FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Monarda didyma ‘Jacob Cline’ is a sturdy perennial wildflower that expands to form upright clumps. Plants bear deep green aromatic leaves on strong square stems. In summer, they are topped by large rounded clusters of red tubular flowers. Pollinators flock to the blooms in sunny or partially shaded settings with average or moist well drained soils.
HABITAT & HARDINESS: The parent species Monarda didyma occurs from Quebec, New Brunswick and Maine to north Georgia and west to Ontario, Minnesota and Missouri. This is mainly a Northeastern species with the greatest distribution in montane habitats from Maine to Pennsylvania and south into the Appalachians.
This species is indigenous to wet meadows, moist open woods, woodland borders, thickets and disturbed sites.
The cultivar ‘Jacob Cline’ is a tall vigorous mildew resistant selection with large flowers and a long bloom period. ‘Jacob Cline’ was discovered in Georgia. The variety was named for the son of Jean Cline, a Georgia plantsman and garden designer and introduced by Saul Nursery of Alpharetta, Georgia.
Plants are hardy from USDA Zones 4-8.
PLANT DESCRIPTION: Monarda didyma ‘Jacob Cline’ is an upright perennial that expands into colonies from vigorous rhizomes.
Stems are pubescent, green and square with occasional branching. The aromatic leaves are arranged opposite from each other on 1” petioles.
Leaf blades are deep green and ovate or heart shaped. They are 5” long and 2” wide with toothed edges and pointed tips.
The stems terminate in rounded 3-4” flower clusters with several red or purple tinted leaf-like bracts beneath.
The flowers are tubular and over 1” long. Each corolla tube is actually a ring of united petals with a scarlet red color. The tubes are lightly pubescent with lobes toward the tip and exserted stamens.
The flowers are born in a ring on each dense head-like cyme. The lobes and stamens of individual flowers give the flower clusters a ragged appearance.
Blooming begins in summer and lasts for about 6 weeks followed by a crop of ovoid nutlets.
Plants grow 3-5’ tall with a 2-3’ spread.
CULTURAL & MAINTENANCE NEEDS: Monarda didyma ‘Jacob Cline’ thrives in sun or part sun and moist acid humus rich soil. Plants tolerate clay, sand and wet soils.
Plants bloom more vigorously if they are divided in spring or fall every 3-4 years.
This cultivar is resistant to powdery mildew and the aromatic foliage is unpalatable to deer, rabbits and other herbivores.
LANDSCAPE USES: This is a good choice for a Wildlife Garden, Cut Flower Garden, or Meadow. Plants are also used to attract Hummingbirds, as Butterfly Nectar Plants or as part of a Grouping or Mass Planting. Monarda didyma ‘Jacob Cline’ has Showy Blooms and is appropriate for Cottage Gardens, Deer Resistant Plantings, Low Maintenance Plantings and Perennial Borders.
COMPANION & UNDERSTUDY PLANTS: Try pairing Monarda didyma ‘Jacob Cline’ with Coreopsis tripteris, Heliopsis helianthiodes 'Summer Nights', Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’ and Liatris spicata.
Monarda didyma has similar appearance and culture but is generally a taller plant more prone to mildew.
TRIVIA: Bumblebees, swallowtail butterflies and hummingbirds sip nectar from the flowers. Caterpillars of several moth species feed on the foliage. The aromatic leaves and stems are unpalatable to deer and other herbivores.