Peter’s Purple bee balm

pink flowers on tall stems

‘Peter’s Purple’ bee balm is one of many great Monarda species for Central Texas. There are many native perennial and self-seeding annual bee balms: ‘Peter’s Purple’ is a perennial, winter deciduous hybrid, a cross between native Monarda fistulosa and M. bartlettii, native to Mexico.

Research at the Dallas Arboretum has shown it to be extremely resistant to powdery mildew, a necessary quality for survival in our landscapes.

Like its relatives in the mint family, ‘Peter’s Purple’ creeps easily into surrounding areas of the garden, so be prepared to dig and divide it yearly to keep it in bounds. It isn’t hard to dig up, and transplants easily, so it’s a great pass-along plant.

From late spring through late summer, Peter’s Purple will be covered in gorgeous light purple blooms that are irresistible to hummingbirds. Bees also go crazy for this plant, hence the common name: bee balm.

It is deer resistant, too!

It loves the heat and full sun, but can take light shade, and is very drought tolerant, as well as tolerant of both well-drained and clay soils. It needs a little supplemental irrigation during the hottest, driest times of the year, otherwise, be careful not to overwater.

In shady areas, Peter’s Purple will get lanky and may be unable to support its height and fall over.

Listed as hardy to Zone 6, this Monarda breezes through even the coldest Central Texas winters. It will go dormant in winter, so cut it back to return in spring.

Shooting quickly up to four feet tall, a single 4 inch transplant will also easily grow to a two foot wide clump in its first year.