I Love Clinopodium nepeta

Aug 26, 2016 | Love This!

Name:  Clinopodium nepeta, aka Calamintha nepetoides, aka Calamintha nepeta subspecies nepeta, aka (are we tired yet?) lesser calamint.

Type of Plant: A low-maintenance perennial hardy in zones 5 to 7, that thrives in full sun.

Why I love this: I got this plant some 18 years ago because Kathy Tracy, of Avant Gardens, listed it as one of her “must have perennials.” She was right. Unfortunately it’s not as commonly found and planted as it should be.

White to pale lilac flowers for a long time from mid-summer into fall. A pleasing round shape from April to late October…no deadheading, no trimming, no work at all.

This perennial attracts pollinators like Donald Trump attracts birther/Hillary’s-Health conspiracists. (Sorry – sign of the times.) At any given time I will spot several species of bees and wasps on this perennial and my garden is constantly buzzing because of the Clinopodium.

A Word to the Wise:  Don’t confuse this plant with catmint – it’s not the same. Although it’s commonly called calamint, it’s not related to Nepeta. It does, like Nepeta, do well in sunny, not-so-wet (although not totally dry) conditions.

In April and May this plant is round and green, looking much like a healthy boxwood shrub. In June it starts to branch out a bit and the flower buds begin to lighten up the plant. The calamint is on the right, just above the gray leaves of the basket-of-gold, aka Aurinia saxatilis.

In April and May this plant is round and green, looking much like a healthy boxwood shrub. In June it starts to branch out a bit and the flower buds begin to lighten up the plant. The calamint is on the right, just above the gray leaves of the basket-of-gold, aka Aurinia saxatilis.

Two different species of wasps are on the plant in this photo. There was a third that was camera shy; every time I tried to get it in the shot it flew off as I raised my iPhone.

Two different species of wasps are on the plant in this photo. There was a third that was camera shy; every time I tried to get it in the shot it flew off as I raised my iPhone.

Here is how the Clinopoduim (Calamintha) look along the path in mid-August. They will be in full flower and beautiful into October.

Here is how the Clinopoduim (Calamintha) look along the path in mid-August. They will be in full flower and beautiful into October.

The honey bees love Calamintha! They, along with bumble bees and several other species of bee work this plant from sunup to sundown.

The honey bees love Calamintha! They, along with bumble bees and several other species of bee work this plant from sunup to sundown.

2 Comments

  1. Danielle Rydberg

    This is how I envision my front walk. Thank you for the inspiration

    Reply
    • CL Fornari

      So glad it sparked something for you!

      Reply

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