Monarda Punctata - Spotted Beebalm
USDA Zones: 3 - 8
Height: 12 - 36 inches
Bloom Season: Mid Spring to late Summer
Bloom Color: Purple
Environment: Full sun
Soil Type: Dry, sandy soils
Deer Resistant: Yes
Latin Name: Monarda punctata
Spotted Beebalm (Monarda Punctata) - Also referred to as horsemint, is a native perennial to the Eastern U.S. and typically occurs in full sun areas with dry soil in prairies, sandy areas, rocky woodlands, and coastal plains. It is a clump-forming, mint family member which typically grows 1 to 3 feet tall and is considered to be drought tolerant. Although native to the Eastern U.S., plants do well in the following states: LA , AR , CA , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD, MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , NJ , NM , NY , OH , OK , PA , SC , TN , TX , VA , VT.
Spotted Beebalm makes excellent cut flowers. Remove spent flowers to improve plant appearance and possibly to prolong bloom. The plants spreads by runners to form large clumps, but is not considered to be too aggressive. Monarda is considered to be a pollinator magnent attacting bees, butterflies, moths, and hummingbirds. Pollinators flock to the blooms in sunny prairie-like settings or in gardens with sandy well drained soils. Because of its showy blooms, these wonderful plants are often used in cottage gardens. It is hard to find plants that are deer resistant, drought tolerant, and low maintenance; however, that is exactly what Spotted Beebalm is.
Unlike other bee balm species, spotted bee balm does not need watering except when newly planted until it’s established, and during periods of extended drought when its leaves are wilted or start dropping making it quite resistant to drought. The aromatic leaves and stems are unpalatable to deer and other animals. Even though it is considered to be a perennial plant, it usually is short-lived. If you want its continuous presence in your yard every summer, you might have to divide an existing plant, or start a new plant from seeds every couple of years although chances are that if you don’t remove the seed heads, volunteer seedlings will pop up in your flower beds in the following spring.
So why is it also called Horsemint? The plants have been used medicinally for horses as well as humans. For this reason they are sometimes called spotted horsemint or dotted horsemint.