southeast Asia but can commonly be found growing in the northeastern United States. Growing to the height of 30” tall, this plant features lance shaped leaves and small clusters of 2” cup shaped red, pink, and white colored flowers. This plant can be grown in containers, it attracts bees, butterflies, and humming birds, is resistant to drought, great as a cut flower, and best of all, it self sows!
Poppy, Peony: Red (Papaver Paeoniflorum)
Poppy, California: Red Chief (Eschscholzia californica)
Wild Columbine is a native perennial flower that can be commonly found growing in rocky woods, ledges, and slopes throughout the mid to eastern United States. At maturity, this plant reaches the height of 2' and features 1-2” red and yellow, drooping bell-shaped blooms. This plant can be grown in a container, it attracts bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and pollinating moths, it resists deer and rabbits, self sows, and is great as a cut flower!
Zinnia: Cherry Queen (Zinnia elegans)
Yarrow: Red (Achillea millefolium rubra)
Crimson Clover is an annual flower that is native to Europe, but can be found growing across the U.S. in nearly every state. At maturity, this plant reaches the height of 1-3' and features hairy rosette unbranched stems, 1/2-1” heart shaped leaflets, and 1-2 1/2” cylindrical flower heads that bare ½ vibrant red florets. This plant can be grown in a container, it attracts bees and butterflies, is both drought and frost tolerant, and provides forage to livestock!
Sage: Scarlet (Salvia coccinea)
Basil: Purple Ruffles (Ocimum basilicum)
Basil: Sweet (Ocimum basilicum)
Basil: Lemon (Ocimum basilicum)
Basil: Clove Scented (Ocimum basilicum)
Basil: Italian Large Leaf (Ocimum basilicum)
Basil: Spicy Bush (Ocimum basilicum var. minimum)
Thyme: Common (Thymus vulgaris)
Thyme: Creeping (Thymus serpyllum)
This plant is widely known as an herb. Thyme is the source of the oil Serpolet, which is used in herbal medicine. The plant is also often used as a food seasoning and the dried leaves may be used to make tea! This low growing plant with creeping, woody foliage bears small, lavender colored flower during the months of June and July. The hardy plant tolerates some pedestrian traffic and produces odors ranging from heavily herbal to lightly lemon, depending on the plant!
Chives: Garlic (Allium tuberosum)
Chives: Onion (Allium schoenoprasum var. album)
Parsley: Italian Giant (Heirloom) (Petroselinum crispum var. neapolitanum)
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Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
Blue Canterbury Bells is a biennial flower that is native to Italy and France that is commonly found growing in shady areas of moist woods and meadows, and along streams and ditches in the northwestern and northeastern United States. At maturity, this plant reaches the height of 3' and features long, loose clusters of long lasting bell-shaped blue flowers. This plant is perfect for cut flowers, attracts bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, is resistant to deer, makes dyes, and is also edible!
Morning Glory: Heavenly Blue (Ipomea tricolor)
Morning Glory: Picotee Blue (Ipomoea nil)
Sage: Meadow (Salvia Pratensis)
Dwarf Blue Cornflower is an annual flower that is native to Europe that can be found growing in open fields and along railroads from coast to coast of the United States. At maturity, this plant reaches the height of 1-3' and features grayish green, blade-like foliage and long stems topped by a 1” circlet of tiny lavender blue flowers with a darker center. This plant attracts bees and butterflies, provides bird forage, tolerates drought and frost, makes dye, self sows, and is great as a cut flower!
Sage: Kitchen (Salvia officinalis)
Lupine: Sky (Lupinus nanus)
Blue Camass is a native perennial flower that is commonly found growing in moist mountain meadows and slopes in the northwestern United States. At maturity, this plant reaches the height of 2' and features a 2' clump of blade-like leaves at the base of a firm stem, and a large clusters of 2-3” starry blue flowers. This plant can be grown in a container, attracts bee, butterflies, and hummingbirds, can be used as a cut flower, is edible, and self sows!
Sage: Blue (Salvia farinacea)
Penstemon: Rocky Mountain (Penstemon strictus)
Tall Blue Cornflower is an annual flower that is native to Europe that can be found growing in open fields and along railroads from coast to coast of the United States. At maturity, this plant reaches the height of 1-3' and features grayish green, blade-like foliage and long stems topped by a 1” circlet of tiny lavender blue flowers with a darker center. This plant attracts bees and butterflies, provides bird forage, tolerates drought and frost, makes dye, self sows, and is great as a cut flower!
Pea: Blue Butterfly (Heirloom) (Clitoria ternatea)
Butterfly pea vine is part of the Clitoria genus and its scientific name is Clitoria ternatea. The ternatea part of this plant's botanical name means 'set in threes'. It is native to tropical equatorial Asia. It is a perennial herbaceous plant, with elliptic, obtuse leaves. It grows as a vine or creeper, doing well in moist, neutral soil. The most striking feature about this plant are its vivid deep blue flowers; solitary, with light yellow markings. They provide quick covers for lattice, trellis, arbor and chain-link fence, and are a favorite food source for butterflies.
Wild Blue Iris is a native annual flower that can be commonly found growing in the wet areas of meadows and mountainous marshes throughout the western United States. At maturity, this plant reaches the height of 2' and features stiff sword-shaped leaves and 2-3” blooms of 6 segmented violet-blue petals that have a white and yellow center and dark purple veins. This plant can be grown in a container, attracts hummingbirds, tolerates frost, makes cordage, is resistant to deer, and has medicinal properties!