Bergamot, also known as bee balm or oswego-tea, are hardy native American perennials that have been garden favorites for decades. Sturdy, square stems growing to four feet tall have simple leaves. They are topped by crowns studded with lipped, usually bright red, pink, purple, or white flowers blooming from summer into fall.
How to grow: At ease in almost any soil, bergamots prefer a slightly moist spot with full sun; they become somewhat floppy when grown in the shade. These plants are vigorous spreaders, so excess plants should be removed from time to time. Plant where air circulation is good, because mildew can be a problem.
Propagation: From seed or by division in early spring or fall.
Uses: With a long season of bloom, bee balm is used in wild gardens and in beds and borders. The flowers are beloved by hummingbirds and butterflies.
Scientific name: Monarda didyma