25 February 2014

Lemon Bergamot is Monarda citriodora and Lemon Bee Balm

Lemon Bergamot was featured on a native plant site as being terrific for pollinators, including bees and butterflies. The seed supplier that was featuring the herb did not have their online store up and ready.

Not only is Lemon Bee Balm gorgeous in flower it has many benefits to man and beast. For humans, the usual recommendation is drinking tea made of the leaves, though some people eat the leaves, too. All bees benefit from a planting but bumble bees in particular prefer its flowers.

To grow: Plant the seeds indoors now and transplant outside when all danger of frost has passed. When they reach half-height, about 1-foot tall, be sure they have enough moisture to continue growing to full size which is 2 plus feet tall.

This Monarda is an American native so its water needs are low. It can take part shade and dry soil, sand, rock, clay - whatever you have except wet or boggy soil. Although it is an annual, it can form clumps or become aggressive in good soil. Like all Monarda, it can be bothered with powdery mildew.

The genus name Monarda was given to the plants by Linnaeus in honor a doctor/botanist, Nicolas Monardes of Spain who never saw this American native in its home country.
Lemon Bee Balm Mondarda citriodora

When looking for Lemon Bergamot, Monarda citriodora, seeds to plant in the shed while anxiously awaiting spring, the only place I could find them in stock was Sand Mountain Herbs.

I'm never sure how to judge the number of seeds that each provider puts into an envelope. You can see in the photo below the volume of Monarda seeds in the pack which cost $2 plus shipping.
This was my first order with the company and it arrived yesterday. Now that I've looked at their website more closely I have some concerns about the seeds so I'll have to do a germination check before planting.
The website copyright goes to 2011 and the most recent newsletter on it is 2006, the video clip is 2007.. . makes me wonder how old the seeds are.

As my receipt, they sent a copy of the email they received from PayPal. The seeds were in plastic bags in brown wrappers. Also, the mailing envelope was hand addressed, including the return address - like a seed swap rather than a company. And, if you need planting tips or information about the plants mature size or spacing, etc. forget about it. Nothing.

If the germination rate is good and we can feed bees in another spot in the back acres, I'll be happy despite today's concerns.


No comments: