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Monarda didyma - L.
Common Name Bergamot, Scarlet beebalm, Horsemint, Oswego Tea, Bee Balm
Family Lamiaceae or Labiatae
USDA hardiness 4-10
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Moist soils[235] in rich woods, thickets and bottom lands[43].
Range Eastern N. America - New York to Michigan, south to Georgia and Tennessee.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Bloom Color: Lavender, Pink, Purple, Red, White. Main Bloom Time: Early summer, Early fall, Late summer, Mid summer. Form: Upright or erect.

Monarda didyma Bergamot, Scarlet beebalm, Horsemint, Oswego Tea, Bee  Balm

Monarda didyma Bergamot, Scarlet beebalm, Horsemint, Oswego Tea, Bee  Balm
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Monarda didyma is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.9 m (3ft) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 4 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf 10-Apr It is in flower from Jun to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.The plant is self-fertile.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.


Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Flowers;  Leaves.
Edible Uses: Condiment;  Tea.

Leaves and young shoot tips - raw or cooked. They are used as a flavouring in salads, fruit salads, drinks etc[46, 61, 105, 183]. Flowers - raw. They are added as an attractive garnish to salads[183, 238, 244]. An excellent aromatic tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves and flower heads[21, 46, 105, 183]. The leaves give an Earl Grey flavour to China tea[238].
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Anthelmintic;  Carminative;  Diuretic;  Expectorant;  Febrifuge;  Rubefacient;  Stimulant.

Bergamot is often used as a domestic medicine, being particularly useful in the treatment of digestive disorders. The leaves and flowering stems are anthelmintic, carminative, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, rubefacient and stimulant[4, 222]. An infusion is used in the treatment of flatulent colic and sickness, it is also used as a diuretic to treat urinary disorders[4, 238]. The leaves can be harvested before the plant flowers, or they can be harvested with the flowering stems. They can be used fresh or dried[238]. An essential oil from the herb is mainly used externally as a rubefacient in the treatment of rheumatism etc[4].
Other Uses
Essential;  Pot-pourri.

Yields an essential oil, used in perfumery, as a hair tonic etc[46, 61]. The dried leaves and flowers are used to scent and add colour to pot-pourri[238].
Cultivation details
Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Massing, Rock garden, Specimen. Easily grown in ordinary garden soil so long as it is not too dry[1, 200]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Requires a moist soil and a sunny position[4, 200]. Prefers some shade[4] but succeeds in a sunny position so long as the soil does not dry out. Plants are hardy to at least -25°c[187]. The flowers are rich in nectar and are very attractive to bees[4, 55, 244]. A good companion plant, it grows well with tomatoes[14, 20]. Bergamot is a very ornamental and aromatic plant, it is often grown in the herb garden, there are some named varieties[183, 233]. The leaves, stems and roots carry a delicious aromatic orange-like perfume when crushed[245]. Plants are subject to mildew in dry summers[200]. Special Features: Attracts birds, North American native, Edible, Fragrant foliage, Invasive, Naturalizing, Attracts butterflies, Suitable for cut flowers, Suitable for dried flowers, Fragrant flowers.
Seed - sow mid to late spring in a cold frame. Germination usually takes place within 10 - 40 days at 20°c. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer. The seed can also be sown in situ in late summer in areas where the winters are not too severe and will produce larger plants. Cuttings of soft basal shoots in spring. Harvest the shoots with plenty of underground stem when they are about 8 - 10cm above the ground. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer. Division in spring or autumn. Very easy, large divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Monarda citriodoraLemon Bergamot, Lemon beebalm. Lemon Mint20
Monarda clinopodiaWhite Basil-Balm, White bergamot10
Monarda fistulosaWild Bergamot, Mintleaf bergamot, Wild Bee-Balm, Lupine32
Monarda menthifoliaMint-Leaved Bergamot, Mintleaf bergamot12
Monarda pectinataPlains Lemon Monarda, Pony beebalm12
Monarda punctataHorse Mint, Spotted beebalm13
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Botanical References
Links / References
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Readers comment
Elizabeth H.
Wed Oct 18 2006
hi my name is Ali at the U of Regina Canada, you site is wonderful and very useful, It has been very useful to me and to my project for biology, I have one question, is there is caution for the use of this plant, Monarda didyma, polygala senega-L, menthe arvensis, red osier dogwood. If you could please write me back and tell me those, please and thank you, and best luck and wish for you and your research. your sincerely Ali Waissi
Elizabeth H.
sfh dfhs Sun Jun 8 2008

kjhgfd lovely

Elizabeth H.
Flora Norm Mon Jun 9 2008
This perennial attractive to ruby throated hummingbirds and bees!
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Subject : Monarda didyma  

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