COMMON NAMES: HORSEMINT, LEMON MINT
LOCATION: Full sun
PLANTING: Plant seed summer through fall. Transplants can be done in the fall.
HEIGHT: 2 to 3 feet
SPREAD: 2 to 3 feet
FINAL SPACING: 10 to 18 inches
BLOOM/FRUIT: Purple flowers in strong upright spikes in late summer.
GROWTH HABITS/CULTURE: Upright and slowly spreading. Sturdy, tough wildflower. Easy to grow in most well-drained soils. It likes soil that is on the dry side. The leaves and foliage have a very strong lemony fragrance when bruised.
PROBLEMS: None serious
HARVEST/STORAGE: Use fresh or store the foliage and flowers in a cool, dry place or frozen.
CULINARY USES: Use similar to mints. Add to soups, stews and meats. This is the strongest of all the monardas and not my favorite for culinary use.
MEDICINAL USES: Teas for colds, coughs, fevers and various respiratory problems. All Monardas have vitamin C content. The others listed under “INSIGHT” are better for medicinal uses.
LANDSCAPE USES: Wildflower and can be used in the perennial garden.
OTHER USES: Excellent bee attracting plant, and repellent for fleas and chiggers. Fresh or dried flowers can be rubbed on pants and socks to repel chiggers and other pests. Dry flowers can be crushed into powder to dust for insect control.
INSIGHT: Nothing browses any of the monardas - even deer. The
Monarda genus comprises a number of fragrant herbs with espeically beautiful flowers. Most are native plants. Seeds are increasingly available in mail-order catalogs, and small plants are being seen more often in retail nurseries. This wildflower is incorrectly reported to be the source of citronella oil. Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamont), has pink to lavender flat feathery flowers, Monarda punctata (spotted bee balm) has spotted purplish flowers, Monarda alba has white feathery flowers and Monarda didyma has flat feathery red flowers.
Horsemint - This is one of the monardas that is probably too strong to ingest but makes an excellent insect repellent. The flowers (fresh or dried) when crushed and rubbed on pant legs and socks, repel fleas, ticks and chiggers.