July 15, 2016
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Lemon Mint or Purple Horse Mint (Monarda citriodora) is a Tennessee native annual wildflower, and it is turning into one of my absolute favorite flowers to grow. I thought it would be fun to put up a post on it. It is very pretty, gets about 2-3 feet tall (not so tall that it is likely to need staking), blooms most of the summer, is not fussy about soil (one site even says it prefers clay) and tolerates drought. It also attracts lots of butterflies and bees. I went out this morning and I had both a Tiger Swallowtail and a Red Admiral feeding on it. Lots of native bees are always on it. The only drawback that I have found is that since it is an annual, it needs to re-seed for the following year. In my first major planting, it came up really well but disappeared after the first year, so it doesn’t seem to be too competitive with other plants. I tried another new planting area this past spring, and I now have lots of this plant. I am hoping for better luck with it re-seeding for next year. But even if I don’t get new plants next year, it does make a wonderful, spectacular “nurse crop” on a first year planting of native species.