Nepeta 'Six Hills Giant'
Common Name: nepeta
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Lamiaceae
Zone: 4 to 7
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 4.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to September
Bloom Description: Blue
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Fragrant
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Drought, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil, Air Pollution

Culture

Easily grown in average, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to light shade. Thrives in dry soils and is tolerant of drought. Site plants in full sun in northern areas. Plants are somewhat intolerant of the heat and humidity of the deep South where they generally appreciate some light afternoon shade. Shear flower spikes after initial flowering to promote continued bloom. Taller plants may need some support. Plants are sterile and will not self-seed. Propagate by division.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Nepeta is a genus which contains about 250 species of perennials plus a few annuals, all of which are native to Europe, Asia, and Africa. Plants are usually aromatic, and mostly feature sharply toothed or deeply cut leaves and whorls of blue, lavender or white flowers in elongated spikes or panicles.

Genus name comes from the Latin name for certain aromatic plants that included catmint.  It  may honor the city of Nepete (known as Nepi today) located north of Rome in Etruria which was the ancient country located between the Arno and Tiber Rivers and was recognized, prior to the rise of Rome, as the center of the Etruscan civilization.

‘Six Hills Giant’, sometimes commonly called catmint, is a vigorous sterile hybrid which typically grows in a clump to 3’ tall and slightly wider. It is one of the most popular ornamental plants in the genus. It is often classified as a cultivar of N. x faassenii, but is also sometimes classified under the horticultural name of N. gigantean. Parents of this hybrid are unknown.

Showy terminal spikes (to 9-12” long) of fragrant two-lipped lavender-blue flowers bloom primarily in summer (June-July) but sometimes with sporadic continued bloom extending throughout summer into early fall. Narrow ovate, toothed, hairy, light gray-green leaves (1.5” long) are aromatic when crushed or bruised.

Although Nepeta cataria is the true catnip loved by house cats, the leaves of this hybrid, although somewhat less enticing, are also attractive to cats.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Crown rot may develop in overly moist soils. Watch for powdery mildew.

Garden Uses

Best grown in mass plantings. Border fronts or cottage gardens. Edging along paths. Good for dry areas. Containers.