Cat mint – Nepeta
In today’s column I want to write about one of our favorite perennials: The catnip.
The Nepeta genus comprises 250 to 300 species, most of which come from Asia.
Of these, just three species are more popular in Germany. In addition, however, there is a lot more of other species that I would personally classify as garden-worthy.
By the way, the catnips belong to the mint family and are related for example to agastachia, phlomis, stachys and lamium, as well as a variety of herbs such as lemon balm and rosemary.
They are very easy to care for and mostly prefer sunny, not too dry locations.
I cut almost all Nepeta back close to the ground by the end of June at the latest. This leads to a new compact shoot with healthy foliage. The plants bloom a second time until late autumn.
And self-sowing, which is annoying with some species and varieties, is suppressed.
I recommend paying attention to the weather when pruning. In rainy weather, the pruned plants sprout much faster and fill the gaps that have arisen quickly.
There are certainly more than 25 species and varieties of Nepeta in our garden. In addition, I must have tested another twenty for their qualifications for our garden.
In terms of colors, all variations of blue predominate, but there are also some white and pink catnips for the garden lover. The range in height goes from 20 cm to 150 cm. Therefore, they can be used on the edge of the border, as a solitary in the second or third row or as a flat ground cover. Moisture-loving species are ideal for near-natural gardens
All Nepeta are of course valuable nutrient plants for bees, bumblebees and butterflies.
I would like to share our experience and introduce five Nepeta here.
We have medium-heavy soil that rarely dries up.
• Nepeta x faassenii “Walkers Low”
The classic. Hard to beat. Dark purple flowers from May to frost.
Has a somewhat firmer and tighter growth than Six Hills Giant and is therefore used as a solitaire in the second or third rows.
• Nepeta hybrid “Neptune”
Relatively new, but has already won several awards. This hybrid catches our eye with its stocky and compact growth. Height approx. 50 cm. Large purple-blue flowers. Prefers a sunnier location and not too dry. It is at risk of mildew in the shade. For me one of the best new launches in recent years. Attractive even without pruning until frost!
• Nepeta x faassenii “Six Hills Giant”
Violet-blue flowers. A sea of flowers from mid-May. Visited over and over by bumblebees, butterflies and bees. Height approx. 70-80 cm.
Reliably comes back every year without getting too lonely. A really grateful perennial for May through October
• Nepeta grandiflora “Lamendi”
My surprise from 2021. Bought and planted as a nice perennial in 2020, it presented itself perfectly in 2021. Tight, inversely conical growth up to 120 cm. Bright purple-blue flowers. Even after pruning, it has grown again to 80 cm and has flowered.
• Nepeta faassenii “Gletschereis”
Silvery blue bloom from June, looks almost sparkling white from a distance. Great color and filigree foliage. With us it gets about 30/40 cm high. Unfortunately, it did not survive the freezing frost in February 2021. Will definitely return to the garden in 2022!
There is not enough space and time to write about all types, advantages and special features.
Let’s see, maybe there will be a dedicated lecture or workshop on catnip next year.
Have a nice Sunday everyone
Uedemerbruch, November 28, 2021