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Bee balm well behaved and attractive to butterflies and bees

Hanbidge on Horticulture: How to Choose and Grow the Best Perennials – Part III
scarlet bee balm (Medium)
Growing bee balm in the garden provides a scent that is like being surrounded by a giant cup of Earl Grey tea.

This is the third article in the series on my choice of some of the best perennials to plant in your garden. I have received my order of perennials that are showing colour for a long season of bloom, are well-behaved in the garden and are extremely attractive to butterflies and bees. Luckily for you, I also bought a few extra to share with other gardeners.

A selection of other well-behaved perennials that provide lots of long-term colour and of course are supremely attractive to butterflies and bees rounds out this series of articles on how to choose and grow the best perennials.

Plants are special to gardeners and often what we grow has meaning that goes beyond the plants. One summer on a hot July day, I was visiting a friend who is fortunate enough to live on the banks of the South Saskatchewan River. As it was a hot day, I wandered through the poplar bluff down to the water. As I walked, the understory was filled with native monarda or bee balm and the scent of bergamot was just amazing. Ever since that day I always have some bee balm in my garden as the scent is like being surrounded by a giant cup of Earl Grey tea.

The following bee balm, unless otherwise stated ,will all grow about the same size which is 24 inches (60 cm) in height and spread about the same dimension as their height.  They bloom from mid-summer all the way to a killing frost, gracing our gardens with scent and colour attracting butterflies and bees and other gardeners.

Monarda didyma ‘Coral Reef’ has lovely coral to salmon-pink flowers and the foliage is very disease resistant.

Monarda didyma ‘Grand Marshall’ also has good resistance to powdery mildew which is a problem with many perennials. It boasts shaggy fuchsia-purple flowers and is delightfully fragrant.

Monarda didyma ‘Grand Mum’ has a delicate pink-mauve flower and is a slightly smaller perennial at about 18 inches (45 cm) in height and spread.

Monarda didyma ‘Grand Parade’ is an exceptionally hardy, mildew-resistant cultivar that produces an abundance of lavender-purple flowers on mid-size plants that grow to between 12 to 18 inches (30 to 45 cm).

Monarda didyma ‘Jefsnow’ is simply stunning! This monarda has 2-lipped scarlet red flowers that are 3 to 4 inches (7.5 to 10 cm) across. My personal favourite monarda!

Monarda didyma ‘Marshall’s Delight’ won an award of garden merit by the Royal Horticultural Society. Clear pink, beautiful flowers – an all-time favourite!

Monarda didyma 'Petite Delight’ is a tiny bee balm with grey-green foliage and only 10 to 12 inches in height (25 to 30 cm) and spread. The lavender-pink flowers are really quite beautiful – especially against the foliage.

Plants are in 3.5 to 4 inch pots and the cost per plant is $10. There are limited numbers so place your order now to . Once you receive a confirmation along with a bill, you will need to promptly e-transfer the total amount due in order to guarantee your order is filled. Pick up in Saskatoon. If there are any leftovers, they will be available for sale at a future date. Keep up with all of the plants available on our facebook page at

Also available are speedwell, bee balm, gaillardia and a selection of hardy sedums… more on these great perennials next week!

Hanbidge is the Lead Horticulturist with Orchid Horticulture. Find us at; by email at; on facebook @orchidhort and on instagram at #orchidhort.

Tune into GROW Live on our Facebook page or check out the Youtube channel GROW




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