An aromatic and tasty native perennial wildflower, Wild bergamot is grown for its beauty, fragrance, use as a tea, edible flower head and petals, culinary uses, tincture properties, and its benefit to pollinators.
In mid-summer, this native wildflower graces the landscape with its light lavender blossoms, offering nectar to bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.
To humans, Wild Bergamot provides fragrance, food, drink and medicine.
Children will enjoy watching this beauty grow up to 4 feet tall and collecting the leaves during year 1 (and petals the 2nd year) to dry for tea or use fresh to eat, cook with or add a little floral panache to their tea! The second year, it’s a beautiful plant for teaching children about pollinators as its flowers are frequently visited by many, and it is a good example of how plants that seem to die off are really dormant and come back.
Its leaves and flowers are highly aromatic and spicy, like Greek oregano, and are used similarly when cooking. Or, most simply, toss the lovely tubular flowers as is onto any dish (including sauces, soups and salads) for a splash of beauty or spicy flavor.
Sip teas made from the leaves and flowers.
Make tinctures to support the upper respiratory system.
FRAGRANCE AND POLLINATORS
Plant near an area frequently walked past or near an open window to enjoy its fragrance, see its beauty and enjoy the pollinator interactions.
Broadcast Wild Bergamot outside about 8 weeks before the first fall frost, or surface sow indoors 4-6 weeks before last frost and gently press the seeds into the soil, then transplant seedlings outside in spring or summer, 6-8 weeks later. Plants usually do not produce flowers until their second year. Leaves and foliage are edible, and make a delicious tea right away once grown.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Art by Wendy Hollender. A botanical illustrator, Wendy crafts beautiful colored-pencil and watercolor renderings of plants of all types and teaches others how to do the same. With herbalist Dina Falconi, she created Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook.