Tennessee Smart Yards Native Plants

A comprehensive database of Tennessee native plants

Scarlet Beebalm, Oswego Tea


Scarlet Bee Balm, Oswego Tea

Monarda didyma

Full to part sun, moderately wet to medium moisture level, prefers rich humusy soil, acidic pH.  2-4 ft. height, blooms mid to late summer, bright red flowers, spreads readily in a favorable site both by rhizomes and re-seeding.

Germination Code:  A

Native Region:  Blue Ridge Province

Striking, colorful wildflower.  Mildew can be a problem but some cultivars, such as ‘Jacob Cline’ are mildew-resistant.  Divide clumps every 3-4 years to prevent overcrowding.  Needs good air circulation to help reduce powdery mildew.  Attracts bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.


2 responses to “Scarlet Beebalm, Oswego Tea

  1. joystewart January 1, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    I built a small rain garden and pretty much filled it with the cultivar ‘Jacob Cline’ since this is a species often listed for rain gardens. It spread nicely and was gorgeous though quite tall. However, it does not seem to be able to compete with other native species and after about 3 years only a few plants remained. It seems like it needs protected garden space in order to survive long term.

  2. Nancy Snope January 20, 2018 at 7:27 pm

    Pollinators like bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds love beebalm! Beebalm can spread quite rapidly under good conditions. To keep beebalm in check; prior to planting in your yard cut the bottom off a large plastic pot and bury in the ground, plant beebalm inside the pot. The pot will keep the beebalm from spreading out of bounds and will have plenty of good drainage to grow healthy. When the area needs thinning simply dig, divide and share with friends!

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