Butterfly Garden Plant Monarda fistulosa Wild Bergamot

Butterfly Garden Plants

Wild Bergamot

(Monarda fistulosa)

General Information
Cultural Requirements
Native Range
Plant Rating
Plant Reviews

General InformationNABA_DividerBar

Native to the entire continental United States, with the exception of California and Hawaii, Wild Bergamot is an easy to grow perennial that mixes effortlessly with other summer blooming natives such as Swamp Milkweed.

Wild Bergamot is in the mint family and spreads by slender underground rhizomes, though it is clump forming and not invasive. Tufted lavender flowers are produced at the end of each stem.

NABA member Mary Anne Borge observes Wild Bergamot in southern New Jersey in late August and reports: “Wild Bergamot is a favorite of butterflies, hosting a steady stream of swallowtails, skippers and sulphurs. It is also a favorite of moths like the Hummingbird Clearwing (see photo above in slideshow). These little sphinx moths look like hummingbirds when flying, and have so much personality that they are as much fun to watch as butterflies. To add to the show provided by Wild Bergamot, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds also visit the flowers for nectar.

Like other members of the mint family, what appears to be a single flower of Wild Bergamot is actually a cluster of many smaller blossoms. The flowers of Wild Bergamot are light violet, long and tubular, a perfect design for butterflies, moths and hummingbirds. The flower clusters are arranged in rounded heads, with the first flowers in the cluster blooming at the top of the head. Over subsequent weeks, the flowers at the top of the cluster will drop off, allowing the lower rows of flowers to create a circle of blossoms, all the while providing a continuing source of food for many pollinators.

The bloom period is several weeks, primarily in July and August. The flower heads are attractive in winter, too, with the upright tubular dried calyxes of the individual flowers forming a warm tan, firm textured, rounded head. They are a great excuse not to deadhead.”

Importance as a butterfly nectar source:
A wide variety of butterflies find Wild Bergamot an attractive nectar souce.

Importance as a caterpillar food source:
Wild Bergamot is not known as a caterpillar food source.


Cultural RequirementsNABA_DividerBar

USDA Hardiness Zone 3 to 8
Bloom Period June to September, depending on location
Bloom Color Lavender to pink
Plant Height 36 to 60
Plant Spread 24 to 36
Light Exposure Sun to light shade
Soil Moisture Average
Animal/Disease Problems Deer resistant, powdery mildew can be a problem


Native RangeNABA_DividerBar
Monarda fistulosa







Plant RatingNABA_DividerBar
Plant rating scale ranges from 0 to 3. Plants rating 3 are the most useful for butterfly gardens. For more details on the ratings, see Native Plant Ratings

Garden Rating 2
Nectar Rating 2
Caterpillar Rating 0


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