This attractive, aromatic, mint-family herb draws in pollinators and is used as herbal medicine. Native to much of North America, its leaves are brewed by many native peoples (including Menomonee, Ojibwe, and Ho-Chunk) as a tea for treating colds and flu. It is also used as an external treatment for skin irritations.
Also known as monarda, beebalm, and bee balm.
Days to maturity: Flowers in second year
Seeds per pack: 150
Germination rate: 49% on 10/21/2021 (below standard)
Planting / harvesting notes
In early spring, start the seeds indoors (6-8 weeks before transplant) or direct sow, covering the seeds only lightly and tamping down. Space seedlings 1 foot apart, full or partial shade.
Seed keeping notes
Allow seedheads to dry on the plant. Cut the stalks below the lowest seed clusters. If necessary, dry the seedheads further in the sun on a sheet or table away from moisture and precipitation. When fully dry, whack the seedheads in a bucket, allowing the ripest seed to fall. Sift through strainers to remove the largest chaff, and then winnow off the lighter chaff with your breath, a fan, or the wind.