Scarlet Beebalm, Oswego Tea, Bergamot
Scientific Name: Monarda didyma L.
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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
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.
Susceptible to powdery mildew.
Scarlet to pink to lavender to white flowers, 1.5 inches long (4 cm), in mid-summer. Deadhead to extend the blooming period.
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