Calamintha nepeta subsp. nepeta

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 1 Professionals
Common Name: calamint
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Lamiaceae
Native Range: Southern Europe to Great Britain
Zone: 5 to 7
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to September
Bloom Description: Lilac to white
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Fragrant
Tolerate: Drought, Erosion, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil

Culture

Easily grown in slightly acidic to slightly alkaline, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Prefers evenly moist soils, but tolerates some drought. Tolerates light shade in the afternoon. May spread in the garden by rhizomes and/or self-seeding to form an interesting ground cover. Stems may root at the nodes where they touch the ground. Shear or cut back plants after flowering to tidy the planting, to remove unsightly foliage and/or to prevent any unwanted self-seeding. Easily started from seed. Plants generally do not perform well in the deep South below USDA Zone 7.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Calamintha nepeta is a bushy, rhizomatous, perennial herb of the mint family that is native to Europe and the Mediterranean region. It typically forms a dense, indefinitely spreading, foliage mat with upright leafy flowering stems rising to 12-18” tall. Ovate, gray-green leaves (to 3/4” long) are very fragrant when crushed. Tiny, tubular, two-lipped, lilac to white flowers appear in axillary spikes (cymes to 15 flowers each) over a long June-September bloom period. Flowers are attractive to bees.

Subsp. nepeta is a more vigorous performer with slightly larger flowers, larger inflorescences (to 20 flowers) and larger leaves (to 1.25” long). Leaves may be dried for potpourris or sachets.

Genus name comes from Greek kalos meaning beautiful and mimthe meaning mint. Kalaminthe means savory.

Specific epithet is in reference to the resemblance of the plant to catnip.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Foliage may decline in hot and humid summer climates such as the St. Louis area. Watch for powdery mildew.

Garden Uses

Excellent edging plant for walks, patios or herb gardens. Also effective when sprawled over low retaining walls or in containers. Rock gardens or border fronts. Good informal ground cover.