Monarda didyma 'Violet Queen' and Monarda didyma x fistulosa 'Violet Queen'



Common name/s ?

Bergamot, bee balm, beebalm, and Oswego tea.

Skill rating



North America

Type of plant ?

Deciduous, herbaceous perennial

Hardiness zone ?

RHS zone


EGF zone


USDA zone


Eventual size

Up to 1m height and 50cm spread

Growth rate ?

Moderate, will reach ultimate size in 2 to 5 years.

Shape it grows into

Forms bushy, upright clumps.

Season/s of interest

Flowers from June to September

Where to grow it

Happy in full sun or part shade.
Prefers well drained to moist soil.

Will grow in any soil type and pH level. It’s happy in sheltered or exposed sites, and all aspects except north-facing.

Monarda 'Violet Queen'


Bergamots are prized for their aromatic foliage and long flower display. This perennial grows into a bushy clump and has bright lavender-purple, tubular flowers which grow in a whorl formation above darker purple bracts. The long, aromatic foliage is mid green with a purple tinge.

What to use it for

Suits informal/naturalistic designs such as cottage, meadow, prairie or coastal garden schemes. It’s a great choice for a wildlife garden as the flowers will attract butterflies, bees and other insects.

How to look after it

Ensure that it’s in a spot that won’t get too wet in the winter, but equally make sure that the soil doesn’t dry out completely in the summer.

Bergamots are fairly low maintenance, but should be divided every 3 years to maintain its vigour and stop it spreading too far.

How to prune it

Deadhead to remove spent flowers regularly, then cut the entire plant down to ground level in the autumn when it’s finished flowering.

How to propagate it

Divide or take root cuttings from plants in the spring. In late spring or early summer stem-tip or basal softwood cuttings can be taken. The resulting plants might flower in the same year.

Common problems

Can be susceptible to attacks from slugs and infection by powdery mildew, although this cultivar has good resistance to this fungal disease.

Other useful information

The genusMonarda‘ is named after the Spanish physician and botanist Nicol├ís Monardes (1493-1588) who studied the plants of the New World.

Monarda ‘Violet Queen’ is a hybrid of Monarda didyma and Monarda fistulosa. It has been awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

Bergamot is widely used for culinary purposes. The leaves of Monarda didyma are used to make Oswego tea (named after an area of the USA near Lake Ontario), while the flowers can added to salads. The aromatic leaves and flowers are also used in potpourri. It is also used medicinally for mild digestive complaints.

Monarda fistulosa is also used in tea and the leaves are good for adding flavour to meats and beans. It is used for a wide range of medicinal purposes including headaches, fevers, sore throats and gastric disorders.