Monarda punctata,    Horsemint

Monarda punctata, Horsemint

Horesemint, Monarda punctata (pron. moe NAR duh punk TAH tuh) has a fragrant, very beautiful and unusual lavender and yellow flower with pink bracts. It makes a great, long lasting cut flower—one that always attracts attention. A few of Monarda puntata’s common names are dotted horsemint, spotted bee balm and Monarda, but we usually just call it horsemint. This Florida native is an herbaceous, perennial wildflower that grows to three feet in height and blooms in the summer. It is moderately drought tolerant. Plant horsemint in full to part sun and (preferably) well-drained, sandy soil with some moisture retentive capability; although it is tolerant of a wide range of soil types (including the clay loam that so many of us have here in Tallahassee). It will attract many pollinating insects to your garden but is not usually affected by pests. Horsemint can be propagated by seed, division or cuttings.

Horsemint tea is used in herbal medicine for numerous digestive problems and more. Too much can be fatal however, so educate yourself before trying it or limit the amount you ingest and stick to a nice, weak brew. Native Americans used it to make a ‘sweating tea’ to treat colds. Horsemint has the highest thymol content of all the mints. Thymol has strong antiseptic properties. It is also found in thyme and provides that herb’s distinctive, strong flavor.

Photo by Eleanor Dietrich

Photo by Eleanor Dietrich

So plant horsemint for medicinal purposes if you’re interested in herbal remedies . . . or like me . . . plant it just because its flower is so darn beautiful. Either way I'm sure you'll be glad you did.

At Native Nurseries, we stock horsemint in 1-gallon pots. As always, give us a call to check availability before making a special trip (although we’re always happy to see you). Sorry . . . we do not ship plants.

Some information for this blog post came from the following sources –