Though not a member of the mint family, this plant has a distinct herbal scent that has hints of citrus. Because its leaves contain citronellol, the essential oil distilled from this plant has a repellent effect on insects. The genus name Monarda honors Spanish botanist Nicolas Bautista Monardes, who studied herbal and medicinal plants from North America during the 16th century. The species name “citriodora” comes from Latin words meaning “having a citrus aroma.”
Sowing: Direct sow in early spring, planting on the surface of the soil since this seed needs light to germinate. Keep the soil lightly moist until germination, which should occur within 10-20 days at temperatures from 60-70 degrees F. When the seedlings can safely be handled, thin or transplant for wider spacing. For an early start, start the seed indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost and transplant outdoors.
Growing: Water seedlings until they become established, but do not overwater. Mature plants tolerate drought well, though they will appreciate occasional watering in very dry weather. These plants will reseed themselves in favorable growing conditions, and are extremely attractive to bees, hummingbirds, and bees. Deer tend to avoid this plant.
Harvesting: These flowers make an excellent choice for both fresh and dried floral arrangements. For fresh flowers, choose stems with blooms that have just opened. Strip the foliage that will fall below the water level, and place in water immediately.
Seed Saving: When the flower spikes begin to dry and turn brown, remove them and spread them out to dry; thresh them to remove the seed. Shaking the entire plant’s seed heads into a container is also effective, but the process should be repeated daily until all the seed has matured. Store the seed in a cool, dry place.
Common Names: Lemon Bergamot, Lemon Beebalm, Lemon Mint, Prairie Bergamot, Wild Bergamot, Lemon Balm, Lemon Horsemint, Plains Horsemint, Lemon Bee Balm, Lemon Bergamot, Purple Horse Mint
Latin Name: Monarda citriodora
Species Origin: US Native Wildflower
Type: Native Wildflowers
Life Cycle: Annual
USDA Zones: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
US Regions: California, Mountain, Arid/Desert, Plains/Texas, Midwest, Northern, Northeast, Southeast
Seeds per Ounce: 75,000
Stratification: No Stratification
Germination Ease: No Stratification
Sunlight: Full Sun
Height: 20 Inches
Color: White, Pink
Bloom Season: Blooms Late Spring, Blooms Early Summer
Uses: Attracts Pollinators, Attracts Honeybees, Attracts Butterflies, Hummingbirds, Aromatic, Cut Flowers, Deer Resistant
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