Monard is a lovely aromatic summer flowering herbaceous perennial wich is irresistible to bees, and to lots of gardeners. There are both perennial and annual varieties of Monarda, but most commonly grown and widely available for best value select the perennial varieties which come again each year.
Monarda is long flowering and fully hardy, it is tolerant only of light shade and is really a sun loving perennial. Monarda will tolerant moist soil and if grown in very dry conditions, it's prone to powdery mildew. Like many aromatic plants it dislikes excessive winter wet. This makes Monarda a bit picky as to where to plant it, neither too wet nor too dry, but essentially its wants to be planted on well-drained soil in a sunny position and if planted right, it is easy and maintenance free.
Monarda will attract bees and butterflies all summer long. It does not need staking, most varieties grow to around 1m although there are some newer, dwarf varieties now available.
Regular dead heading will encourage long flowering. It is possible to Chelsea Chop Monarda before flowering which will make for a more compact plant and which will flower later than otherwise would be the case. Reduce height by about one third in May- more about how and when to do the Chelsea Chop.
Monarda's common names are Bee Balm, as it has great allure to the bees, and also Bergamot because the leaves are scented and when rubbed it is said they smell similar to the Bergamot oranges. Some varieties can be short-lived perennials, almost annuals really, such as 'Bergamo'. Others, as illustrated above right M. 'Squaw' are more long lasting.