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Bergamot (Monarda) is a plant species which includes both annual and hardy perennial plants, considered a herb. There are wild, cultivar and hybrid varieties of bergamot and they vary in colors from white and red to purple and blue.
Other names include bee balm, red bee balm and Oswego tea.
The plant grows in a clumped format. It grows to height around 90cm/3 feet tall.
The flowers are spiky in appearance. They appear during summer and are attractive to bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects. They also attract hummingbirds.
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Choose a sunny to semi-shaded position in the garden or for a large container. The roots must be shaded, and in moist soil, and the soil must drain well. If grown in shaded areas, the plant tends to spread more horizontally and will produce fewer flowers.
If growing from seed, sow in seed trays in early spring, then transplant the seedlings to the preferred garden spot. The plant can also be grown from cuttings from the stem or rooted pieces growing from a well-established bergamot plant.
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Bergamot can be used to add flavour to foods and drinks. The parts that can be used include both leaves and flowers.
Leaves can be used fresh or dried and added to preserves, jams, jellies and teas. The fresh leaves can be used in salads, provided they are young.
Dried leaves and flowers can be used in potpourri, scented sachets and floral arrangements.
Some hybrid varieties are highly valued for their essential oil, which is used as a flavoring.
Medicinal use: To be added with referencing.
Note: This plant is not the source of oil of bergamot, which comes from the peel of the bergamot orange (Citrus bergania).
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