Wild Bergamot

An essential for the forest garden, wild bergamot is a hardy native perennial that attracts pollinators and offers numerous medicinal uses. The entire aboveground plant is edible.

Common Name: Wild Bergamot, Bee Balm, Horsemint
Scientific Name: Monarda fistulosa (pink), Monarda didyma (red)
Family: Lamiaceae

A blossom on wild bergamot on the summer solstice.

A blossom on wild bergamot, or bee balm, on the summer solstice.


Sweet and minty edible flowers, excellent for tea.

  • Medicinal
  • Nectary
  • Attracts beneficial lacewings
  • Aromatic pest confuser

Medicinal Properties

  • Antiseptic
  • Carminative
  • Diaphoretic
  • Diuretic
  • Stimulant

Forest Garden Designing

  • Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial
  • Plant Leaf Type: Deciduous
  • Layer Use: Herbaceous
  • Pollination: Self-fertile
  • Flowering: June through September
  • Leaf Shape: Ovate or ovate-cordate, serrated margins
  • Height: 2-4′
  • Width: 2-6′

Planting Considerations

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3-9
  • Light: Full-part sun
  • Shade: Tolerates light shade
  • Moisture: Prefers moist soil but tolerates dry soils well; suitable for xeriscaping
  • pH: prefers neutral soil (6.8 – 7.2)


  • Division
  • Seeds
  • Stem cuttings


Every few years, divide and replant one of the divisions in its original location to ensure adequate growing space.

Extra Benefits

  • Tolerates juglone from walnut trees.

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