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Lemon Bergamot Monarda citriodora

Description

Lemon beebalm is an annual or biennial in the mint (Lamiaceae) family native to southern USA and northern Mexico. It has spread eastward and can be found in several southern states. Lemon beebalm grows on slopes and hills, along roadsides or in prairies, meadows, and savannas. Genus name honors Nicholas Monardes, physician and botanist of Seville. The species name refers to the lemon scent.

The flowers are showy and unusual. Whorl-like clusters of flowers appear in interrupted heads on a square stem from spring through mid-summer. The flowers and leaves have a lemon scent and the leaves are edible. It is deer and rabbit resistant.

This plant prefers rocky limestone soil and sandy loam but will adapt to other well-drained soils. It does best in full sun and if happy will reseed and form colonies. Use this plant in an edible garden, pollinator garden and naturalized areas such as meadows and prairies.  If you like hummingbirds, plant Lemon beebalm in masse to attract them. Propagation is with seeds that can be planted in the fall or early spring.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: No significant problems but watch for powdery mildew. Keeping the soil moist will help prevent follicular diseases. May become floppy if over fertilized.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • ssp. austromontana
    Ususally has white flowers
ssp. austromontana
Tags:
#hummingbird friendly#showy flowers#fragrant flowers#biennial#purple flowers#pink flowers#fragrant leaves#mass planting#self-seeding#edible leaves#naturalized area#butterfly friendly#bee friendly#annual#pollinator garden#wildflower
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • ssp. austromontana
    Ususally has white flowers
ssp. austromontana
Tags:
#hummingbird friendly#showy flowers#fragrant flowers#biennial#purple flowers#pink flowers#fragrant leaves#mass planting#self-seeding#edible leaves#naturalized area#butterfly friendly#bee friendly#annual#pollinator garden#wildflower
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Monarda
    Species:
    citriodora
    Family:
    Lamiaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Biennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    IL, MO, KS south to AL, MS, LA, TX, NM, and Mexico
    Distribution:
    Spread eastward and now found in AL, AR, AZ, FL, GA, IL, KS, KY, LA, MO, MS, NE, NM, OK, SC, TN, TX, UT
    Wildlife Value:
    Attracts bees, butterflies and hummingbirds
    Edibility:
    Leaves used raw or cooked for flavoring in salads, cooked foods, and for tea.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 8 in. - 1 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Edible
    Wildflower
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Schizocarp
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Dry schizocarps, separating into usually 4 nutlets
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Long Bloom Season
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Petals:
    2-3 rays/petals
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Tubular 2-lipped lavender to pink to white flowers occurs in 2-6 interrupted clusters around the upper stem. Under each whorl of flowers are leafy purple to greenish bracts. Individual flowers are 3/4 inch long. Bloom time is spring to mid-summer
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Oblanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Lanceolate to oblong-lanceolate leaves on short stems have an angled or tapered base and are tapered to a sharply pointed tip, often bristle-tipped. Margins are finely toothed, upper surface with sparse short hairs and the underside sparsely to moderately hairy. Both surfaces have conspicuous impressed glands. Upper leaves are larger and may appear whorled at the top of the stem
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Square
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Stout green stems are square and covered with short hairs
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Slope/Bank
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Edible Garden
    Garden for the Blind
    Pollinator Garden
    Rock Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Rabbits