Catmint (Nepeta x Faassenii) is a fantastic herbaceous perennial that’s a must for every low-maintenance plant enthusiast, often thriving on almost total neglect! Sensational, periwinkle-blue flower spikes emerge from compact mounds of fragrant, soft gray-green foliage. Flowers tend to peak just as most of the spring bulbs are beginning to fade and before summer perennials start to bloom, so they fill in this flowering gap nicely. Catmint’s soft hues make it easy to use with other colorful plants in the garden, pairing particularly well with roses or peonies.
While this plant is naturally pest-resistant (Nepeta is often used in many natural insect repellants) the plant’s nectar is a favorite among important pollinators such as bees. Catmint is also useful as a form of erosion control in the landscape and can tolerate harsh winters and urban pollution better than many plants. It needs ample sunshine to look it’s best, but can tolerate partial shade. Catmint’s minimal water requirements add to its eco-friendly profile.
“Walker’s Low” is a newer variety of catmint worth considering for the garden. It’s a “sterile” variety, meaning that it doesn’t seed and become weedy looking like some other varieties can. The name can be a bit misleading, since Walker’s Low at full growth can reach 3’ X 3,’ but it’s still a great size for many garden uses such as a small-scale groundcover, border or mass plantings. Its hearty nature and soft appearance make it ideal to use with hardscapes, such as cascading off a wall and along walkways or structured borders. And because it is a member of the mint family, Catmint’s fast growth habits can also make it a great candidate for container gardening.
Catmint’s flowers can be delightfully long-lasting, and a shearing after the plant’s initial bloom period can often encourage a second wave of flowering. This also helps to keep the plant looking neat and not too overgrown. An FYI, Catmint is not the same as Catnip, the latter being a close relative called Nepeta Cataria. Nepetalactone is the compound in Catnip that drives kitties wild, and while it can be found in many species of Nepeta, it appears in much smaller quantities in Catmint.
For more ideas on eco-friendly and easy to care for plants for your landscape, contact us here at Farmside Landscape & Design, today!