Monarda ‘Scorpion’ and Heliopsis helianthoides

August 1, 2009 by  
Filed under Eye-Catching Combos

Bee balm (Monarda) is a great perennial for nearly any sunny garden. Modern selections come in a wide variety of strong colors, and most exhibit moderate to strong resistance to the genus’ Achilles heel: the disfiguring disease powdery mildew. Of the purple bee balms, my personal favorite is ‘Scorpion’. Its color is rich and dark without the strong red pigmentation that makes most purple bee balms tend toward the raspberry end of the color spectrum.

Vivid purple bee balm ‘Scorpion’ and bright yellow oxeye sunflower make a knockout mid-summer combination

Vivid purple bee balm ‘Scorpion’ and bright yellow oxeye sunflower make a knockout mid-summer combination

A perfect companion for ‘Scorpion’ is oxeye sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides). This perennial sunflower’s simple daisies are a foil to the mysterious, hooded inflorescences of bee balm, while its sunshine yellow color matches the dark purple of ‘Scorpion’ in intensity. These two plants bloom simultaneously in late July and early August, and both will rebloom to some extent if deadheaded. They require little care as perennials go except well-prepared garden soil and regular watering. Planted together they’ll make a knockout combination in your garden, too!


2 Responses to “Monarda ‘Scorpion’ and Heliopsis helianthoides”
  1. Sue Huggans says:

    Thank you for giving us the name of the true purple monarda! I am still raving about a simple garden I saw last summer that matched a true purple monarda with Echinacea (in the traditional pink/lavender color). It was spectacular! I’ve been wanting to set up the same pairing, but didn’t know which monarda to ask for. Beyond the two of them was a pink Japanese Anemone, which made a great end statement.

  2. admin says:

    My pleasure! Another good purple is ‘Blue Stocking’ (‘Blaustrumpf’), but it’s more prone to mildew, and I assume that’s why I don’t see it around much any more. ‘Scorpion’ has been a top performer for me. I’ll admit that this year with our difficult weather I gave it and many other plants a preemptive squirt of fungicide or two, but it probably didn’t need it. I was just running scared. I’ve had it in my garden for almost 10 years, so I know it pretty well by now. I think you’ll be happy with it.

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