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January 2011
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Monarda didyma – Marshall’s Delight Bee Balm, belongs to the family Lamiaceae

Marshall’s Delight is also known as Bee balm, Bergamot, Firecracker Plant, Marshall’s Delight Bee Balm and Oswego Tea. This Monarda belongs to the family Lamiaceae and is an herbal clumping upright perennial or annual. The clumps are 5 inches in length. This plant can grow up to a height of Height: 2.5 ft. to 3 feet and spread wide about 0 ft. to 2 ft. This plant is a free flowering plant and its blooms are in bright showy pink color and appear in whorls and bloom from July to September. This plant has Clusters of tubular-shaped flowers. It is mildew resistant. It is native to North America and has fragrant foliage and stems are square shaped or 4-angled.
The blooms are tubular and beautiful. The leaves are medium sized, alternate, simple, compound, opposite and axillary. The foliage is glossy and fragrant as that of mint or basil and oval shaped and green in color.
They need full sun or partial shade and evenly moist soil. It grows well in USDA Hardiness Zone 4 to 9 and AHS Heat Zone 2 to 2. The soil pH Range is from 5.5 to 7.5 and needs Sandy to Clay or Loam soil and the Water Range should be from Dry to Moist.
These plants attract Hummingbirds and butterflies. It is used as gardens beds, border and in containers and as a fragrance element in Earl Gray tea.

Growing conditions for Marshall Delight

• They need full sun or partial shade.
• It grows well in USDA Hardiness Zone 4 to 9.
• It needs AHS Heat Zone 2 to 2.
• The soil pH Range is from 5.5 to 7.5.
• It needs Sandy to Clay or Loam soil.
• The Water Range should be from Dry to Moist.
• This plant needs well drained soil.
• Do not let the plant dry in summer.
• Add organic matter to enhance the growth.
• Add mulch to retain moisture.
• Seeds should be stratified before starting.
• Cast directly the seed in cold frames or greenhouses.
• Maintain the soil temperature of 70° Fahrenheit.
• This plant is best grown by hardwood and softwood cuttings, root cuttings, layering and division.
• The division should be done every 2-3 years in early spring.
• Plant in a deep in-ground barrier.
• Space the plants 18-24 inches apart.
• Propagate by dividing the clump in the spring.
• This plant can be cut back after the bloom in the first season.
• This will enhance second growth of flowers.

Care of Marshall Delight Plant

• Water regularly to enhance extensive root system but do not over water or under water.
• Keep surface of soil moist and not soggy.
• Provide enough mulch to retain moisture.
• Divide every 2-3 years to enhance air circulation in the foliage otherwise the plant can become invasive.
• Powdery mildew, rust, tobacco mosaic viruses tend to disrupt established plants. So checking on it is important.
• It is highly resistant to most wilts and viruses.
• It is mildew and deer resistant.

Photos of the plant.

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