Sunday, December 19, 2010

Monarda citriodora, Lemon Beebalm

Monarda citriodora
 Lemon Beebalm

This is another native American plant found from California to Florida and Nebraska to Texas. I have grown it in my community garden plot as a companion plant and one to attract beneficial insects. The other species Monarda didyma is difficult to grow here as it gets powdery mildew on the leaves and I just don't think it gets cold enough for it. It is commonly called Bergamot or Oswego Tea and is said to be a flavouring ingredient of Earl Grey tea. Luckily I photographed the Lemon Beebalm last week as sadly today after some gale force winds, yes that crazy weather again, it blew over and split from the middle with all the stems broken. I am hoping it will regrow from the base before summer is over.
2017 update: I no longer grow this.


  1. I hope the plant will grow again. Earl Grey Tea have extensive tea gardens in India, and the flavouring agent is somewhere else! Similarly, coffee is grown in tthe tropical south of India, and its flavouring agent, chicory grows 1500km away in Punjab.

  2. Hi, This plant looks gorgeous. Did you grow it from seed or division or cutting? I have never seen a "real" plant but I am going to try and grow it in Sydney (Australia)from seed. Just a note - the flavour used in Earl Grey Tea is true Bergamot which is a variety of orange tree. Apparently you can make a lemony herbal tea from wild bergamot though.

  3. Hi Megan I bought this in Sydney and it was wrongly labeled as M didyma which doesn't really grow well here. email me if you want more details.cheers ian