Thursday, August 7, 2014

Flower Friday: Attract a plethora of pollinators with spotted beebalm.

Photo by Stacey Matrazzo
Spotted beebalm (Monarda punctata)

Spotted beebalm (also known as dotted horsemint) is a robust, aromatic wildflower known to attract a huge variety of pollinating insects, including bees, wasps and butterflies. Its flowers are inconspicuous, hairy, and whitish-yellow with purplish spots. They are surrounded by showy, leaf-like bracts that vary in color from pink to lavender or purple, often with yellowish-green tips and undersides. Flowers are arranged in whorls. Leaves are hairy with toothed margins and are oppositely arranged. As with other members of the mint family, its stem is square.

Spotted beebalm is high in thymol, which has antimicrobial, antifungal and antiseptic properties and has been used historically to treat ringworm and hookworm infections.

Family: Lamiaceae (Mint family)
Hardiness: North, Central and parts of South Florida (Zones 8–10A)
Soil: Dry to slightly moist but well-drained soil
Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
Growth habit: 1–3+ feet tall
Garden tips: Spotted beebalm has a long bloom time and be a nice addition to a home landscape, but it can quickly outcompete other wildflowers if not maintained. It is easily propagated by seed and cutting. 

Spotted beebalm is often available at nurseries that specialize in native plants.Visit PlantRealFlorida.org to find a native nursery in your area. Seeds are available through the Florida Wildflowers Growers Cooperative.  

To see where spotted beebalm occurs naturally, visit florida.plantatlas.usf.edu/Plant.aspx?id=3478.

-- Stacey Matrazzo

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