Image for Oswego Tea (Red Bergamot)

Oswego Tea (Red Bergamot)

Scientific name

Monarda didyma


Oswego Tea is a showy perennial wildflower species that typically grows about 50 cm in height. This plant may also be known by the common names Red Bergamot or Scarlet Beebalm. The leaves are dark green, oval shaped, have a minty fragrance. The unique flowers are bright red and grow in dense rounded clusters, with individual tubular flowers that bloom between May and October. The beautiful flowers of Oswego Tea attract various pollinator species like hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees. The Oswego Tea plant is susceptible to a common fungal disease, called powdery mildew, when planted in dry soils. Historically, the leaves of the plant have been used for antiseptic purposes, as well as poultices to heal minor wounds and skin infections.

Planting conditions

Oswego Tea grows best in moist to wet conditions with full or partial sun exposure. It prefers well-drained, organically rich humus or loam soil types. It is tolerant of some clay and poorly drained soil. It is also tolerant to deer and rabbit grazing because of it's minty odor. This wildflower can be naturally found in moist forests, wet meadows, and along stream or lake shorelines.


  • Plant height:
    • Max 1.5m
    • Max 2m
    • Max 3m
    • Any
  • Moisture level:
    • Normal
    • Moist
    • Wet
  • Light conditions:
    • Full sun
    • Partial sun
  • Soil type:
    • Loamy
    • Humus
  • pH:
    • Acidic
    • Normal
  • Depth:
    • Wildflower
  • Eco Zone:
    • 3a
    • 3b
    • 4a
    • 4b
    • 5a
    • 5b
    • 6a
    • 6b
    • 7a
  • Plant type:
    • Wildflower
  • Height:
    • 50 cm
  • Spread:
    • 50 cm