Soil: Mesic (Medium) – Xeric (Dry)
Sun: Full Sun – Part Sun
Height: 2-4 feet
Bloom: July – September
Suggested Uses: Wild Bergamot is native to upland prairies but tolerates a variety of conditions. It is a very versatile plant that is a great option for heavy clay soils as well as sandy soils. Give it plenty of room to flourish. Best grown in medium-to-large gardens and restoration projects. It is a beautiful plant with aromatic foliage. Its flowers are attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies and are a nice addition to bouquets as well. Deer resistant and deters insect pests.
Native Range: Native throughout the majority of the contiguous U.S., including Minnesota.
Pollinators: Bees, butterflies, moths, hummingbirds. Favored by the federally endangered Rusty Patched Bumble Bee (Bombus affinis). This is a very important high-value nectar source for adult monarch butterflies.
Flowers: The 2-lipped flowers are 3/4″ long. The lower lip is 3 lobed. It has 2 stamens and sharp-tipped bracts around the flowers. They bloom in round clusters at the top of the square stems.
Leaves: The leaves are 1″-2 1/2″ long, lance-shaped and toothed. They grow in opposite pairs along the square stem.
Medicinal Uses: Waȟpé waštémna or heȟáka tȟapȟéžuta is used to treat a variety of ailments in traditional and contemporary Lakota medicine. Read more from Linda Black Elk and Wilbur Flying By Sr. here.
Food Uses: The fresh or dried leaves can be used for tea. This is not the same as the bergamot that is used in Earl Grey Tea, which is a Mediterranean citrus fruit (Citrus bergamia).
Name: The genus Monarda is named after Nicholas Minardes – a 16th-century Spanish doctor and horticulturist.
Other Names: Beebalm, Elk Medicine.
More information: USDA plant profile