Bergamot (Bee Balm)

Monarda spp

Bergamot, encompassing various species in the Monarda genus, is a vibrant and aromatic perennial herb native to North America. Known for its distinctive spiky flowers and fragrant foliage, it is a prized addition to gardens and naturalized areas. It thrives in well-drained soils in sunny to partly shaded areas.

Flowers: J F M A M J J A S O N D
Origin: Different species of Bergamot are native to North America, with varieties found in regions from eastern Canada to the southern United States.
Family: Lamiaceae (Mint family)
Size: Bergamot species can range from 1 to 4 feet (0.3 to 1.2 meters) in height, with a spread of 1 to 3 feet (0.3 to 0.9 meters).
Sun: Thrives in full sun to light shade. It requires at least 4-6 hours of direct sunlight daily for optimal growth.
Watering: While drought-tolerant once established, regular watering during dry spells is beneficial, especially for young plants.
Growth Rate:
Soil: Well-drained, fertile soil is preferred. It can adapt to a range of soil types, including clay and sandy soils.
Pruning: Deadhead spent flowers to encourage continuous blooming.
Disease and Pests: Powdery Mildew
Uses: Bee Balm is a favorite among bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, making it an excellent choice for pollinator-friendly gardens. The leaves can be used in herbal teas, salads, and as a flavorful garnish.
Notes: The cultivar  ‘Raspberry Wine’ has red blossoms and is less susceptible to powdery mildew than other cultivars.


Springtime Sanctuaries: The Importance of Leaving Stems for Pollinators

In the delicate dance of spring’s arrival, our gardens hold secrets of renewal. Among them, the steadfast sentinels of last year’s growth stand tall – the perennial and grass stems. While their outward appearance may suggest dormancy, within their midst lies a bustling ecosystem.

Many insects, including beneficial ones like bees, butterflies, and ladybugs, overwinter in the hollow stems of perennials and grasses. These stems provide shelter from harsh winter conditions, protecting them until spring.

The uncut perennial and grass stems also serve as valuable nesting material for various bird species. Birds, especially those that build cup-shaped nests, such as finches and sparrows, often seek out these stems. They will gather and weave them into their nests, providing a secure and insulated environment for their eggs and fledglings.

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