En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Something eating Monarda didyma in Washington DC

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
2 ratings

Thursday - June 30, 2011

From: Washington, DC
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Pests, Herbs/Forbs, Wildflowers
Title: Something eating Monarda didyma in Washington DC
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Please Help, I have a couple of Bee Balm, Jacob Cline, plants, whose leave are being eaten, by what I do not know. None of the nurseries around here seem to have ever heard of this happening to this particular plant. I took some front and back photos to show you if that would help.

ANSWER:

Sorry, we do not have the computer infrastructure to accept photographs, nor do we have any plant named just "Bee Balm" in our Native Plant Database. There are a number of species of the genus Monarda that have a common name of beebalm.  The 'Jacob Cline' you refer to is no doubt a trade name, but is the native Monarda didyma (Scarlet beebalm. It has been selected for darker reds, which also are thought to be more mildew resistant. The funny thing is, although this is bee balm, bees are slow to get to it, because they don't see the color red. The butterflies see red just fine, clustering around the fragrant plant, and the bees find it soon enough.

Monarda is a member of the Lamiaceae (mint) family, so we are looking for pests of mint. As to what is eating your beebalm, the main problem we found was mildew, but that just turns the leaves and blossoms dark, no eating involved. We found papers from universities on some of the insect pests, and will link you to them. We urge you not to use any poison sprays, but treat with sprays of water or even soapy water, in order to not also kill the beneficial insects that visit your monarda, like butterflies, ladybugs and bees.

Monarda Plant Health Problems from the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station

Mint Flea Beetles from Oregon State University

 

From the Image Gallery


Scarlet beebalm
Monarda didyma

Scarlet beebalm
Monarda didyma

Scarlet beebalm
Monarda didyma

More Wildflowers Questions

Transplanting native bluebells in Texas
July 02, 2008 - Hello Smarty, Italy TX here again! Your advice on crape myrtles has inspired me to try harder, but now I have a question about a TRUE native wildflower,the Texas Bluebell, growing in my pasture. I ca...
view the full question and answer

Bluebonnet Seeds
March 20, 2004 - Where can I get bulk quantities of Bluebonnet seeds?
view the full question and answer

Native xeric grasses for Colorado
June 24, 2010 - Tired of mowing - replacing western exposure full sun lawn with native xeric grass. Please explain the pros and cons of Bouteloua Gracilis (Blue Grama) and Bouteloua Dactyloides Bella (Bella Blue Gra...
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers that will grow in sandy soil in New York
June 09, 2005 - Dear Mr. S. Pants, We live near Albany, NY in what was once a pine forest. The soil is very, very sandy. I've had some success with wildflowers but I have to use some topsoil and humus mixture to ...
view the full question and answer

More on bluebonnets
May 17, 2006 - I'd like to know if Texas Bluebonnets or even Aggiebonnets (maroon bluebonnets) can be grown in the Phoenix, AZ area. If so, what conditions would you recommend doing this in, as our spring and summe...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center