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January 2011
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Monarda didyma ‘Blue stocking’ – Bee Balm, a perennial

This plant is a perennial that can grow up to a height of 36-60 inches and spread wide about 24 inches. It is also known as Bee Balm, Wild Bergamont, Oswego Tea, Horsemint and Bergamont. This plant bears purple to deep lilac colored flowers which bloom from June to August. The foliage is green and fragrant. This plant can grow in zones of 4-10. It needs full sun to partial shade. It needs moist and well drained soil. It needs a soil with neutral pH.
It attracts humming birds, butterflies and other pollinators as it is a great nectar source. It can be used as dried and cut flowers. It can become invasive if it is not divided every few years which is preferably in spring. Black-Eyed Susan, Coneflower, Daylily, False Sunflower, Gay feather, Goat’s Beard, Rose Mallow, Shasta Daisy, Speedwell, Yarrow make good companion plants for this plant.

Growing conditions for Blue Stocking

• They need full sun or partial shade.
• It grows well in USDA Hardiness Zone 4 to 10.
• 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 Blue Stocking Plant

• Water regularly to enhance extensive root system but do not over water or under water.
• Provide enough mulch to retain moisture.
• Divide every 2-3 years to enhance air circulation in the foliage otherwise the plant can become invasive.
• These plants can be easily infected with Aphids.
• The plant can get rust, root and crown rot, so check for it.
• The plant is prone to powdery mildew if the soil is dry and has poor air circulation.
• Remove dead foliage and cut back 6 inches and deadhead the flowers to enhance new growth.
• Fertilize (as directed) with Plant-tone or slow-release Osmocote.

Images of the plant.

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