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Scarlet Beebalm, Oswego Tea, Bergamot
Scientific Name: Monarda didyma L.
Family: Lamiaceae
Scarlet Beebalm, Oswego Tea, Bergamot (Monarda didyma)
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Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. Illustrated flora of the northern states and Canada. Vol. 3: 132.
Recommended Temperature Zone:
sunset: All zones
USDA: 4-8

Frost Tolerance: Dies back to the ground in winter

Heat Tolerance: Light shade in Phoenix

Sun Exposure: Full sun to light shade

Origin: Northeastern North America

Growth Habits: Perennial, 3 to 4 feet tall (90-120 cm), 2 feet spread (60 cm); fragrant leaves, 2 to 6 inches long (5-15 cm)

Watering Needs: Regular to ample water, likes damp soil in summer, drier in winter

Propagation: Seeds sown in place in spring or fall, cuttings of new growth in the spring

The leaves of the plant have been used traditionally to make a strongly mint flavored tea, supposed to have a number of medicinal qualities, 1 teaspoon of dried leaves to 8 ounces of boiling water. The leaves can be added fresh, in small quantities, to salad, desserts and drinks. The name 'bergamot' comes from the similarity of its scent with Citrus bergamia, the bergamot orange, a tree grown in southern Italy.
The flowers are very attractive to bees and hummingbirds.

Robert H. Mohlenbrock. USDA NRCS. 1992. Western wetland flora: Field office guide to plant species.

Cultural Practices:
Susceptible to powdery mildew.

Blooming Habits:
Scarlet to pink to lavender to white flowers, 1.5 inches long (4 cm), in mid-summer. Deadhead to extend the blooming period.

References:
Botanica : The Illustrated A-Z of over 10,000 Garden Plants

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