What is attracting most pollinators at Plant Exchange today is the native plant, Wild Bergamot or Bee Balm (USDA Zone 4-8). The perennial likely will continue blooming into the summer. Wild Bergamot grows to about 4 feet tall, and the stems remain upright in windy conditions in the back of the flowerbed.
According to Xerces Society criteria, Bee Balm attracts birds, butterflies, and native and bees and bumblebees. It is also deer resistant with its herbal qualities. The hind of a small bumblebee with loaded pollen bags is in the mid-photo below. Notice the characteristic leaf to stem and stem in the middle of a flowerhead.
Linnaeus named Monarda fistulosa with its tubular flowers in a circular head after a Spanish physician who studied medicinal plants. Some enjoy tea from its aromatic leaves. As well, leaf oil was used historically to treat respiratory ailments.
Bee Balm grows in clumps, so it can be shared by root divisions or started from seed. Dividing the plants after a few years invigorates them. Because it grows in clumps, it is not known as invasive but is classified as a weed in Nebraska. A variety of flower colors are available in Monarda cultivars.
The short video shows Monarda pollinator interest by native and bumble bees this morning.
We hope your spring gardening allows time to enjoy a nature moment.
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I’ve been waiting for a monarda from seed to bloom, and now in the third season it is ready! Others I’ve planted in the garden from nurseries have failed. So strange because it should be easy! Yours are so lovely!