Disease-Free Bee Balm Rocks Containers

Bergamo bee balm serves up a summer-long display of colorful flowers, minus the pesky powdery mildew that many bee balms are prone to.

This hybrid bee balm forms a compact, multi-branched plant with clean green leaves that have a pleasant mint/oregano scent. The many upright flower stalks hold fanciful whorls of lavender flowers and showy rosy purple bracts. Butterflies and hummingbirds love these long-lasting, nectar-laden blooms! Bergamo bee balm makes a striking vertical accent for flower beds and is a definite “thriller” as a central element in containers.

Common name: Bergamo bee balm
Botanical name: Monarda ‘Bergamo’
Plant type: Short-lived perennial usually grown as an annual
Zones: 5 to 8; all zones as annual
Height: 18 to 24 inches
Family: Lamiaceae


Growing conditions

  • Sun: Full sun or partial shade
  • Soil: Loamy garden soil or well drained potting mix
  • Moisture: Evenly moist but well drained


Care

  • Mulch: None
  • Pruning: None
  • Fertilizer: Apply diluted soluble fertilizer as needed.


Propagation

  • Seeds


Pests and diseases

  • No major problems


Garden notes

  • Sow seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before your planting date to produce robust transplants; seeds can also be direct-sown outdoors.
  • Combine Bergamo bee balm with white and light pink flowers and silver foliage for a sophisticated look, or go wild and combine it with bright gold, orange and purple flowers.
  • Include Bergamo bee balm in butterfly gardens along with milkweeds, zinnias, and other butterfly-friendly flowers.


All in the family

  • Bergamo bee balm is a member of the mint family (Lamiaceae), a large family that includes many familiar herbs and ornamental plants.
  • Culinary herbs in the mint family include rosemary, mint, basil, oregano, marjoram, sage, lemon balm and thyme.
  • Many (though not all) mint family plants have square stems.
  • There are about a dozen Monarda species, all native to North America, and many garden hybrids.


Where to buy

Photo: Burpee