Scarlet Monardella  (Monardella macrantha ‘Marion Sampson’)

This unusual native plant has to rate as one of my best plant acquisitions of the past year. Belonging to the genus Monardella,

Monardella macrantha ‘Marion Sampson’

a small group of  plants native to the Western US,  Monardella macrantha is found in chaparral, woodland and forest habitats in mountainous regions of southern California. ‘Marion Sampson’ is an exceptional selection of the species that will amaze gardeners with its non-stop display of superbly showy tubular, deep red flowers.

In the wild, the plant grows as a groundcover with stem rooting as it grows across the soil. Plant it in partial sun under trees and shrubs where conditions are drier and in full sun where it gets more regular irrigation. I also highly recommend the plant for use in containers as a “spiller” where it will trail over the edge and spill down the side, covering itself with the marvelous deep red flower clusters. In the ground, I like to combine it with Salvia arizonica, another native dry semi-shade lover. In containers, plant ‘Marion Sampson’ with Salvia ‘Ultra Violet’ and your favorite annuals.

Scarlet Monardella is also a fabulous source of nectar for hummingbirds and is like a living hummingbird feeder blooming all spring, summer and fall. To attract hummingbirds with this plant, place it in window boxes, hanging baskets and along the edges of raised beds and rock walls.

7 Responses to “New Plants for Spring 2012 Part #5”

  1. Lauren says:

    oooooh, ahhhh Will this grow in hot Abilene, Tx? 3 months high 90 degrees, 2″ of rain per month?

  2. David Salman says:

    Yes, this perennial is worth trying in Abilene.
    You have two options.
    - It is a great potted plant for container gardens and can be treated as an annual for partial shade.
    - If you try it in the ground, choose a wind protected place with some morning sun but shade all afternoon. Enrich the soil with Yum Yum Mix and keep it mulched with pine needles.

  3. Ann Erhart says:

    How will this work in a container on my “hummingbird plant wagon” out in the hot sun in northwest Tarrant County, TX?

    • David Salman says:

      Monardella is not a plant for hot, full sun. (Read my comment above you question). It is an outstanding hummingbird plant and I would recommend it as a potted plant placed where it will get afternoon shade or all day dappled sun.

  4. Juliette Colangelo says:

    How well will Monarda macrantha do under either pinyon or juniper tres in Sedona, AZ?

  5. Bill Halstead says:

    I read a description of this plant from Colorado State University which said that it is okay in both clay and sand. Since everything else I have seen says that it must have very good drainage, I am wondering if CSU knows something that has been overlooked by others, or if CSU has got it wrong. I know that sometimes an assumed “fact” will get spread around as no-one has checked it out. Could this be the case here?


    • David Salman says:

      Monardella macrantha ‘Marion Sampson’ is not tolerant to heavy clay in my experience. Good drainage is vitally important especially in the spring when the soil can be cold and wet. If you soil is a clay-loam or a sandy clay, the plant will probably tolerate it if the soil is in a raised bed on planted on the side of a berm.

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