Monarda: how to plant, grow, and care for Bee Balm

Monarda (Bee Balm), bergamot, Japanese mint, Indian nettle is a perennial (sometimes one-year) unpretentious ornamental plant of the Lilac family. Forms a beautiful bush with upright shoots from 30 cm to 1.5 m high (height depends on variety and species).

Monarda blooms for about 40-50 days in July-August with fluffy crimson, pink, red, white or purple tubular flowers that are collected in bunches.

Monarda is a wonderful plant for a fragrant garden

Already at the beginning of summer, during the growth of shoots, it is impossible to pass by it – the intense fresh aroma will definitely stop you. Small amounts of monarda leaves can be added to tea, because it is believed that tea with bergamot has healing properties: it treats colds, coughs, and strengthens the immune system.Fresh and dried flowers and leaves of monarda can be added to salads, but they have a rather sharp taste, for the amateur.


Place of planting, soil

Monarda is planted in sunny or semi-shady places. The area where the wind constantly blows will not work. Also, you should not plant monarda in corners where there is no ventilation, stagnant air, there it will definitely be affected by powdery mildew. If you plant a species of monarda, and not a variety, you need to remember that it needs a lot of space, it grows quickly and drowns out the plants growing nearby.

Soil for monarda

Monarda prefers sandy or loamy soil. It grows faster on light soil.


Monarda is grown in one place for 3-4 years, then it must be divided.

Before planting, the soil must be prepared in advance. If the soil is sandy, you need to add peat, compost and sand. If the soil is acidic, clayey, then peat, compost, sand and necessarily a deoxidizer (dolomite, bone or limestone flour, or wood ash) are added. You can add 20-30 g of any granular fertilizer.

Before planting, I recommend soaking the plant in any stimulator of root formation. Plants in a pot are soaked for 20-30 minutes until air bubbles stop appearing on the surface. If monarda has an open root system, soak the roots for 2-6 hours. All broken diseased parts (roots, shoots) are cut to living tissue.

Monarda is planted as it grew in a pot. The apical buds can be sprinkled with earth for 2-3 cm. If pieces of the root are planted, they are carefully laid out on the prepared soil and covered with earth for 2-3 cm on top. The plants must be watered (the solution in which they were soaked can be diluted with water and to water).

If the soil has settled after watering, the buds and roots have been exposed, then they should be covered with earth again and watered. I recommend that the soil around the stems (kidneys) be mulched, this will retain moisture at least initially, while the plant takes root.


Monarda care

It is important to know:

  • In dry weather, monardia needs watering, otherwise it can be affected by powdery mildew.
  • After flowering, the shoots can be left, not cut immediately, the faded heads look decorative. In natural flower gardens, they form interesting combinations with dahlias and echinacea.


If the soil was fertilized at the time of planting, then fertilizing begins in the third year after planting. In the spring, they are watered several times with an interval of 10-14 days with nutrient infusions. And in June, apply any complex fertilizer 15-20 g under the bush. Dissolved fertilizers are absorbed faster by plants.

It should be remembered that an excess of fertilizers leads to thinning of monarda stems and poor flowering.



  • By seeds. The seeds are small, like poppy seeds, but they germinate well. Since thin shoots grow slowly, it is better to sow monarda in containers. You can do it in April-June, the plants will bloom for 2-3 years. The seeds are mixed with sand (1:3) and sown superficially on moist soil, as if salting. The container is covered with film or glass and placed in a bright, warm place. When the steps appear, remove the film and place the container in a mini-greenhouse. If there is no greenhouse, then the container is placed in a large transparent bag with holes on top, this will eliminate regular watering. Monarda is transplanted to a permanent place next year.
  • By dividing the bush. In the 3-4th year, the middle of the monarda bush becomes bare, it does not produce shoots, one root, other shoots thin out. This is a sign that the plant requires rejuvenation, so the curtains have to be divided. The bush is dug up, the roots are disassembled and planted in the necessary places. This can be done in April-May or from the end of August.
  • Segments of rhizomes. Along the periphery of the curtain, you can cut off a piece of the rhizome with both shoots and buds and plant it.

Monarda looks great in any flower garden. It should be remembered that monarda grows late, greens appear only by the end of May. Therefore, I recommend planting such plants as honeysuckle, badan, violet in front of it.

Read more: Planting roses in the spring in the open ground.