An aromatic and tasty native beauty.
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 food and medicine. Its leaves and flowers are highly aromatic and spicy, like Greek oregano, and are used similarly. Sip teas made from the leaves and flowers, or add them to sauces, soups, and salads. Make tinctures to support the upper respiratory system. Or, most simply, toss the lovely tubular flowers onto any dish.
Artwork by Wendy Hollender. A botanical illustrator, Wendy crafts beautiful colored-pencil and watercolor renderings of plants of all typesÃ¢â¬âand teaches others how to do the same. With herbalist Dina Falconi, she created Foraging& Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook.
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.
Direct sow after frost, or start indoors up to 1 month before last frost date. For young, tender basil plants, space 2" apart; for bigger, heartier plants space 8-12" apart. To have fresh basil the whole season, start in succession at one-month intervals. Pinch off tallest growth in order to keep basil from flowering; flavor becomes too strong once in bloom. Good for garden or container plantings.