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)
Balsam: Camilia Flowered Mix (Impatiens balsamina)
Poppy, Peony: Red (Papaver Paeoniflorum)
Poppy, California: Red Chief (Eschscholzia californica)
Purslane: Rock (Calandrinia Umbellata)
Four O' Clocks: Red (Mirabilis jalapa)
Columbine: Wild (Aquilegia canadensis)
Zinnia: Cherry Queen (Zinnia elegans)
Yarrow: Red (Achillea millefolium rubra)
Clover: Crimson (Trifolium incarnatum)
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)
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
Canterbury Bells: Blue (Campanula medium)
An old-fashioned biennial. Canterbury Bells form a low rosette of green leaves and upright stems that bear loads of large blue dangling bells. Stems are superb for cutting. Allow some plants to self seed, which will produce another generation for future years.