Nepeta racemosa
Common Name: nepeta
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Lamiaceae
Native Range: Caucasus, north and northwestern Iran
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: May to September
Bloom Description: Pale lilac to deep violet
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Fragrant
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Air Pollution

Culture

Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Thrives in dry soils and is very tolerant of drought. Somewhat intolerant of the heat and humidity of the deep South, however, and appreciates some light afternoon shade in hot summer climates such as the St. Louis area. Shear flower spikes after initial flowering to promote continued bloom. May agressively self-seed in optimum growing conditions.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Nepeta racemosa, commonly called catmint, is Native to the Caucusus and northern Iran. It is a low-growing perennial that typically forms a spreading clump of decumbent, ascending and upright stems to 12” tall and 18” wide. Features gray-green, hairy, ovate leaves (to 1” long) with crenate margins, prominent veining and heart-shaped bases. Leaves are highly aromatic when crushed or bruised. Pale lilac to deep violet two-lipped flowers (1/ 2” long) clustered in loose raceme-like verticillasters (false whorls) bloom in spring. Bloom may continue throughout summer into early fall under proper growing conditions and with proper shearing of spent flowers. Although Nepeta cataria is the true catnip which drives house cats ecstatic, the leaves of this species are also attractive, albeit somewhat less enticing, to cats. N. mussinii Spreng. (plant named by Curt Polykarp Joachim Sprengel, 1766-1833. German professor of medicine and botany) is synonymous with N. racemosa, but N. mussinii hort. (plants sold in the horticulture trade) is synonymous with N. x faassenii.

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.

Specific epithet means with flowers in racemes.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

Rock gardens, border fronts, herb gardens or naturalized plantings. Also good plant for edging or small scale ground cover.