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Catmint is one of the toughest perennials you can grow. It's a proven performer during hot, dry weather, and the silvery foliage and blue flowers look great most of the season. Deadhead or cut back hard after first flush of bloom to encourage more flowers. Average, well-drained soil is usually sufficient. Tall types may need gentle staking; it sometimes seeds freely.
As you might guess from the common name, catmint is a favorite of cats. They'll often roll around in the plants in delight.
Part Sun, Sun
Under 6 inches to 3 feet
12-24 inches wide
how to grow Catmint
To dry leaves, cut the stems and bundle them; hang the bunch to dry in a cool, airy location. After the stems are crisp-dry, strip off the whole leaves and store them in an airtight container. Use the dried leaves to make a tea with a mild minty-spicy flavor.
more varieties for Catmint
'Blue Wonder' catmint
Nepeta x racemosa 'Blue Wonder' is compact at 12-15 inches tall. Its neat wrinkled leaves are grayish-green and show off the 6-inch terminal spikes of the two-lipped dark blue flowers. Zones 5-9
Nepeta × faassenii is a tough perennial herb that thrives in hot, dry weather. Plants feature mounding sprays of silvery-green foliage with a flush of blue flowers. Deadhead or cut back after the first flush of bloom to encourage more flowers. It grows 1-2 feet tall and spreads up to 2 feet wide. Zones 4-9
Nepeta × subsessilis bears the largest flower clusters of any catmint. Bloom spikes may be 8 inches long and 3 inches wide on plants that grow up to 4 feet tall. Sturdy stems keep the plant from requiring staking or shearing to maintain their strong upright habit. Like other catmints, it has a long season of bloom. Zones 4-8
'Little Titch' catmint
Nepeta racemosa 'Little Titch' is a lovely dwarf plant forming a compact mound of green foliage with blue flowers. It grows just 8-10 inches tall and spreads up to 12 inches wide, making a great border or edging plant. It blooms almost constantly from late spring through fall. Zones 4-8
Nepeta mussinii is a low-growing species that remains under a foot tall with a spread up to 18 inches wide. It's the first catmint to begin blooming in spring, and although it slows down in the heat of summer, it blooms almost constantly until hard freezes arrive in fall. This species self-seeds readily in the garden and can become weedy if it's not deadheaded regularly. Persian catmint is especially cold-hardy. Zones 3-9
'Six Hills Giant' catmint
Nepeta 'Six Hills Giant' is sometimes incorrectly listed as a variety of Nepeta × faassenii. It closely resembles that species in all qualities except size -- it's twice as large, growing to 3 feet tall and 30 inches wide. It can flop open in midsummer, but if you cut it back after the first flush of bloom, it will reliably rebloom and maintain a uniform mounded habit. Zones 4-9
'Walker's Low' catmint
Nepeta 'Walker's Low' is an outstanding hybrid that earned Perennial Plant of the Year honors in 2007 from the Perennial Plant Association. Qualities that earned it this honor include a long season of bloom and easiness to grow. Although "low" is part of its name, it is not a dwarf variety; it can reach 30 inches tall and wide.
plant Catmint with
Perhaps the best-loved perennials, herbaceous peonies belong in almost every garden. Their sumptuous flowers -- single, semidouble, anemone centered or Japanese, and fully double -- in glorious shades of pinks and reds as well as white and yellow announce that spring has truly arrived. The handsome fingered foliage is usually dark green and remains good-looking all season long. Provide deep rich soil with plenty of humus to avoid dryness, and don't plant the crowns more than 2 inches beneath the surface. But these are hardly fussy plants. Where well suited to the climate, they can thrive on zero care.
These vigorous growers are beautiful additions to the garden. They vary from tall, stately plants suitable for borders to others that can be planted as creeping groundcovers. Flowers, too, vary from tight spikes of 1/2 inch to 1-inch cups carried alone or in whorls. Humus-rich, moisture-retentive soil is recommended; some varieties enjoy wet soil and ample water. Several sorts may become invasive and need to be corralled.Note: These are not the invasive purple loosestrife, which has been banned in many parts of the United States.
Bee balm is a wonderful plant for attracting butterflies and helpful bees. This prairie native has fascinating-shape flowers in jewel tones of red, pink, purple, and white, surrounded by dark bracts. They grow atop substantial clumps of dark foliage.The aromatic foliage is sometimes used for making tea, and bee balm is often grown in herb gardens. Established plants tend to spread, especially in damp soil. This plant is extremely prone to mildew problems, so be sure to plant in full sun and seek out cultivars touted as resistant to mildew diseases.