Monarda Species, Wild Bergamot, Wild Bee Balm, Beebalm, Horsemint

Monarda fistulosa

Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Monarda (mo-NAR-da) (Info)
Species: fistulosa (fist-yoo-LOW-suh) (Info)
Synonym:Monarda affinis
Synonym:Monarda albiflora
Synonym:Monarda barbata
Synonym:Monarda coerulea
Synonym:Monarda commutata
View this plant in a garden




Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


Grown for foliage



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

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)

Where to Grow:

Can be grown as an annual

Suitable for growing in containers



Bloom Color:



Bloom Characteristics:

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

Flowers are fragrant

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

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:


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

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


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

Tuscumbia, Alabama

Vincent, Alabama

Phoenix, Arizona

Alameda, California

Hesperia, California

Long Beach, California

Menifee, California

Merced, California

Guyton, Georgia

Itasca, Illinois

Lisle, Illinois

Machesney Park, Illinois

Wayne, Illinois

Jeffersonville, Indiana

Pacific Junction, Iowa

Yale, Iowa

Princeton, Kansas

Shawnee Mission, Kansas

Erie, Michigan

Pinconning, Michigan

Royal Oak, Michigan

Saint Helen, Michigan

Minneapolis, Minnesota (2 reports)

Saint Cloud, Minnesota

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Sturgis, Mississippi

Cole Camp, Missouri

Kalispell, Montana

Frenchtown, New Jersey

Hampton, New Jersey

Johnsonburg, New Jersey

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Rodeo, New Mexico

Schoharie, New York

Balsam, North Carolina

Lexington, North Carolina

Sylva, North Carolina

Glouster, Ohio

Hulbert, Oklahoma

Pocola, Oklahoma

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Du Bois, Pennsylvania

West Chester, Pennsylvania

Whitehall, Pennsylvania

Clarksville, Tennessee

Dickson, Tennessee

Viola, Tennessee

Austin, Texas

Belton, Texas

Wichita Falls, Texas

Salt Lake City, Utah

Springfield, Virginia

Falling Waters, West Virginia

Great Cacapon, West Virginia

Appleton, Wisconsin

Westfield, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jul 14, 2017, Uncbuck from Wayne, IL wrote:

I have this species, Monarda fistulosa, as well as three other hybrid varieties in my perennial gardens. Of the 4 types I have this is the one that grows thickest and has the most profuse amount of blooms .

It tends to not be quite as good looking after blooming as the others and the flowers are smaller but bees (especially bumble bees) love it. I like the soft lavender shade of the blooms. Monarda didyma tends to jump up and slap you with the intensity of its color and size of bloom, fistulosa is much more restrained and adds a softness to the garden,


On Jul 27, 2011, grik from Saint Paul, MN wrote:

This grows in full sun to light shaded woodlandsin my area. I grow some in my garden as well. It is a beautiful plant but as mentioned previously, powerdery mildew can very greatly from year to year. It definitely suffers from this disease sometimes even though I've heard some people claim that it does not. I suppose there may be more resistant strains.


On Dec 12, 2009, HummingbirdDude from Whitehall, PA wrote:

This plant grows wild in a field near my house. It gets to be pretty tall and it smells really good. Also, hummingbirds like it.


On Jun 10, 2009, darylmitchell from Saskatoon, SK (Zone 3a) wrote:

This plant grows in the wild on the northern plains. I've seen them in fields outside my home city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (zone 3).


On Feb 14, 2009, JedS from Shawnee Mission, KS wrote:

Very nice, reliable and colorful bloomer. Does very well in my heavy clay soil. I trim back the off-shoots each year to keep the plant from expanding. I've had it for four years without experiencing mildew on it yet. Attracts a wide variety of bees, which I enjoy watching among its flowers.


On Feb 12, 2009, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

Here is another thing to note - the flower heads are often smaller compare to the hybrids
They loves dry prairie location, also seem to like woodland edges. In Minnesota, one of the most common wild beebalm seen.


On Apr 17, 2007, daisyavenue from Long Beach, CA (Zone 10b) wrote:

This just keeps coming back every year in my herb garden and it is lovely. It does spring a lot of babies but I just pull them and put them elsewhere or give them away.


On Jan 15, 2006, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

I like this plant even though it is prone to powdery mildew. When it gets it, I cut it back and it regrows nicely. If transplanting, it is best to do in spring, as it is not as likely to survive if done in fall. Other names include Horsemint, Mountain Bee Balm, and Wild Bee Balm.


On Jan 17, 2005, JodyC from Palmyra, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

The nectar of the flowers attracts long-tongued bees, bee flies, butterflies, skippers, and hummingbird moths. Among the long-tongued bees, are such visitors as bumblebees, Miner bees, Epeoline Cuckoo bees, and large Leaf-Cutting bees. A small black bee (Doufouria monardae) specializes in the pollination of Monarda flowers. Sometimes Halictid bees collect pollen, while some wasps steal nectar by perforating the nectar tube. The Ruby-Throated Hummingbird also visits the flowers. The caterpillars of the moths Sphinx cremitus (Hermit Sphinx) and Agriopedes teratophora (Gray Marvel) feed on the foliage. A seed bug (Ortholomus scolopax) is sometimes found in the flowerheads. Mammalian herbivores usually avoid this plant as a food source, probably because of the oregano-mint flavor of the leave... read more


On Oct 11, 2004, tcfromky from Mercer, PA (Zone 5a) wrote:

Indians made a tea from the flower clusters to treat fever and colds, a tea from the leaves was used to treat whooping cough, other coughs and sore throats. Chewed leaves were placed on wounds to stop bleeding and treat insect stings, boiled leaves were applied to pimples. It was widely used by Indians and pioneers alike as a perfume for their bodies, horses, hair and homes.


On Jul 19, 2004, vagardener from Springfield, VA wrote:

I have mine planted in a sunny border with purple coneflowers and they look great. They attract lots of butterflies and bees.


On Aug 7, 2003, Ladyfern from Jeffersonville, IN (Zone 6a) wrote:

I really do love the flowers; I like their shape and color better than bee balm's flowers. But the plant is way too tall and floppy and mildewy. It's history in my garden. There's got to be something else out there with lovely lavender flowers that also is attractive as a plant.


On May 26, 2003, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

I dug some of this up in Northern Alabama and it's just doing wonderfully. The first year I dug it up, I planted it right away, but it didn't bloom until the next year.


On Nov 2, 2001, poppysue from Westbrook, ME (Zone 5a) wrote:

This is one of the wild forms of the more common hybrid bee balms. It grows to 4 feet tall with shaggy, whorled, tubular blooms of lavender-purple. This variety is more tolerent dry soils than it's showy cousins. The foliage has a wonderful minty-orange fragrance.

**Update** :o) Well... so much for it being tolerent of dry soils. After the heat of the summer this plant was covered with mildew. In fact you would have thought it was new silver-foliaged cultivar! I haven't decided if I'll give it another chance or toss it. With more moisture it would probably be a gorgeous plant.