About Central Florida Gardener

Welcome and thank you for visiting Central Florida Gardener. Florida is a unique state in which to garden. It can be frustrating but also rewarding for gardeners who persevere. This blog was created as a resource for Florida gardeners, both new and experienced, in search of information specifically for Florida gardens.

You are invited to participate by leaving your comments, suggestions, tips and recommendations relevant to Florida gardening - don't be shy! Thank you for dropping by to learn more about gardening in the Sunshine state. I look forward to hearing from you! Susan

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Spotted Bee Balm - Native Wildflower

If you want to include Florida native wildflowers in your garden then Spotted Bee Balm Monarda punctata is one to include on your "must-have" list. Also, known as Horsemint, this herbaceous perennial is a member of the mint family, and is a favorite of local bees and other pollinators.

The Bee Balm in my garden grows into a  large clump 4' tall and 4' wide, similar to many sages that grow in Florida. It sports clusters of very attractive light lavender flowers, and blooms in late summer through fall. It then sets seeds that the birds dearly love, and in the following spring you'll find Bee Balm sprouting in unexpected places.  Don't panic! While it is self-seeding it does not do so aggressively. In my garden the plant dies back in winter and returns in spring. The leaves have a fragrance similar to spearmint and can be used to make tea with either fresh or dried leaves.


Moisture: This plant is drought-tolerant but may need some water during excessively dry periods.

Light:  It blooms best when it receives full sun, but will tolerate partial shade. 

Propagation:  Start from seeds or divide root clumps.

 Care:  Plant in spring. You can fertilize if you like with a 10-10-10 mix, but it's really carefree and low-maintenance. It's ability to tolerate sea spray makes it a good choice for seaside gardens.

Wildlife:  Attracts many bees and other pollinators. Birds eat the seeds in winter.

Spotted Bee Balm is one of the showiest and prettiest Florida wildflowers. It looks especially good when planted toward the back of a perennial garden where it adds some height to the garden bed. You can purchased Spotted Bee Balm from a local native plant grower or a Master Gardener Plant sale, which is where I found mine.

If you've grown this native wildflower in your garden, please share your experience with all of us in our comments section. And, for more information on creating a "Bee Friendly" garden click here.