Bergamot is a perennial herbaceous plant native to North America; It is widespread in cultivation also in Europe, both as an ornamental plant and as an aromatic plant, its leaves, with a strong mint fragrance, are used to prepare herbal teas; they produce quite dense bushes, 60-90 cm high, with thin stems that bear large dark green, lanceolate, slightly wrinkled leaves; during the summer months at the apex of the stems particular medium-sized flowers bloom, gathered in umbrella-shaped inflorescences. The flowers of monarda they are red, but there are varieties with white or pink flowers; they are fragrant and attract bees and butterflies. The removal of withered flowers prolongs the flowering. They produce a vigorous rhizomatous root. This plant is also known as the Lord's name and belongs to the rutaceae family.
The bergamot plants, usually, to have a better development, place themselves in a sunny, or partially shady place, where they can receive some hours of sunlight per day; in areas with very hot and dry summers it is advisable to place the plants partially in the shade to avoid that, during the hottest days, the summer sun rays can ruin the specimens of this variety.
These plants do not fear the cold, even if in general the winter rigors ruin the aerial part, which can be pruned up to the ground in autumn; it will grow vigorous and compact after the vegetative restart.
As for the correct supply of water, from March to September, it is advisable to water the bergamot regularly, avoiding to leave the soil dry for too many consecutive days, but taking care to check that the soil does not present the possibility of formation of water stagnation which prove harmful to this kind of plant.
During the winter months avoid watering or intervene only in particular cases and on the hottest days; during the vegetative period, provide fertilizer for flowering plants, every 15-20 days, mixed with the water used for watering, so that the plant can grow vigorously.
The bergamot specimens prefer a rich, soft and deep, well-drained soil; before planting the plants, it is good to mix some soil or mature organic fertilizer with the soil.
This kind of plants tend to become invasive with the years, so it is advisable to limit their development, periodically uprooting the clumps and dividing them.
The multiplication of this kind of plant usually occurs by division of the roots, in autumn or in the spring season; in April, when the temperatures begin to be more pleasant and there is no risk of late frosts, it is possible to sow the bergamot directly at home.
The reproduction of these plants does not present particular difficulties, since this variety has a slightly invasive character and tends to multiply easily.
Bergamot: Pests and diseases
Specimens of this genus fear aphids and oidium. For this reason it is advisable, at the end of the winter season, to plan to intervene with a broad-spectrum insecticide treatment based on specific products, so as to provide the plant with proper protection.