University of Vermont Extension System
Department of Plant and Soil Science

Perennial of the Month - July 1998

Monarda didyma 'Blue Stocking' ('Blaustrumpf')

(mo-nar' dah di-di-mah')

Common name: Beebalm, Oswego Tea, Monarda, Bergamot, Horsemint

Family: Lamiaceae, Mint

Height x width: 2-4' x 3'

Growth rate: moderate to fast

Foliage: opposite, ovate to ovate-lanceolate, 3-6" long, serrate margins, smooth (glabrous) to hairy (villous-hirsute), distinctive scent to bruised leaves, 4-angled stem characteristic of family, dark green

Flowers: violet-blue; 2-3" tubular flowers in dense terminal whorls either in one or two layers; mid to late summer

Hardiness: zones 3-9

Soil: tolerates most including drought

Light: sun, spreads faster in shade

Pests and Problems: one of most resistant cultivars to powdery mildew in trials in Vermont

Landscape habit, uses: borders, naturalized, bees and hummingbirds; aggressive habit especially in South

Other interest: native to eastern N. America; genus named for Nicolas Monardes, a 16th century Spanish botanist; name Oswego Tea is from early explorer John Bartram who found settlers near Oswego, NY using leaves for a tea (it is still used in Earl Grey tea); name Beebalm is from its attractiveness to bees.

Other culture: division usually needed every 3 years as centers die out and to prevent excessive spread; allow air circulation and provide sufficient moisture to reduce mildew; remove spent flowers for prolonged bloom

Propagation: division of clumps in spring is most common for cultivars, also possible from seed for species and cuttings (softwood and root)

Sources: many; as always, check with your local garden center or perennial nursery


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