Growing Bergamot in containers

Bergamot which is also known as Bee balm (Monarda spp.) provides a centerpiece in a potted butterfly or bee garden. Bergamot plant actually produces pom-poms of purple, white, pink or red flowers that stand above the bright green foliage. Bergamot plant grows as a perennial in USDA plant hardiness zones four through ten. Bergamot plant can become mildly invasive in a garden bed because it spreads by seed, but container-grown plants can be better managed to prevent this issue. Bergamot plant grows between two and four feet tall, making it a suitable choice for a larger pot.

How to Grow Bergamot in a Pot

Step one: Fill a five to ten gallon pot about 1/3 full with a well-draining potting soil. You need to water the soil until it’s evenly moist and also allow the excess water to drain out of the bottom of the pot.

Step two: Lift the Bergamot transplant out of the nursery container and then set it on the top of the soil in the prepared pot. You have to adjust the depth of the soil beneath the roots until the crown of the plant, which is where the roots and the stems join, sits two inches beneath the rim of the pot. Finish filling the pot with soil to within about two inches of the rim.

Step three: You have to set the pot in an area with full, all-day sun, or you can choose a location with full morning sun and light afternoon shade. Make sure you select an area with good air circulation, such as on an open patio or out in the garden.

Step four: Water the Bergamot when the top one inch of the soil begins to feel dry during spring and summer. You can reduce watering in winter and fall, also provide enough water so that the soil doesn’t dry completely.

Step five: Cut back the Bergamot plant in fall with the stems die back naturally, normally after a light frost. Trim the Bergamot plant stems back to within two inches of the soil surface, and then dispose the removed plant materials.

Step six: You can spread a 1-inch layer of compost over the top of the soil in the pot each spring. The compost will actually supply nutrients as it breaks down.

Step seven: You need to monitor the Bergamot foliage for powdery or fungal growth from mildew or rust. Make sure you avoid overhead watering, and also keep the foliage dry to avoid most fungal problems. You can easily trim out badly infested leaves if fungal growth occurs. 

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