Lemon bergamot is a fast growing, annual herb reaching 60-90cm (24-36”). It comes from the mint family and may be called Lemon Bee Balm, Lemon Mint. When the crushed, the leaves have a fragrance reminiscent of lemons. Some people describe it as being like oregano, especially later in the season on older leaves. The plant forms a clump with several stems growing out from the centre. The green leaves are 3-8cm long, lanceolate to oval shaped, ending in points. Whorls of white, pink or purple flowers are arranged around the thin stems, creating a lovely flower show.
Direct sow seeds in early spring, or start indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost for an earlier start. Select a location that receives full sun to partial shade. Sow seeds 3mm (1/8") deep, spaced 30-45cm (12-18") apart. Keep soil moist but not waterlogged to promote germination. Seeds should sprout in 10-14 days. Thin seedlings to 45-60cm (18-24") apart when they are 5-7cm (2-3") tall. Bergamot prefers well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. Soil pH should be between 6.0 and 7.5. Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer before planting and again after thinning. Bergamot blooms in mid to late summer and attracts pollinators like bees and butterflies. Deadhead spent flowers to encourage prolonged blooming.
Soil Conditions: Well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. Soil pH: 6.0-7.5 Planting Depth: Sow seeds 3mm (1/8") deep. Germination: 10-14 days. Height at Maturity: 60-90cm (24-36") tall. Days to Maturity: 80-100 days. Watering: Keep soil moist but not waterlogged. Sun/Shade: Full sun to partial shade. Spacing after Thinning: Thin seedlings to 45-60cm (18-24") apart.