Beloved for its ability to beckon bees, butterflies and hummingbirds, bee balm (Monarda) also earns rave reviews for its mosquito-repelling qualities. For many insect-deterring plants to work, you have to crush leaves or blooms to release the plant’s volatile oils. Bee balm is an exception to that rule. As it grows and blooms in your garden, it releases fragrances mosquitoes dislike (so does basil, by the way). Bee balm is a perennial that flowers in a variety of colors and plant sizes. This beauty is Balmy Rose monarda, which is a compact type growing to 1 foot high. It’s a great choice for edging beds or tucking into containers.
A meadow garden literally buzzes with life, thanks to a host of insects that visit classic meadow bloomers like bee balm (Monarda). Plant native bee balm or cultivated varieties—both work well in a meadow and deliver strong season-long color. As the name suggests, bee balm beckons bees (and hummingbirds) by the dozens. Bee balm is a perennial hardy in Zones 3-9, depending on type.
Kick off summer with a bee balm that won’t run all over your garden. ‘Leading Lady Lilac’ forms a lavender cloud in early summer, with a second flush of flowers extending the show into midsummer. Blossoms beckon bees, butterflies and other pollinators, while minty foliage gives deer the brush off. Plants grow 12 inches tall. Hardy in Zones 4-8. Botanical name: Monarda ‘Leading Lady Lilac’
Bee balm, also known as Oswego tea, explodes with floral fireworks in summer. This variety is ‘Raspberry Wine,’ beloved for its burgundy-tinted leaves that resist powdery mildew. Flowers attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Bee balm (Monarda didyma) makes a terrific addition to a cutting garden. Place plants in full sun to part shade with consistently moist soil. Rabbit- and deer-resistant plants grow 30 to 36 inches tall and 14 to 18 inches wide. Hardy in Zones 4-9. Look for bee balm in a host of colors and plant sizes—there’s one to fit any spot in your garden.
Bee balm (Monarda didyma) is a buffet of color and activity in the garden, beckoning all kinds of pollinators, including hummingbirds, butterflies and bumblebees. This bloomer kicks off the flower show in midsummer, ultimately sending up multiple flowers from a single stem. It makes a great addition to a bouquet, lasting a week or more in a vase. Bee balm comes in a host of colors, including pink, lavender, purple and red shades. Choose varieties that have good powdery mildew resistance. Look for varieties from short to this average size ‘Raspberry Wine’ bee balm, which grows 36 to 48 inches tall by 18 inches wide. Hardy in Zones 4-8.