Bergamot

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Monarda didyma, M. fistulosa, M. citriodora 

 

History

Early settlers in North America found wild bergamot growing in woodlands and discovered its use as a tea from the Oswega indians. Also known as Oswega Tea or bee balm. Bergamot is a great plant for bees and other beneficial garden insects.

The Bergamot species are in the Lamitae family which includes mint and lemon balm and like similar conditions.

Growing

Bergamot is a perennial which enjoys full sun, and good drainage. It will benefit from having it’s roots shaded so mulch well. Bergamot can be propagated from seed or divisions. Both M. fistulosa and M. citriodora are available from Kings seeds. Warm temperatures are required for germination.

Maintenance

Feeding:  Keep roots mulched, Compost will improve growth.

Fun Facts

Bergamot Oil that flavours Earl Grey tea is not from the herb but from a citrus fruit grown in Italy.  Bergamot oil is extracted from the rind of the Bergamot orange – Citrus bergamia

Problems and Pests

Generally free of pests and diseases.

Uses

A relaxing tea can be infused in milk:  2 tablespoons chopped leaf gentle warm in a cup of milk.  Infuse for 5 minutes strain and drink.

Flowers are edible and great in salads

The oil has antiseptic and antibacterial properties.