Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Shade and Drought Tolerant Plants for Idaho Shade
March 18, 2016 - I am looking for plants native to Idaho and/or the surrounding region (zone 6 or 7) that would do well in full shade conditions (adjacent to the north side of our house) and meet several criteria: Max...
view the full question and answer

Native wildflower garden for Pennsylvania
May 21, 2008 - Hello, I am interested in making a garden, and I would like to use only or mostly native wildflowers in it. Do you have any good suggestions for wildflowers that I can transplant from places where the...
view the full question and answer

Is it illegal to pick the state flower (Mountain laurel) in Connecticut?
March 25, 2009 - Is it illegal to pick the state flower (mountain laurel) in CT?
view the full question and answer

What is the name of the Texas Wildflower that smells like grape koolaid?
March 28, 2014 - Can you tell me the name of the Texas wildflower that smells like grape koolaid? I live in north west Texas and every spring, the low growing purple flowers line spots along the roadside. It's a joy ...
view the full question and answer

Native wildflowers attracting bees in Schulenberg TX
March 12, 2011 - What native wildflowers are honey bees attracted to?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.