Our family now has a new favorite garden perennial plant. Ever since our ‘Jacob Cline’ Monarda (Monarda didyma ‘Jacob Cline’) came into bloom, it has been the most gorgeous flower we have tried in our landscape. Ruby-throated hummingbirds simply flock to its scarlet red flowers for nectar. This cultivar towers above the other perennials, as it stands about 4 feet tall. It requires some support in partial shade, so we use large, round, wire plant supports that were installed when the plants were just coming up for the spring; then, they grow up through these supports. Monardas grow best in half to all-day sunlight and do prefer a somewhat moist soil. ‘Jacob Cline’ is a powdery mildew resistant cultivar, which is a fungal disease that ruins the foliage of many monardas.
Other powdery mildew resistant monardas to consider are ‘Gardenview Scarlet’, ‘Dark Ponticum’, ‘Violet Queen’, and ‘Grand Marshall’. Although they are past their bloom time, which is mid-May through mid-June, we are rapidly approaching the best time to plant perennials in the South Carolina landscape – the month of October. Visit your local garden center for the new arrivals later this month! For more information on attracting pollinators and planting and growing perennials, please see HGIC 1727, Pollinator Gardening, and HGIC 1153, Growing Perennials.