Native Plant of the Week: Beebalm

Common Name: Eastern Beebalm, Wild Bergamot, Horsemint

Photographer: Cressler, Alan
Photographer: Cressler, Alan

Scientific Name: Monarda fistulosa

General Description: Clump-forming perennial that reaches 2-3 feet in height.  Distinctive pink – purple flowers form at the top of square stems.  Green leaves often tinged with dark red or gray hues.

Habitat: Eastern beebalm grows best in full sun and well-drained, moist soils.  It is found naturally in meadows and thickets.

Additional information: Eastern beebalm is a member of the mint family and can spread quite aggressively by rhizomes. The beebalm in the picture were derived from just two plants that have been in the ground for 3 years.  For best results in Richmond with minimal maintenance, amend clay soils with organic matter for better drainage; add mulch to conserve water; and plant in an area with partial shade and room to grow.  Then sit back and enjoy the comings and goings of hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees.  This species of beebalm has a very wide geographic range that includes most of North America.  When purchasing seeds or plants, try to find a source that can confirm they were obtained from this vicinity so they will be adapted to the weather conditions of the Richmond area.

You are welcome to visit the Native Plant of the Week at 4020 Dunston Avenue.  The featured plant will be in the front yard and will be marked.

Photographer: Wasowski, Sally and Andy
Photographer: Wasowski, Sally and Andy


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