Wild Bergamot (Fistulosa) is generally described as
a perennial subshrub or forb/herb.
native to the U.S. (United States)
has its most active growth period in the
Wild Bergamot (Fistulosa) has
gray-green foliage and
red flowers, with
a moderate amount of
conspicuous brown fruits or seeds.
The greatest bloom is usually observed in the
with fruit and seed production starting in the
summer and continuing until
not retained year to year.
Wild Bergamot (Fistulosa) has a
moderate life span relative to most other plant species and a
moderate growth rate.
At maturity, the typical
Wild Bergamot (Fistulosa) will reach up to
4.9 feet high, with a maximum height at 20 years of
Wild Bergamot (Fistulosa) is easily found in nurseries, garden stores and other plant dealers and distributors. It can be propagated by
It has a
slow ability to spread through seed production and the seedlings have
Note that cold stratification is
not required for seed germination and the plant cannot survive exposure to temperatures below
none tolerance to drought and restricted water conditions.
General: Mint Family (Lamiaceae). This aromatic herbaceous perennial is 5 to 12 dm. high and has branched, hairy stems and spreads by seeds and rhizomes. The opposite leaves are distinctly petioled and deltoid-lanceolate to lanceolate and slightly toothed. Wild bergamot has square stems with gray-green foliage. The flowers bloom from June to September. They are solitary and terminal on the flowering branches and the two stamens surpass the upper lip. The flowers are tubular, 13-15 nerved, with lobes much shorter than the tube. The corolla is lavender and strongly bilabiate. The upper lip is narrow, entire, and softly pubescent while the lower lip is broader.
Required Growing Conditions
This plant is found in upland woods, thickets, and prairies from Quebec to Manitoba and British Columbia south to Georgia, Louisiana, and Arizona. For current distribution, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.
Cultivation and Care
General: When the seeds are ripe, cut off the seed heads and spread them over a clean, dry surface indoors to air-dry for several days. Then place some of the seed heads in a paper bag and shake. Many of the seeds will fall into the bag. Repeat the process with the remaining heads. Next run the seeds and associated chaff through a sieve. Store the seeds in a dry sealed and labeled container or ziploc bag with wet sand or peat moss in the refrigerator that is kept under 40 degrees F for three months.
Propagation by seeds: Sow seeds in flats during January and stored in a greenhouse are expected to germinate in one to two weeks. The soil mix can be one-third sand and two-thirds commercial plug mix. Apply a starter fertilizer solution for the seedlings. Water flats when the soil surface is dry to the touch. Keep the seedlings in the flats for 6-7 weeks, and then transplant them to 3-inch pots. Continue to water seedlings when the surface is dry to the touch. Pinch off the tops of the plants several times during the growing season to encourage branching and bushier grow habit. Apply a weekly application of an all-purpose fertilizer for the transplants. When the roots fill the container (about 2 months) they are ready for outplanting in the garden.
Plant seedlings in a sunny, weed-free well-drained soil, one and one-half to two feet apart. Water, until rains come.
Seeds can also be broadcast on a weed-free surface from January to mid-May in sunny locations. Once the seeds germinate seedlings should be watered during extended dry period. During the first summer of full growth mow the area 3 to 5 times to keep the plants between 8 and 4 inches tall. Mowing also reduces weeds.
Propagation by cuttings: Take stem tip cuttings, 3-4 inches long, any time from May to August. Remove the lower leaves and all flower or seed heads and insert the stems into a sand and perlite-rooting medium. Bury each cutting up to the first node. Place the cuttings in an enclosed area and mist them several times a day. In 4 to 5 weeks the cuttings should be well rooted and can be transplanted to pots. Then outplant the plants in the garden in the early autumn.
General Upkeep and Control
Once established wild bergamot still benefits from extra watering during dry summers. Continue mowing the area, once a year, after the hardest killing frosts or the following spring. This keeps woody plants from encroaching and removes plants that have died back. Since the plant spreads by rhizomes, it can get aggressive. The plant can be kept from spreading by divisions. Division of large plants every 2 to 3 years also keeps them healthy. Mature clumps can be divided in March before they send up stems. Dig up a portion of the clump and divide it into sections. Replant and water the divisions promptly. Continue to add leaf mold and compost to your soil, as the plant's shallow root systems spread easily through light soil.
Source: USDA, NRCS, PLANTS Database, plants.usda.gov.
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA