If you were to take a stroll through my gardens, you would quickly notice that I am a big fan of Nepeta (catmint). And, if you were to ask me what I love most about this plant, it would be hard for me to list just one thing.
Like most mints, Nepeta is easy to grow. Once established in full sun to partial shade, you can pretty much neglect it. Nepeta does well in pretty dry conditions and in soil that is not overly rich. Often, fertilizing will actually cause the plant to become leggy and flop. If this does happen to you, simply shear the top and it will repair itself. Nepeta is also extremely tolerant of heat and certain varieties can be grown in zone 9. Oh, and did I mention that deer are not fans of this plant while bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds tend to be regular visitors? One more benefit it has to offer.
So, it is pretty clear that Nepeta has a lot going for it. But, what about its appearance? Well, there are multiple varieties of Nepeta. Some are short reaching only 1 foot in height while others can reach heights of up to 4 feet. Most members of the Nepeta family are herbaceous perennials with strong stems and fragrant grey-green leaves. From late spring until fall, it produces small tubular flowers in white and shades of blue and purple. Once the first blossoms have faded, shearing the plant back by half can help to ensure a robust second round of blooms.
Nepeta makes a great border plant and can be a colorful addition to rock gardens. It is also right at home in cottage garden planted alongside roses, daylilies, coneflowers, and bee balm.
I love growing Nepeta (Catmint) and hope to add a few more varieties to my gardens this year. I would love to hear from you if you have questions or comments about this plant.