Wednesday, March 25, 2020

What’s Coming Up In The Garden, 10: spotted horsemint

This is my absolute favorite plant in the pollinator beds. I fell in love with it in a pollinator plant class I took with our local extension agent Debbie Roos, and managed to get three plants at the North Carolina Botanical Garden’s annual plant sale that fall. It has spread and done beautifully in my garden. Pollinators of all kinds love it.

Here it is today, coming up in the foreground. The tulips were there when we bought the farm and while they are of course not native, I have let them remain. They bloom early and I can remove the stems before the spotted horsemint comes all the way in.

Below is a nearly mature flower from last year’s horsemint, in the same part of the garden bed. I cannot tell you how much I love these - they take my breath away when in full bloom. A friend who lives on Hatteras says they grow everywhere there, and recommended I manipulate the seed pods in late fall to encourage more growth. I did it the first year and now have many, many more than the three I originally planted. They encompass an entire swath of one pollinator bed now. This may be the year to transplant some of them. For now I’m just enjoying the anticipation.

Here’s more info:

Monarda punctata (Spotted beebalm)
Flaigg, Norman G. 

Monarda punctata

Monarda punctata L.

Spotted Beebalm, Spotted Horsemint, Horsemint

Lamiaceae (Mint Family)



USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

An aromatic, erect perennial ranging from only 6 in. to almost 3 ft. tall. Rosettes of yellowish, purple-spotted, tubular flowers occur in whorls, forming a dense, elongated spike at the end of the stem or from leaf axils. Each whorl is subtended by large, conspicuous, whitish, purple-tinged, leaf-like bracts. 
Linnaeus named the genus Monarda in honor of a 16th century Spanish physician and botanist, Nicolas Bautista Monardes (1493-1588). Monardes never went to the Americas but was able to study medicinal plants in Spain.


Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Greetings from your friend on Hatteras!

I love horsemint. And I have loved this series especially - thank you so much for posting all the pics and info.

Have been spending some of my mental bandwidth - scattered though it may be these days - on planning my own pollinator garden. Hoping to have it in place this year in advance of the bees coming next spring. I think I'll be able to use a number of the plants you have highlighted.

What an excellent opportunity to hone coping skills and self-care habits this crisis has been. #lookingonthebrightside365/24/7

billie said...

Thank you for shouting out - I don’t like to ID folks w/o permission but glad you are seeing these posts and thank you for helping me increase my favorite pollinator plant!

You will create a stunning pollinator garden I’m sure - can’t wait to see it! One must-have if it will grow in your area is narrow leaf mountain mint - it’s a subtle flowering plant - tiny white flowers - but it is by far the most covered in bees of anything in the entire garden, and it blooms for a long time. It’s coming up too so will show up soon in my series.

A great thing to plan for if you can is a trip inland for NCBG’s annual fall plant sale. If you join as a member you get to attend the advance sale and pick up many, many native plants that are often not in commercial nurseries. They list their offerings in advance so you can make a list and they have huge garden carts you can use to gather the plants. I’ve gotten most of my plants there and they are healthy and hardy. And if you plant in the fall they have the winter to develop root structures so usually take off like wildfire in the spring. You’re welcome to stay with me if you want to make a weekend of it. I’m hoping we’ll be at the point of less social distancing by that time.

Thanks for your bright side energy. It’s needed and loved!

Grey Horse Matters said...

That's definitely a pretty plant. I like the tulips too. We have nothing yet. A few green sprouts of daffodils popping up is all and some buds on trees.

billie said...

A, how’s it going up there? I’m worried for everyone but because of my son, daughter-in-law, you, J, etc. am really sending good thoughts to NY right now.

Grey Horse Matters said...

It’s going ok. A little scary how fast this spreads. We’re basically in self quarantine mode. So far we have enough food and supplies. I got an order delivered from PeaPod yesterday. They’re a Shop and Stop ‘s grocery delivery service. Of course they only had half of what I ordered but it’s ok. If people would practice social distancing and wear gloves and masks when they go out I think we could see a quicker resolution to this. But some must feel invincible and pay no attention. I’m sure your son and daughter in law will be fine if they stay inside. Stay safe and well.

billie said...

So glad you’re in safely and getting some food. We’re fortunate that our local restaurants and groceries are offering online ordering with no contact pick up and/or delivery. And some of the local food restaurants are including things like eggs and fresh veggies from local farmers on their menus, so we can get things that way too.

Keep me posted. I like knowing folks are okay out there!