Monarda fistulosa
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Monarda fistulosa Wild Bergamot



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We love Wild Bergamot because it can be planted in spring, on bare soil, and will germinate without overwintering; it does not need stratification. Monarda fistulosa, also commonly called Bee Balm or Horse-Mint, has a lovely lavender blossom and distinctively aromatic foliage. It is a familiar component of prairie and savanna communities on all but the wettest of soils. Native to most of North America, it often is cited for its historical medicinal applications among indigenous peoples. These include poultices for boils and lacerations, as well as tea infusions for headaches, indigestion and colds and flu. Wild Bergamot is a favorite of butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. Wild bergamot is also one of the host plants of the Raspberry pyrausta butterfly. Its species name, fistulosa, refers to the tube-like structure of its blossoms, which appear from July through September, nicely complementing nearby yellow composite flowers, like Rudbeckia, Silphium, and Helianthus. Check out our short video about Wild Bergamot.

Live Plant Shipping Table

Spring Fall Age/Size
Dormant Bare Roots
April/May October 1 year
Potted Trays of 38* May/June N/A 2" wide x 5" deep plugs
*This species is a choice in the Mix & Match - Create Your Own Tray!

Monarda fistulosa - Wild Bergamot

Map Key

This map shows the native and introduced (adventive) range of this species. Given appropriate habitat and climate, native plants can be grown outside their range.

4 Questions asked on Monarda fistulosa






Q Vanessa • April 28 How aggressive is this species? Can it successfully be included in mixed plantings without it "taking over"?
A Prairie Moon • May 2 Hi Vanessa. We don't consider Wild Bergamot aggressive at all here in the Midwest. It is actually a short-lived perennial; parent plants will not persist for more than a few years. It reproduces best by seed. Seedlings can be easily removed in a garden setting if you don't want it to spread. Because it is deer-resistant, it can be seen each summer in ditches and fields which may give it the appearance of a "weedy" wildflower, but it really is one of the best natives for our pollinators (it tops our Plant-Insect Relations Chart).
Q Barbara • March 31 I’m looking for a good companion plant to cardinal flower, one that can tolerate wet to medium wet soil. Would monarda work? What else would you suggest that might be slightly shorter than cardinal flower?
A Prairie Moon • April 2 Thanks for writing, Barbara. Yes, Monarda fistulosa could work on a site like that. Other companions to consider include Wild Hyacinth, Marsh Marigold, Bush’s Poppy Mallow, Downy Wood Mint and Butterfly Weed. To research other possibilities, check the Filter tool on our website. Click on “Seeds” at the top of our home page and check the boxes on the left for pertinent descriptions of your site for the type of plant you’re seeking. The species on the right will change to match your criteria.
Q Terry • June 12 What is the latest bergamot seed can be planted in St. Louis? Is mid June too late and should wait until next spring?
A Prairie Moon • June 14 Hi Terry. If you can keep the outdoor spot shaded and moist, I think seedlings would still put on good growth to be able to survive the upcoming winter. Usually July-Aug is considered too late in most parts of the Midwest to start seeds outdoors.
Q Francesca • September 1 I am clearing invasives from, and hope to introduce monarda onto, a hillside that I have on my property. The hill runs along about 80', and the hill incline is about 25' wide. The incline is steep, ie, standing on the incline, one has to watch one's feet and keep one's balance so as not to slip. Will the monarda survive on such a hill, or will it not get enough water? Currently, volunteer flox grows on it nicely, as unfortunately the invasive vines. I'm looking to plant monarda in hopes that the mat will keep invasives from growing. Can monarda flouish on hillsides like mine? Thank you!
A Prairie Moon • September 1 Hi Francesca, The amount of water available to the plants really will depend more on the water retention properties of the soil (soil texture) and the direction of the slope (e.g. north-facing) rather than the steepness of the slope. That said, Monarda is a very hardy plant and should do great on your slope. :)
SEED:

Growing your own plants from seed is the most economical way to add natives to your home. Before you get started, one of the most important things to know about the seeds of wild plants is that many have built-in dormancy mechanisms that prevent the seed from germinating. In nature, this prevents a population of plants from germinating all at once, before killing frosts, or in times of drought. To propagate native plants, a gardener must break this dormancy before seed will grow.

Each species is different, so be sure to check the GERMINATION CODE listed on the website, in the catalog, or on your seed packet. Then, follow the GERMINATION INSTRUCTIONS prior to planting. Some species don't need any pre-treatment to germinate, but some species have dormancy mechanisms that must be broken before the seed will germinate. Some dormancy can be broken in a few minutes, but some species take months or even years.

Seed dormancy can be broken artificially by prolonged refrigeration of damp seed in the process of cold/moist STRATIFICATION. A less complicated approach is to let nature handle the stratifying through a dormant seeding, sowing seeds on the surface of a weed-free site in late fall or winter. Tucked safely beneath the snow, seeds will be conditioned by weathering to make germination possible in subsequent growing seasons.

To learn more, read our BLOG: How to Germinate Native Seeds

DORMANT BARE ROOT PLANTS:

We dig plants when they are dormant from our outdoor beds and ship them April-May and October. Some species go dormant in the summer and we can ship them July/August. We are among the few still employing this production method, which is labor intensive but plant-friendly. They arrive to you dormant, with little to no top-growth (bare-root), packed in peat moss. They should be planted as soon as possible. Unlike greenhouse-grown plants, bare-root plants can be planted during cold weather or anytime the soil is not frozen. A root photo is included with each species to illustrate the optimal depth and orientation. Planting instructions/care are also included with each order.

Download: Installing Your Bare-Root Plants

POTTED PLANTS:

3-packs and trays of 32, 38, or 50 plants leave our Midwest greenhouses based on species readiness (being well-rooted for transit) and order date; Spring shipping is typically early May through June, and Fall shipping is mid-August through September. Potted 3-packs and trays of 38 plugs are started from seed in the winter so are typically 3-4 months old when they ship. Trays of 32/50 plugs are usually overwintered so are 1 year old. Plant tray cells are approximately 2” wide x 5” deep in the trays of 38 and 50, and 2.5" wide x 3.5" deep in the 3-packs and trays of 32; ideal for deep-rooted natives. Full-color tags and planting & care instructions are included with each order.

Download: Planting and Care of Potted Plants

*PLEASE NOTE: we are a mail order nursery and have no retail facilities, but you may pick up your order if prior arrangements are made. Pick up orders are subject to **MN Sales Tax.

Shipping & Handling Charges:
SEED $100.00 and under: $5.00
Retail SEED orders over $100.00 ship free! Custom seed mixes or wholesale seed sales over $100, add 5% of the total seed cost
(for orders over $1,000 a package signature may be required)

BARE ROOT and POTTED PLANTS $50.00 and under: $7.50
over $50.00: 15% of the total plant cost
(for orders over $1,000 a package signature may be required)

TOOLS and BOOKS have the shipping fee included in the cost of the product (within the contiguous US).

**We are required to collect state sales tax in certain states. Your state's eligibility and % will be calculated at checkout. MN State Sales Tax of 7.375% is applied for orders picked up at our MN location. Shipping & handling charges are also subject to the sales tax.

Shipping Season:

SEED, TOOLS and BOOKS are sent year-round. Most orders ship within a day or two upon receipt.

BARE ROOT PLANTS are shipped during optimal transplanting time: Spring (April-May) and Fall (Oct). Some ephemeral species are also available for summer shipping. Since our plants are field-grown, Nature sets the schedule each year as to when our season will begin and end. We fill all orders, on a first-come, first-serve basis, to the best of our ability depending on weather conditions beyond our control.

POTTED PLANTS (Trays of 32/38/50 plugs and 3-packs) typically begin shipping early May and go into June; shipping time is heavily dependent on all the species in your order being well-rooted. If winter-spring greenhouse growing conditions are favorable and all species are well-rooted at once, then we ship by order date (first come, first serve).  We are a Midwest greenhouse, and due to the challenges of getting all the species in the Mix & Match and Pre-Designed Garden Kits transit-ready at the same time, we typically can't ship before early May.  Earlier shipment requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

*We are unable to ship PLANTS (bare root or potted) outside the contiguous US or to CALIFORNIA due to regulations.

Delivery:

We ship using USPS, UPS and Spee Dee. UPS and Spee Dee are often used for expediting plant orders; they will not deliver to Post Office Box numbers, so please also include your street address if ordering plants. We send tracking numbers to your email address so please include it when you order.

FOR MORE DETAILED SHIPPING INFORMATION, INCLUDING CANADA SHIPPING RATES (SEED ONLY), PLEASE SEE 'SHIPPING' AT THE FOOTER OF THIS WEBSITE.

iDetails

Seeds/Packet
500
Seeds/Ounce
70,000
Germination Code
A
Life Cycle
Perennial
Sun Exposure
Full, Partial
Soil Moisture
Medium-Wet, Medium, Medium-Dry, Dry
Height
4 feet
Bloom Time
July, August, September
Bloom Color
Purple
Advantages
Pollinator Favorite: butterflies, bees and birds Deer Resistant Highly recommended for home landscaping
USDA Zones
3-9
Plant Spacing
2-3'
Catalog Number
MON02F