Monarda fistulosa “Bergamot”
Bee Balm, Oswego Tea, Horsemint
Packet containing 65mg,
Average contents 200 seeds.
Hardy Perennial, Herb
Blooms: July - September
Height: 60-90cm (24-36in)
Spread: 60-75cm (24-30in)
Position: Full sun or partial shade
Soil: Moist to dry sandy soil.
Monarda fistulosa is a beautiful, lavender-coloured, perennial flower native to parts of eastern Canada and south to Georgia. The handsome plants produce a mass of mauve-purple blooms (even in their first year from an early sowing) and uniquely scented foliage.
Bergamot is famed for its medicinal qualities; it is oil of bergamot that gives Earl Grey tea its distinctive flavour. While in the perennial border, it is simply less brightly coloured selection than the similar-in-appearance Monarda didyma and its many cultivars.
It does best in full sun to partial shade. It can tolerate a wide variety of conditions from wet to dry, will perform in poor dry soils and be luxuriant in good soils. Highly attractive to bees and butterflies, this species has the added advantage of having good resistance to mildew.
Sowing Sow late winter/late spring or late summer/autumn.
Monarda is easily grown from seed. They can be started early in pots or sown directly where they are to flower once all danger of frost is passed.
Sowing in Pots:
Surface sow at 1.5mm (1/16in) deep in pots or trays containing good seed compost. “Just cover” the seed.
Make sure the compost is kept moist but not wet and seal inside a polythene bag until germination which can takes between 10 to 40 days at around 16 to 21*C (60 to 70*F).
Once seedlings are large enough to handle, transplant to 7cm (3in) pots. Harden off before planting into their final positions. Space 30cm (12in).
Plant 1/8in deep in good quality compost. Germination takes 10 to 30 days. Thin out when large enough to handle, so that they are finally 30cm (12”) apart. Provide additional water if necessary until the plants reach 30cm (10”)
Resist the temptation to crowd plants too closely--they will spread of their own accord soon enough. Deadhead flowers to prolong summer bloom.
Clumps should be divided every three years to remove excess woody growth which will over time retard good growth..
Use young leaves for flavouring for meats. The petals are edible in salads.
In tea, (Oswego Tea) the leaf is used to treat many ailments, including colic, flatulence, colds, fevers, stomach aches, nosebleeds, insomnia, heart trouble, worms and measles. The poulticed leaves are applied for headaches. Both leaves and blooms contain thymol-related antibiotic-antiseptic compounds.
When crushed, the leaves can make an effective insect repellent
Bedding plant, Informal / cottage garden, Bee & Butterfly garden. Herb Garden, Cut flower arrangements and to perfume pot-pourri.