Vigorous plant with wonderful taste and lemony aroma
There is common confusion about Bergamot. Bergamot fruit is a small sour kind of orange from Asia. The Chinese used Bergamot oil to flavour teas, which the English now call Earl Grey. When the English went to America they discovered a herb Monarda Bergamot which had an aroma similar to the Bergamot fruit and it became popular as a Bergamot tea.
Lemon Bergamot (Monarda citriodora) is an American herb that was widely used by native Americans. It was introduced to the early colonists by the Oswego Indians, and Oswego tea was made by colonists during the time of the Boston Tea Party. Lemon Bergamot herb is a member of the mint family which has a citrus smell when crushed.
Lemon Bergamot plant is also known as Lemon Bee Balm, Lemon Mint, Prairie Bergamot, Wild Bergamot, Lemon Horsemint, Lemon Horse Mint, Plains Horsemint, Lemon Bergamot, and Purple Horse Mint.
The strongly lemon-scented leaves are excellent in teas and as culinary herb, the flowers are edible. Its leaves are used fresh in salads and drinks and dried in herbal teas and potpourri blends. Lemon Bergamot has showy, scarlet flowers in large heads or whorls at the top of the stem.
Lemon Bergamot herb is growing erect with leaves 3-8cm long. The bergamot flowers are very pretty in white or pink with purple dots. Young leaves can be used in herbal teas or for any gourmet dish, especially fish, where a strong lemon flavour would add interest. Lemon Bergamot is an attractive plant which will attract the attention of bees, as well as people, in any herb garden.
Like all mints, Lemon Bergamot, can be confined to a pot. Mints grow better in pots with lots of surface area rather than lots of depth.
Seed Spacing Sow Bergamot seeds at 1/8” to1/4” deep and cover lightly with soil.
Soil Requirements Bergamot herb likes light, dry alkaline, fertile soil.
Growing Mix One-third sand and two-thirds commercial plug mix.
Plant Spacing Place at least 12”-18” apart.
Fertilize Add a general purpose fertilizer once a month in the growing season.
Sun & Lighting Full sun or partial shade. At least 6 hours of continuous, direct sun per day.
Water Requirements Dry to Normal. Average water is needed during the growing season, but take care not to overwater.
Propagation by cuttings: Take Bergamot stem tip cuttings about 3-4 inches long. Remove the lower leaves, all flower or seed heads and insert the stems into a growing mix. Bury each cutting up to the first node. Place the cuttings in an enclosed area and mist them several times a day. In 4 to 5 weeks the cuttings should be well rooted and can be transplanted to pots.
Lemon Bergamot is a lovely citrus scented mint plant that can be used fresh or dried.
Lemon Bergamot (Monarda citriodora) tastes like a combination of lemon, pepper and thyme. It goes well in stuffing and sauces for various meats. Especially improves the flavor of pork dishes.
Five or six large fresh Bergamot leaves or 1 teaspoon dried leaves in 8 ounces boiling water make a refreshing and relaxing herbal tea.
Medicinal Uses: Infuse leaves in oil as a hair conditioner. Apply to pimples, inhale for colds, or drink a little for nausea, flatulence and insomnia. Monarda Bergamot is said to relieve stress, anxiety, and depression, and contribute to a calm sleep. It is used in Europe to treat infections of the skin, respiratory tract, and urinary tract.
Lemon Bergamot leaves contain citronellol, which is an effective insect repellent when rubbed on the skin.
Lemon Bergamot flowers and leaves are used for wreaths, posies, aromatic bath water, cut flowers, perennial border and beds, potpourri, perfumes, scented oil and candles.
Lemon Bergamot works synergistically with angelica, cedar, chamomile, geranium, lavender, lemon, neroli, rose, and ylang-ylang.
Precautions: Avoid sunlight if applying directly to the skin or using in bath water.
Like most Lemon-scented plants, Lemon Bergamot is a cleansing herb and has a reputation for clearing away bad luck in love and drawing in a new lover.