Sun exposure:
Dappled shade, full sun
South facing, west facing
Position in border:


Clay / Heavy / Moist / Well Drained / Light / Sandy

This article has been checked for horticultural accuracy by Oliver Parsons.

Bergamot, Monarda didyma, is an herbaceous perennial with distinctive flowerheads. Each one consists of a large number of curving tubular flowers growing out from a central point, creating a shaggy dome of petals. The plant has a long flowering season, from early summer to early autumn, and blooms almost continuously if deadheaded periodically. Bergamot foliage is aromatic, and leaves are sometimes picked for pot-pourri. The leaves, which have a high oil content, have also been used in cosmetics and the North American Oswego tribe used it to make tea in the 18th century.

Monarda didyma is extremely attractive to bees and butterflies. Grow plants in moist but well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade. Mulch around the roots with garden compost annually. Plants can spread quickly in its preferred conditions, so clumps may need to be divided about every three years. The best time to do this is in spring. Keep plants well watered to avoid powdery mildew, which this plant is susceptible to in dry conditions.

Bergamot is native to North America. It’s often used as a plant partner to grasses in prairie-style combinations. There are many interesting varieties available, in shades of red, pink, white or lilac. A couple that have the RHS Award of Garden Merit include ‘Marshall’s Delight’, which is resistant to mildew with bright pink flowers, and ‘Squaw’ which has scarlet flowers.

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Advice on buying Monarda didyma

  • There are many varieties of Monarda didyma available online if you can't find a specific plant at the garden centre
  • Always check plants for signs of damage or disease before planting. 

Where to buy monarda

Plant calendar


Monarda and wildlife

Monarda is known for attracting bees. It has nectar/pollen rich flowers.

Is known to attract Bees
Is not known to attract Beneficial insects
Beneficial insects
Is not known to attract Birds
Is not known to attract Butterflies/​Moths
Is not known to attract Other pollinators
Other pollinators

Is Monarda poisonous?

Monarda has no toxic effects reported.

No reported toxicity to:
Is not known to attract Birds
Is not known to attract Cats
Is not known to attract Dogs
Is not known to attract Horses
Is not known to attract Livestock
Is not known to attract People
Plants that go well with Monarda didyma