Mint: Lemon (Monarda citriodora)
Also Known As: Lemon Bee Balm, Lemon Bergamot, Prairie Bergamot, Lemon Horsemint, Plains Horsemint, Purple Horse Mint.
Native Range: Central and southern United States, and northern Mexico
Ease of Growing: Easy
Grown as: Perennial
Maturity (Blooms): May to August
Light: Full sun to part shade.
Water: Dry to medium
Soil moisture: Dry to medium moisture
Attracts Beneficial Insects?: Yes. Bees, Butterflies, and Hummingbirds as well as resisting Deer.
Containers?: Yes. you need a container with adequate drainage for healthy plant growth. Pot up your mint plant with a good potting mix, either a regular commercial type or one with equal amounts of sand, peat, and perlite mixed in.
Sow Depth: On Soil Surface
USDA Zones: 2-11
Produces: Smooth lemon scented mid-green leaves. Leaves are narrowly lanceolate to oblong and about 2 inches long. They are awn tipped with remotely serrate to nearly entire margins.
Garden Uses: Bedding plant, cottage gardens, herb gardens, native plant areas, prairies, roadsides or waste areas. Also effective in hummingbird or butterfly gardens. Leaves may be used to make herbal teas or may be added to potpourris.
Using companion plants as a border, backdrop, or interplanting in your garden beds will allow you to harness the ecosystem to its full potential. It is best to use plants native to your area so that the insects you seek to attract will know what to look for!
Hummingbird Garden Plants: Bergamot attracts hummingbirds with its red and pink blossoms and its tubular flowers that are naturally suited for a hummingbird's long beak. Other similar flowers include Western columbine (Aquilegia formosa), with red and yellow flowers, or silver sage (Salvia argentea), with white flowers tinged with red. Both companions also thrive in full sun or partial shade in USDA plant hardiness zones 5b through 10b.
Herbs: As a member of the mint family, bergamot leaves have a minty smell and make a pleasant, herbal tea. Bergamot adds color and height to an herb garden and should be planted near the center of the garden surrounded by your preference of shorter herbs grown as annuals, such as basil, thyme, chives and parsley. Add a perennial herb such as rosemary in USDA plant hardiness zones 7a through 11 for year-round interest in the garden bed.
Colors: Also grown in full sun in USDA plant hardiness zones 4 through 11, bright yellow daylilies would work well planted in the same garden bed with the warm colors of bergamot. For a contrasting accent, midnight blue agapanthus (Agapanthus x "Monmid") adds the cool-blue color in USDA plant hardiness zones 7b through 11.
Shapes: As a 6- to 8-inch ground cover growing around the base of bergamot, the light green leaves and multiple flowers of dwarf annual phlox (Phlox drummondii) thrive in USDA plant hardiness zones 5a through 11 and come in a variety of colors. The blue-gray leaves of the perennial blue oat grass (Helictotrichon sempervirens) contrast nicely in both shape and color with bergamot. Blue oat grass thrives in USDA plant hardiness zones 5b through 10b.
Basil: Italian Large Leaf (Ocimum basilicum)
Basil: Lemon (Ocimum basilicum)
Basil: Purple Ruffles (Ocimum basilicum)
Basil: Spicy Bush (Ocimum basilicum var. minimum)
Basil: Sweet (Ocimum basilicum)
Chives: Garlic (Allium tuberosum)
Chives: Onion (Allium schoenoprasum var. album)
Parsley: Italian Giant (Heirloom) (Petroselinum crispum var. neapolitanum)
Only a few left!
Thyme: Common (Thymus vulgaris)
Thyme: Creeping (Thymus serpyllum)
This plant is widely known as an herb. Thyme is the source of the oil Serpolet, which is used in herbal medicine. The plant is also often used as a food seasoning and the dried leaves may be used to make tea! This low growing plant with creeping, woody foliage bears small, lavender colored flower during the months of June and July. The hardy plant tolerates some pedestrian traffic and produces odors ranging from heavily herbal to lightly lemon, depending on the plant!