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Oswego Tea, Bee Balm, Beebalm, Bergamot, Firecracker Plant 'Colrain Red'


Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Monarda (mo-NAR-da) (Info)
Cultivar: Colrain Red



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Flowers are fragrant

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:


Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer




Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:


Oldsmar, Florida

Saint Charles, Illinois

Royal Oak, Michigan

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Kirtland, New Mexico

Murfreesboro, Tennessee

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Sep 18, 2008, aprille1 from Kirtland, NM (Zone 6b) wrote:

I love this plant! I planted them last year, the red ones that are so prone to powdery mildew (did not know it at the time of purchase). Last year they did not bloom at all, but did get a lot of the ugly mildew on their leaves. I was unhappy, but gave them another year.

This year, many, many more than the few plants I'd purchased grew in a circle around the area the old plant from last year had been. They were expensive to buy initially, but wow what an investment. I got so many more and for free. And the pattern they grew in sort of looked like they'd just grown there on their own.

What I have noticed about my super-dry New Mexico climate is that if I keep them watered ... almost daily here.... it really helps keep the powdery mildew down. That was my... read more


On Jul 2, 2008, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

The 'Colrain Red' is a fairly tall monarda, but mine have not flopped or shown any signs of mildew. They also have no scent (at least that I can detect.) The bees love this plant (not surprisingly), and it's a great deep magenta-red for the mid- or back-of the border (I made the mistake of planting mine near the front, not realizing they'd get this tall. I'll move them to the back of the border this fall.


On Apr 23, 2008, Marshmellow from Fitchburg, MA wrote:

I live in zone 5, I planted 3 of these plants in full sunlight. After growing several feet they flopped to the ground and started growing like a vine. If in zone 5, I don't recommend this tall variety. When I went to stake one, lifting it off the ground the plant broke off at the base, you better stake them sooner rather than later.

Next, their smell, they are extremely fragrant and as nice smelling as paint thinner, or ammonia, or boys BO it's sharp and toxic smell is that pungent. My spouse and I simply can not STAND the smell. In fall it got covered in powdery mildew and looked horrible! Just when I thought there couldn't be enough pain come spring my 3 plants had turned into 300! They send out runners like no tomorrow, any stem that falls on the ground roots. An... read more