9 Bee Balm Varieties to Consider Growing

There are tons of different bee balm varieties that come in different colors and sizes. Which should you consider to grow?

Monarda, also known as bee balm, is a native North American plant that thrives in woodland areas. It attracts bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Their tubular petals can be red, pink, purple, and white, giving the blossoms an open, daisy-like appearance.

There are many varieties to choose from. So, whether you are planting this perennial in your garden or cultivating it in a container, which one should you consider?

1. Monarda ‘Dark Ponticum’

‘Dark Ponticum’ is an excellent choice for those who desire a magnificent flower display as well as fascinating foliage. It boasts an abundance of purple blossoms on blue-green foliage, which is unusual for bee balms.

Despite its susceptibility to powdery mildew, ‘Dark Ponticum’ remains lush and dense throughout the growing season. Unlike other susceptible kinds, powdery mildew does not affect the leaves of this cultivar. Mildew vanishes after a few good rains, leaving beautiful blue-green foliage to enjoy far into autumn.

Abundantly growing purple monarda dark bee balm

2. Monarda ‘Balmy Lilac’

The ‘Balmy Lilac’ variety is a gorgeous perennial with lilac blossoms. It blooms from late April until the end of summer. This kind attracts hummingbirds and butterflies.

It prefers moist but well-drained soil, as well as full sun or mild shade. This variety works nicely as a border plant or in a small garden.

3. Monarda’ Balmy Pink’

The ‘Balmy Pink’ variety has lovely pink blossoms. This perennial blooms from late April through the end of summer. Balmy Pink bee balm can grow to be 10 to 12 inches tall. It prefers moist but well-draining soil, as well as full sun or mild shade.

Crimson pink bee balm flower under the heat of the sun

4. Monarda ‘Claire Grace’

This modified wild cultivar has a huge number of light purple blossoms that bloom above glossy, disease-resistant foliage. Although ‘Claire Grace’ isn’t fully mildew-free, the little infections we discovered in our mildew-infested experiment were barely noticeable and did not result in significant defoliation.

‘Claire Grace’ tolerates typical garden soil and has a slow spread rate, which some gardeners may prefer.

5. Monarda ‘Beauty of Cobham’

‘Beauty of Cobham’ is a classic perennial with lovely purple blooms. The Royal Horticultural Society awarded it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit.

If you plant this variety, pollinators, including butterflies and hummingbirds, will come to your garden. The plant looks lovely in a little garden, in a container on a patio, or in your beds and borders.

Beautiful pink cobham flowers in the garden

6. Monarda ‘Petite Delight’

Petite Delight has beautiful lavender rose flowers and a pleasant perfume. It blooms from mid-to-late summer. This cultivar will complement any garden.

7. Monarda ‘Purple Rooster’

Among the cultivars we tested, this one was completely disease-free. The exceptional disease resistance of ‘Purple Rooster’ comes at a little cost to the floral display, as fewer blooms are produced. Even so, ‘Purple Rooster’ has the deepest purple blossoms of any cultivar we tested, so it could be overlooked.

Magenta Rooster bee balm flower closeup picture

8. Monarda ‘Violet Queen’

The leaf color of ‘Violet Queen,’ best described as a silvery haze produced by the fuzzy hairs coating the surfaces of its leaves, is an intriguing consideration. This cultivar is also relatively resistant to powdery mildew. Its blossoms are spectacular and abundant, covering the plant for several weeks. Only ‘Claire Grace’ has a more stunning flower show.

9. Monarda ‘Squaw’ 

Monarda Squaw is one of my favorite varieties. The Monarda’ Squaw,’ like the Monarda ‘Beauty of Cobham,’ gained the prestigious Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society. This plant will reach a height of 3 to 4 feet and would look beautiful in small pots, small gardens, or around beds and borders. It prefers full sun or light shade.

Alaine Connolly
Alaine has been working way too hard in horticulture since 1992, beautifying golf courses, resorts, and hotels. She is a part time landscape designer who works full time caring for a 28,000 square foot public garden. At home, she maintains her own 400 square feet plot. Alaine lives in northern Illinois - zone 5b.
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