Rick’s Native Plant of the Month | Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa)

July 18, 2023

By Rick Bogusch

Bridge Gardens

This member of the mint family is native to North America and Long Island. It is 2-4 feet tall, 2-3 feet wide and has fragrant, pale lavender flowers in midsummer.

Hummingbirds, butterflies and other insects feast on its nectar and finches enjoy its seeds in fall. Seeds are abundant, so wild bergamot can be weedy, though easy to control. Thriving in average soils in full sun, it also does well in dry, rocky soils.

Powdery mildew can be a problem in humid weather and when air circulation is poor. A mildew-resistant variety is available.

Wild bergamot is great for borders and naturalizing in meadows and along sunny woodland edges. At Bridge Gardens, you can find it in the Herb Garden’s medicinal bed, because of its use by indigenous people to treat colds, infections and stomach disorders.

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