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Wild Bergamot Flower Seeds
At a Glance:
- Packet of flower seeds
- Perennial plant
- Monarda fistulosa
- Grow up to 3 ft tall
- Plant in full sun
Wild bergamot, also known as bee balm, is a native, North American prairie flower that has been a part of the Native American medicinal and culinary cultures since mankind began inhabiting the North American continent. The name, monarda, comes from the name of the Spanish botanist, Nicolas Monardes, who described many of the qualities of American medicinal plants in a book he wrote in 1571.
Wild bergamot is a member of the mint family. The common name, bee balm, refers to the plant's unusual attraction for bees, and the name, bergamot, refers to that plant's citrusy fragrance which is very much like the scent of bergamot oranges. Wild bergamot was introduced into Britain in 1637 by John Tradescant the younger, but soon perished. In 1744, John Bartram sent the plant's seeds to Peter Collinson in Britain and the plants from these seeds flourished. In addition to attracting bees, this plant is also very attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies. Wild bergamot produces lavender flowers.
Wild bergamot started from seed does not bloom the first year unless the seed is planted the prior autumn. Sometimes seed planted in autumn will produce blooms the following summer, but there is no guaranty. Wild bergamot needs a compost rich soil and does best in full sun except in Zones 7-8 where it can tolerate partial shade. It is hardy from Zone 4-Zone 8. The plants will grow to 30 inches and should be spaced at least 2 feet apart. It is best to plant wild bergamot in the fall, but if planting in the spring, set the seeds once all danger of frost has passed. Once the plants have been established for 2-3 years, they can be dug up in the fall and separated.