Gardening Magazine

Plant of the Week: Monarda Didyma ‘Jacob Cline’

By Davis Landscape Architecture @DavisLandArch
Monarda 'Jacob Cline' flower (17/09/2011, London)

Monarda 'Jacob Cline' flower (17/09/2011, London)

Position: Full sun to partial shade

Flowering period: Mid to Late Summer

Soil: Moist 

Eventual Height: 1.2m

Eventual Spread: 1.2m

Hardiness: USDA Zones 4a-9b

Family: Lamiaceae 

Monarda didyma ’Jacob Cline’ is an aromatic deciduous herbaceous perennial with a clump forming habit. The leaves of the plant are generally lance shaped, opposite to ovate and mid green in colour. They have long serrate margins and have a distinctive scent. The stems of the plant are 4 angled, a characteristic of the Lamiaceae family. The flowers are scarlet red appearing in the form of tubular flowers in dense terminal whorls either in one or two layers. This plant spreads by underground stems.

M.’Jacob Cline’, commonly known as the Bee Balm Plant, Horsemint, Monarda, Bergamot and Oswego Tea Plant, is native to eastern North America. The common name Oswego Tea is from early explorer John Bartram who found settlers near Oswego New York using its leaves for tea. It is not he source of Bergamot used in Earl Grey tea.  Skin contact with this plant may cause some form of skin irritation or an allergic reaction. It is known to be the most mildew resistant plant of this species.

The binomial name Monarda is named after Nicholas Monardez, a 16th Century physician and botanist of Seville. Didyma is derived from the Greek meaning ‘double’ in reference to the flowers having stamens in pairs. Jacob Cline is named after Don Cline a well known plants-man who selected this cultivar. 

Monarda 'Jacob Cline' (17/09/2011, London)

Monarda 'Jacob Cline' (17/09/2011, London)

The landscape architect may find this plant useful as an effective spreading ground cover perennial. It is effective in semi shady locations, providing a splash of colour.

Ecologically this plant is attractive to bees and other insects as it is full of nectar. Also Humming Birds are deeply attracted to its bright red foliage.

This plant prefers soils which are rich, moist and well drained and is not fussy abut soil pH.

Maintenance: This plant requires little maintenance. Due to the fact that the centre of over mature clumps die off its should be divided every 3 years in springtime. This pant may be dead headed to promote longer flowering.

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